Philadelphia Union is the favorites to progress from the first Eastern Conference semi-final, and bettors can rely on them to get the job done.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the main sports online betting sites, it’s clear that bettors are siding heavily with the Union, rating them as -158 favorites to beat their Eastern Conference rivals here. If you want to bet on Cincinnati, you can get odds of around +400, while the normal time tie is priced at +310.
Cincinnati did well to beat a strong defensive unit in the NY Red Bulls in their First-Round tie, but they face a completely different challenge in the semi-final as they head east to take on the complete club in MLS.
Philadelphia concluded the regular season with the league’s best offensive and defensive records, but they were most successful at home, where they had a strong finish to the regular schedule. In their last seven home games in all competitions, they scored 30 goals and conceded just three.
Although Cincinnati can match the Union in terms of chance creation, they are undoubtedly too open at the back to be able to withstand Philadelphia’s creativity. I expect the visitors to create some chances and get on the scoresheet, but in the Union, firepower will eventually give them the win.
Although LAFC is the clear favorite in this matchup, they are not unbeatable and have already demonstrated their vulnerability. The visitors will be motivated by the fact that eight of the Black and Gold’s nine losses so far this year have occurred when they gave up the game’s first goal.
LA Galaxy will also gain assurance from their successful record on the road. In the regular season, they were successful six times on the road, their best showing since 2012, when they also hit the six wins mark.
In this case, the visitors pose a significant offensive threat, as Araujo, Chicharito, and Riqui Puig possess the finesse and creativity needed to put their opponents on the back foot.
Still, it would be a mistake to discount the talent in the LAFC squad, which has been enhanced by adding Gareth Bale, one of the game’s global stars. This game’s derby status adds to the tension before what could be a spectacular semifinal, and a regular-time tie appears to be the best betting option.
Although the playoffs can be unpredictable, it is still a reliable indicator of a team’s overall skill level, with most surprises in the postseason occurring due to an inability to handle the extra pressure.
Many betting fans will opt for NYCFC in this matchup because they have won their previous four games, but that would be to overlook that Montreal finished ten points ahead of NYCFC.
The relative mediocrity of Montreal’s home record may work in the New Yorkers’ favor in this situation. Five of their nine losses during the regular season occurred on their home field. Montreal would have finished fourth if the regular season rankings had only considered home performance.
Unfortunately for NYCFC, if the regular season had been determined by away performance, they would have placed fifth in the East. The clear favorite to win this game is Montreal since they are the superior team and have a home-field advantage. They also appear to be undervalued in the betting markets.
Dallas is returning to the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons, but they face a tough test in their semi-final when they take on Austin.
After finishing as the lowest regular-season scorers in the MLS last year, they scored 65 goals this time, placing second in the West and behind only LAFC in goals scored.
That said, Dallas was able to match them both at home and away twice during the regular season, and they will be optimistic that they can do the same here. They will also be encouraged that Austin’s free-scoring approach started to lose effectiveness toward the end of the regular season as they scored one or fewer goals in each of their last three games.
I expect this to develop into a close and competitive match, particularly when the local derby factor is considered. Both clubs had their First-Round matches go to penalties, so I believe the draw in regulation time looks like a good betting choice here. Extra time or penalties will ultimately determine which team advances to face one of the LA sides in the Conference Final.
For more than a decade and a half, Teri Geis has carved a niche in the world of betting. Her writing has graced the pages of some of the industry's heavy hitters, including the likes of Betfair, ESPN, and Sporting Life. With her extensive understanding of sports betting, readers can now peruse her insightful reviews, features, and previews here on this website.