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MLS 2021 Outright Prediction and Picks

The midway point for the 2021 MLS season is fast approaching and both the Eastern and Western Conference tables are really starting to take shape.

An expanded field of 27 teams are battling it out for playoff positions and the chance to lift the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy this year with Texan outfit Austin FC joining the roster as the competition’s newest club.

MLS champions Columbus Crew – who beat current Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders 3-0 in the 2020 final – have made a slow start to their title defence, though they remain one of a large group of talented teams hoping to get their hands on silverware in 2021.

Ahead of the latest round of stateside fixtures this weekend, we’ve taken a look at some of the favourites and dark horses for glory in our MLS 20201 outright predictions and picks.

MLS 2021 Outright Winner Odds

bet365

  • Seattle Sounders – 4/1
  • Los Angeles FC – 7/1
  • Orlando City – 8/1
  • Sporting Kansas City – 8/1
  • New England Revolution – 12/1
  • Philadelphia Union – 14/1
  • Columbus Crew – 16/1
  • LA Galaxy – 16/1

DraftKings

  • Seattle +450
  • Orlando +500
  • LAFC +800
  • Columbus +900
  • New England +1100
  • LA Galaxy +1400
  • Philadelphia +1400
  • Sporting KC +1800

The bookmakers’ favourites

Seattle Sounders – 4/1 (bet365), +450 (DraftKings)

Twice winners and finalists in four of the last five seasons, Seattle Sounders have been the kings of consistency in the MLS over the last half a decade and their superb start in the Western Conference has handed them a well-earned favourites tag in 2021.

Coached by long-serving stalwart Brian Schmetzer, Sounders have yet to taste defeat this season, winning eight and drawing five of their opening 13 fixtures of the new campaign.

Seattle have been imperious at Lumen Field where they have collected 2.25 points per game and scored twice per 90 minutes on average and in Peruvian hotshot Raúl Ruidíaz, they wield won of the most lethal finishers in the MLS.

Sounders fell at the last hurdle in last year’s MLS final against Columbus Crew – a result that will make them doubly determined to go one better this year, however, other teams hold more appeal in the betting markets at better prices.

Los Angeles FC – 7/1 (bet365), +800 (DraftKings)

Priced as second and third favourites by bet365 and DraftKings respectively, Los Angeles FC haven’t quite live up to their billing in the early exchanges of the 2021 season.

A spike in a recent form which included three wins in four games hints that Bob Bradley’s talented team are finding their feet, however, The Black and Gold will still need to shake off their habit of making individual errors in games to progress further.

In Carlos Vela and last year’s Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi, LA have two of the MLS’s most seasoned match-winners, however, neither attacker has really caught fire in 2021 and they have notched just five goals between them so far.

With plenty of wrinkles left to iron out, bettors are advised to look elsewhere in the MLS outright markets and Los Angeles FC are best avoided at the prices on offer.

Orlando City – 8/1 (bet365), +500 (DraftKings)

Orlando City enjoyed arguably their best-ever campaign in the MLS last year, finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference and reaching the final of the MLS is Back Tournament in their home state of Florida, and while they were eventually toppled by the Portland Timbers in the showpiece fixture, The Lions still made impressive strides.

City lost leading marksman Dom Dwyer to Toronto in the off-season, though they have coped admirably in his absence, bagging 21 points in their first 12 Eastern Conference fixtures to claim second spot.

Portuguese winger Nani remains the star attraction in Orlando, though new signing Daryl Dike – who was wrangled from Barnsley in England – is starting to show his ability and the 21-year-old striker could be a dangerous weapon in the campaign’s second half.

DraftKings have priced Orlando City as their second-favourites to win the MLS Cup in 2021 and the Lions certainly look an interesting prospect at +500.

The outsiders worth watching

Sporting Kansas City – 8/1 (bet365), +1800 (DraftKings)

Priced way out at +1800 by DraftKings, Sporting Kansas City have been turning heads in the Western Conference with their dynamic attacking play under long-term boss Peter Vermes.

The Wizards have been producing plenty of magic in the final third and alongside being the top scorers across both Conferences with 24 goals in 13 contests, KC also top the charts for average shots attempted per game (16.8).

Hungarian Dániel Sallói and Mexican Alan Pulido are making waves up front, while 19-year-old Gianluca Busio is drawing covetous glances from Europe for his performances in midfield.

Sporting have topped the Western Conference in two of the last three seasons and they were beaten at the quarter-final stage of the playoffs in 2020 having reached the semi-finals in 2018.

The pedigree and experience are there and wins earlier this year over LA Galaxy (twice), New York RB and LA FC showed that Kansas City can turn it on against the biggest sides. They could be worth a wager to go all the way in 2021.

Philadelphia Union – 14/1 (bet365), +1400 (DraftKings)

Philadelphia landed their first-ever major trophy when they topped the overall MLS standings on Decision Day in 2020 to land the Supporters’ Shield – a piece of silverware that helped manager Jim Curtin to his Coach of the Year gong.

Union then went on to reach the semi-finals of the MLS is Back Tournament where they were narrowly beaten by eventual winners Portland Timbers and Philly have picked up where they left off in 2021.

Philadelphia sit in third spot in the Eastern Conference where they have conceded less than a goal per game thanks to the continued excellence between the sticks of last year’s Goalkeeper of the Year, Andre Blake.

Goals at the opposite end have been a little harder to come by, though Union has still recorded recent victories over New York RB and MLS 2020 winners Columbus Crew, while they managed to gain a measure of revenge with a 3-0 win against Portland on May 31.

Union’s round one exit in last year’s playoffs was a major surprise, though they could be one to watch this year, especially at the generous prices on offer.

 

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