After three rounds of playoff action to decide the conference champions, two teams compete for the biggest prize in Major League Soccer. During the 20th anniversary of the MLS Cup, a pair of expansion teams – Toronto and Seattle – fight for their first championship win, symbolizing the health and growing popularity of the league. MLS Cup Betting odds have listed western conference teams as favorites for the past decade.
However, now that the rules for home team advantage have changed, the balance of power in the MLS might shift to the east over the next decade of competition.
MLS Cup Odds Today
MLS Cup Odds today may change before the teams hit the pitch, making it worth your while to monitor the evolution of the moneylines as the big game approaches. These odds may be altered by weather conditions, injuries and betting pools that show where the popular money’s headed.
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In Major League Soccer’s early days DC United ruled the roost winning the first two titles and three of the first four. In the new millennium there was a power shift west as the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes shared the spoils for a time.
These days LA have reached the summit again winning three times in four years, but more often than not the winning side has been an upstart who got hot at the right time. Fans of Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers can all agree that once your team is in anything is possible.
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MLS Cup Betting Tips
Before betting on the MLS Cup, you should think about the trends that have emerged over the history of this competition. During the first two decades, the west has won the majority of the championships, earning 13 titles. When you consider that the east won the first four cups, powered by three DC United wins, the west has won 13 of the last 15 championships since 2000. Bettors will consider strong historical trends when wagering, which affects the moneylines published by sportsbooks. In this case, western conference teams may receive the benefit of the doubt in the event of a close matchup, raising the odds and the payouts for eastern contenders.
The most significant change to the MLS Cup occurred when the league stopped holding the event at a pre-determined, neutral site. Instead, home advantage goes to the conference finals winner with the best regular season record, which will increase the odds for teams already considered the favorite in most cases. Numbers show a strong skew towards home teams, which have a 5-2 record in championship games. This 71% win rate is greater than the advantage for home teams in the 2016 regular season, which was just above 50/50. Whenever you bet on the MLS, you need to consider if the road team has the ability to steal the win.
Championship games never result in blowouts, and the largest margin for champs has been two goals. Normally, MLS Cups are tightly-contested, one-goal affairs. Nine MLS Cups have proceeded to overtime, and three of them have went to penalty kicks to decide a 1-1 tie after extra time. If you decide to bet on the spread, make sure you’re getting good value if you choose anything over a 1.5 goal margin. In terms of over/under on totals, look for a big payout if the sportsbook offers action on five and above. Only five MLS Cups have combined for a total of five or more goals.
It’s unlikely that the west will continue to dominate the MLS Cup to the same extent over the next decade. The east has gotten deeper, with Toronto FC joining a pair of top notch New York teams funded by deep pockets. These three squads look to even the score with the west in the immediate future, along with historically solid teams like DC United.