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Houston Dynamo Favored to Beat Real Salt Lake in Decisive Game 3
Updated November 10, 2023
The MLS Cup Playoffs are coming down to the wire, with the conference semifinals just around the corner. Over in the West, the Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake are tied 1-1 in their best-of-three series, with the decisive Game 3 on Saturday, November 11th at Shell Energy Stadium. The kick-off is scheduled for 6 PM ET. The No. 4 ranked ran out as 2-1 in the series opener before No.5 RSL won in penalties in Game 2. These two sides were separated by a mere one point during the regular season, which means things can truly go either way on Saturday. Continue reading for the Houston Dynamo vs Real Salt Lake picks.
Before we get into the odds, match preview, and picks, check out our MLS betting page if you plan to put money down on this game.
Houston, who were phenomenal at home during the regular season, come into this fixture as a big -148 moneyline favorite. Salt Lake returns at +392. A draw is priced at +325, but they would need to decide things in penalties if it’s a stalemate at the end of 90 minutes, just like Game 2.
Can Houston Get it Done?
The Dynamo had a respectable campaign, finishing with a 14-11-9 record which landed them in fourth spot in the Western Conference. Houston came out and got it done in Game 1 of the series, absolutely wreaking havoc in the final third in the 2-1 win. Former Atletico Madrid man Hector Herrera opened the scoring in the first half before RSL equalized early in the second period. Amine Bassi ultimately won it for the hosts in the 79th minute, though. The Dynamo tallied 23 shots in total but just five found the target. They also controlled 71% of the ball.
Game 2 was a much different story however as Salt Lake played a lot better and managed to grab the victory in PKs to force Game 3. RSL managed to hold their own and had nearly the same possession percentage, too. Houston is in good form right now, tasting defeat twice since August 7th. Ben Olsen’s men are playing great football and tend to thrive on home soil, compiling an 11-2-4 record during the season. That was the polar opposite from their 3-9-5 mark on the road. Needless to say, it’s a good thing this match is at Shell Energy Stadium.
The difference-makers for the Dynamo are undoubtedly Herrera and Bassi. The Mexican had five goals and 11 assists in the regular season and should definitely play his part on Saturday, whether it’s as a provider or finisher. As for Bassi, he bagged 12 goals and of course, scored the winner in Game 1.
Salt Lake Face Tall Task
The numbers say it all. Winning in Houston has been a tall task for any MLS side in 2023. It will be challenging for Salt Lake to do so this weekend but after all, there isn’t a ton of difference between the two clubs. As previously mentioned, the Dynamo only finished a point above them in the West and although their goal difference was far superior, this is the playoffs. Anything can happen. After all, we just saw top-seeded St. Louis get knocked out in Round One by Sporting KC.
Up top, RSL scored 48 times this season but did concede 50. Forward Jefferson Savarino was the main catalyst in front of goal, hitting the back of the net eight times. In fact, he’s the one who kept Salt Lake’s season alive in Game 2, scoring a beautiful free kick in the 69th minute to ultimately force penalties. Justen Glad, Anderson Julio, Diego Luna, and Danny Musovski all had a minimum of four goals apiece, too.
This is RSL’s fifth time in the playoffs in the last six years, even making the conference finals in 2021. They will be hoping to avoid another first-round exit though, which happened in 2022. Salt Lake actually had a respectable 8-5-4 record on the road this item, winning more away than at home. Rare, but a promising sign for how things could play out on Saturday.
Houston Dynamo vs Real Salt Lake Picks
It’s very hard to ignore just how brilliant Houston is on home turf. For that reason alone, I’m taking the Dynamo moneyline here. They will progress to the conference semifinals to face Sporting KC.