Odds to win 2018 MLS Cup
It's crunch time in the MLS right now. Each team has less than ten regular season matches left to play, and only 12 of the 23 clubs will progress to the MLS Playoffs. Early frontrunners Atlanta United, FC Dallas, LA FC and the New York Red Bulls are all considered a huge chance, but the truth is that a MLS Cup champion can come from almost anywhere. Let's look at the best chances as we approach the home stretch.
Who is who?
- 01The Favourite - Atlanta United (+400)
- 02The Leading Contender - New York Red Bulls (+400)
- 03The Best Of The (W)est
- 04Eastern Chances
- 05Canadian Chances?
The Favourite - Atlanta United (+400)
Way back in March we predicted that Atlanta United would be the one to watch out for in 2018, and with just under a quarter of the regular season left to play it's certainly looking good for one of the league's newer franchises. Huge crowds, blistering attacking displays and a goalscorer that is breaking all sorts of records, United have it all, and are the ones to beat in this year's competition.
While they were +800 to start the season, the +400 you can get for them now is still a decent price. Comparatively, Toronto FC at this stage of last season were around +300, and while the Reds were in the middle of a dominant, record-shattering campaign, make no mistake that this Atlanta side are onto a good thing.
While betting on the favourite isn't always your best bet in term of outlay, this is an opportunity to play the percentages and still come out well on top.
The Leading Contender - New York Red Bulls (+400)
Ok, so New York are the equal favourites technically, and the statistics prove that they are one very tough opponent that Atlanta will most likely need to beat at some stage to reach the MLS Cup final.
The Red Bulls were agonisingly close to knocking Toronto FC out of the MLS playoffs last season, and the hunger in their squad is there for all to see. While always boasting a tough defensive unit, the squad have added more goals in 2018, and will be cause any teams problems if they can stay fit.
At +400, we don't see the value in placing a bet on the Red Bulls, considering you can get Atlanta United for a similar price. But if you're confident that it will be the Jersey-based side rather than United reaching the final, now is the time to act as this price will only fall from here.
The Best Of The (W)est
Just like last year, we have an Eastern Conference with a couple of standout performers, and a Western Conference that is too close to call. Anyone from FC Dallas down to the LA Galaxy could potentially top the standings at the end of the regular season, and even that won't necessarily indicate who is going to challenge the best team from the East.
While FC Dallas (+760) are currently top and the best chance according to the bookies, the West presents an opportunity to make money. The Seattle Sounders have reached the final for two consecutive seasons, winning one MLS Cup in the process, and they have not finished in the top position on either occasion. The Sounders are great value at +1400.
Los Angeles FC (+800) are doing their best to mirror Atlanta's debut season, and are looking like they will lock in a playoff spot, but we would advise against picking the new boys. Atlanta failed to deal with the pressure of the postseason in their first attempt and LA will face similar difficulties. Meanwhile Sporting Kansas City (+1100) the Portland Timbers (+1400) and LA Galaxy (+2500) are all in with a shot, with the latter great value if you think Zlatan Ibrahimovic can get this team to the final.
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As we've mentioned, anyone who reaches the playoffs has a shot at the MLS Cup. After the Supporters' Shield is done and dusted, it's a brand new competition, and it will all come down to managing pressure and having a fit and healthy roster.
The Columbus Crew showed last year that they had the mental strength to reach the Eastern Conference final, and were narrowly outplayed by eventual champions Toronto. At +3300, the Crew are extremely good value given they are almost certain to make the playoffs from their current position.
Just above them on the standings are perennial underachievers New York City FC, and we're going to give you the same advice that we gave you 12 months ago - steer clear of the boys from the Bronx. City come in at +800, but given their history of failings in the playoffs they simply aren't a smart bet for this price.
Toronto FC had a great run, but realistically the dream is over for this season. With so many distractions early on, many expected the Reds to refocus after their disappointing CONCACAF Champions League loss. Unfortunately, that has not been the case, and a team that has won almost everything don't appear to be able to back up their historic run.
Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps are Canada's only other hopes, but at +6600 a piece you'd have to be a very patriotic Canadian to put your money on. Neither team have produced the type of football that will challenge the top teams this season, so we're steering clear of a bet.