UFC 262 will crown a new lightweight champion as former Bellator champion Michael Chandler meets the UFC’s all-time submissions and performance bonuses leader, Charles Oliveira. Let’s keep the hot streak going with the UFC 262 betting picks as the fights start Saturday, May 15.
MLS Futures Betting Picks: Can A Canadian Team Win the 2021 MLS Cup?
Toronto FC surprised many last season when they returned to the MLS Cup despite being 15-1 underdogs. They lead the charge for the Canadian squads looking to surprise this 2021 MLS season. Here is a Canadian edition of SBR’s MLS Futures betting picks.
Despite the delays, the 2021 MLS season returns later this April to its regular length. Toronto FC will once again be among the top contenders for the MLS Cup, which will be played on December 11. Other Canadian clubs, CF Montreal and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC will also be part of the MLS Futures betting picks.
If 2020 taught anything it’s that this league is full of surprises. With that said, the champion is still likely to come from the usual suspects. Here is how the MLS 2021 Cup projections are looking like based on the betting odds (via the best online sportsbooks):
|Odds to win the 2021 MLS Cup|
Los Angeles FC
New York City FC
Orlando City SC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
MLS Futures: Can Toronto FC Become Champions Again?
It will be four years since Toronto FC became the first Canadian team to win the MLS Cup. For TFC fans, it was a long time coming. This was a franchise that had just one double-digit win season in its first seven years.
Now, TFC has become a perennial contender and most recently finished as a runner-up to the Supporters’ Shield and as an MLS Cup runner-up in 2019.
Toronto FC (10.00) will once again be among the top contenders in 2021, but they’re not the favourites. Los Angeles FC (5.00), Columbus Crew (6.50), and the Seattle Sounders (7.56) are likelier winners. But don’t count out TFC. They opened at 15.00 to win the 2019 MLS Cup and they finished as runner-ups.
It will be a tougher path as several teams, not just those ahead of TFC, have made improvements. LAFC is the favourite thanks to reinforcing its leaky defence. They’re also fresh off an inspiring CONCACAF run that saw them become the first team to knock off three Mexican squads.
The defending champions, The Crew, are back with prolific winger Kevin Molino who was a playoff hero for Minnesota last year. Seattle will be a contender as usual. Last year’s runner-up lost some of its regulars but will have one of their OG’s, Fredy Montero, return.
With their core mostly intact, TFC has an outside shot at recapturing the MLS Cup.
2021 MLS Cup Futures: How the Canadian Teams Stack
Toronto FC isn’t the only Canadian team in contention this season. They’re the most prominent by far, but the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps will also be gunning to make a surprise this 2021. Here’s how each of the three teams is looking (odds via SportsInteraction (SIA)):
- MLS Cup: 10.00
- Conference: 5.03
The club is always in contention and overperforming past expectations. It returns mostly the same core although MF Michael Bradley and FW Jozy Altidore are now into their 30s with Chris Armas replacing club legend Greg Vanney.
TFC’s window keeps getting smaller, but they’re still a threat thanks to having the best midfield in the league. Homegrown talent MF Jonathan Osorio will continue to be an integral part of the team, especially if Bradley starts declining. And of course, there’s the reigning MVP, MF Alejandro Pozuelo.
But if the TFC has an Achilles, it’s on defence. The team’s top talent is getting up there in age and they can be exploited by some of the younger teams.
- MLS Cup: 65.00
- Conference: 41.00
Montreal had a subpar campaign last season just like it’s had since finishing third in the conference in 2015. Each season, the club just goes through turnover after turnover this time losing team captain and defensive fixture Jukka Raitala to Minnesota.
But Montreal also re-loaded with some talent most notably on the offensive side. FW Bjorn Johnsen and MF Djordje Mihailovic will help bolster their front. They will join star forward Romell Quioto who led the club in goals.
All in all, Montreal is moving laterally. But this club has enough to sneak into the playoffs. If their additions pay dividends, this club will have enough scoring to pull an upset or two. Maybe.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- MLS Cup: 55.00
- Conference: 35.00
Like Montreal, the Whitecaps are hovering right around the playoff picture. But unlike Montreal, Vancouver is growing. The rebuild could hit a new stage with the continued growth of its players. That’s led by star forward Lucas Cavallini who ended 2020 on a bit of a hot streak.
Ali Adnan Kadhim Nassir Al-Tameemi also leads the Whitecaps’ defence. He is considered one of the league’s best fullbacks and along with Erik Godoy will showcase Vancouver’s depth on defence.
However, there’s still a lot left for this club to develop in. The transition game is still a weakness and several of their key players still need more seasoning. They may be a sexy darkhorse in the future, but not just yet.
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