Houston vs Seattle: Why The Draw Is A Value Bet in MLS Western Conference Finals First Leg
Who Will Prevail As The Best Of The West?
The Seattle Sounders know a thing or two about the MLS Playoffs - since their inaugural season in 2009 they have featured in the postseason every year having never finished lower than fourth in the Western Conference. Their win in last season's MLS Cup was their first in eight attempts, and they remain the favourite to participate in the final for the second consecutive year.
However to have a chance at lifting back to back trophies they will need to defeat a Houston Dynamo team that are well and truly on a roll in this year's playoff series. Given little chance to lift their first MLS Cup since 2007, the team have surprised plenty in making it this far and are a genuine chance to continue their momentum. Perhaps the city of Houston will be the owner of both the World Series and MLS Cup trophies come mid December?
It all comes down to two November nights - the Sounders and the Dynamo will face off in a two-leg Western Conference final epic that is extremely tough to pick, and the first leg kicks off on Tuesday, November 21st at 9:30pm EST from the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Below we preview the match in full and attempt to pick a winner, before outlining some of our top betting tips.
All odds provided by Sports Interaction.
Get +800 for a scoreless draw in this match Play
First MLS Playoff Contest Since 2009
There is little to split these sides as we approach their first MLS Playoff contest since the 2009 Western Conference semi-finals. On that occasion, it took extra time to split the sides (after a stalemate in both legs) and it was the Dynamo who progressed with a 1-0 home victory.
- Both sides have lost just once at home in 2017, each have won fifteen matches, drawn twelve times and just one goal separates them in terms of goal difference.
- Both sides had similar semi-final experiences as each side drew 0-0 in their first leg before scoring twice in the return fixture to progress to the final.
Houston provided the biggest shock as they managed to win away from home against Portland in their semi-final second leg - the Dynamo recorded just one regular season victory away from the BBVA Compass Stadium, so that result will give them plenty of confidence.
Seattle's Is A Risky Favourite
Seattle may be favourites to progress to this year's final match, they will enter the first leg as underdogs due to the Dynamo's prodigious home form and also the fact that they have never won a match at the BBVA Compass Stadium. They will be sweating on the availability of Ozzie Alonso, who could make a big difference while attacker Jordan Morris looks set to miss at least the first leg.
Houston also have personnel concerns - a trio of players from Honduras will return for the side after travellng to Australia for their country's failed World Cup Qualification campaign and will likely be heavy-legged after a grueling travel schedule. Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto are still likely to start, and Dynamo fans will be hoping to see goals from the pair who have contributed 18 between them this season.
Both Teams Are Even This Season
The sides faced off twice in the regular season with the honours shared - Houston won the season-opener 2-1 and featured both clubs' top scorers Erick Torres and Clint Dempsey hitting the back of the net, while Seattle won the return fixture at CenturyLink Field in June. It has been over five months since the teams have come up against each other.
Sports Interaction has Houston as favourites to win this fixture at home, although if the odds are to be believed it's going to be a very close match. As it stands, the Dynamo are available to pick at +134, while you can get Seattle at +199 and +225 for the draw.
As good as Seattle have been this season, we expect the BBVA Compass hoodoo will continue and they will again fail to win. We are going to put our money on the draw in this match, citing the performance of both sides in their first leg matches in the semi-finals.
Take These Betting Tips On Your Way
Houston and Seattle will contest over two matches, so there are several different betting options available. You will be able to place a bet on each individual match as you normally would, with all three full-time results (win, loss and draw) available.
Most sportsbooks will also allow you to place a wager on which team will progress to the next round - this will be a simple head-to-head bet with only two outcomes.
Those who watched the World Cup Playoffs over the last two weeks will be aware that there is a big chance of a 0-0 draw in a match with so much at stake. Both the Dynamo and Sounders played out stalemates in the first leg of their semi-final fixtures, and we like the chances of this one finishing level again, with neither side willing to take too many risks in the first match.
The over/under is set at 2.5 goals for this match, with the under paying -140. If you're not convinced that the game will finish goal-less but are confident that few goals will be scored, perhaps you should place a wager on this line. The most likely scores in this fixture will be 0-0, 1-0, 2-0 or 1-1, so this is a great option.
Clint Dempsey missed Seattle's first match against Vancouver through suspension, before scoring the only two goals in the return fixture. If the Sounders are to get a crucial away goal here, you can bet that he will be the one to do it. Dempsey is paying +191 to score at any time in the match.
Make sure you take a look at all of our betting partners and explore the lines on offer. As always, we will keep you up to date with all the latest and provide ongoing support.
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