During the 34-game regular season, the MLS standings change frequently, reflecting trends, hot streaks and periods of uninspiring play. Tracking the eastern and western conference during the year helps you understand the trajectory of a franchise before you place your wager.
MLS Betting Tips
Those looking for MLS betting tips should remain aware of the trends affect the league throughout its history, as well as recent and upcoming changes that promise to upset the balance of power.
After the first four years were dominated by east coast teams such as the Chicago Fire and DC United, the west established a run of MLS Cup success by earning 13 championships since the turn of the century. The Los Angeles Galaxy drove these results, earning five cup wins in nine appearances. Losing five MLS Cup finals, the New England Revolution's inability to win the big game also contributed to this trend.
Another trend to keep an eye on revolves around the difficulty of winning on the road in the MLS. When you look at the statistics, home teams typically have a win rate of 50% or more for the regular season, while road squads tend to win between 20-25% of their games.
This gap between home and road win ratios proves a heavy advantage for teams playing on friendly pitches. The MLS Cup features a 70% win rate for sides playing at home, increasing the bias against road teams in this matchup scenario.
One of the most significant recent changes to playoff competition has resulted in home advantage during the MLS Cup for the conference finalist with the best regular season record. This announcement took effect in the 2012 season, and will likely lead to a more even distribution of MLS championships among the east and the west.
The expansion of the MLS represents another big change to the competitive landscape, as Atlanta and Minnesota start play in 2017, joined by a second Los Angeles team in 2018. Over the next few years, Miami will soon announce their return to the MLS, with additional franchises likely to join the fray over the upcoming decade. This will force established teams to work harder to find and retain talent, raising the bar for all MLS franchises.