Supporters’ Shield, Playoffs & More on the Line


Vermes and Pulido

Sproting Kansas City have a chance to lock up first overall in the West on Decision Day. Photo by @Tiempo_ExtraMex (Twitter).

  • The final week of the MLS regular season is here with Week 23 kicking off on Sunday, November 8
  • Decision Day will features battles for the Supporters’ Shield, home field, playoff positions and more
  • Read on for the odds and our best bets from MLS Week 23 here

The final day of Major League Soccer’s regular season is Sunday, November 8 and is known as Decision Day. With the Supporters’ Shield, playoff positions and more still on the line, there is plenty to watch for and bet on this Sunday.

The Shield race comes down to just two teams, with both Philadelphia and Toronto sitting on 44 points. The Union will host New England, while TFC travels to face the New York Red Bulls. In the East, each of Atlanta, Miami and DC, currently out of the playoffs, still have a shot at claiming a play-in place. While in the West, we know all eight teams who will be participating, but overall seedings are still up in the air.

At 3:30 pm EST seven games will kick off in the Eastern Conference, followed by six games at 6:30 pm EST in the Western Conference. With many scenarios still to play out, we take a look at a few key matches and try to find some betting value on Decision Day.

MLS Week 23 Odds

Matchup Home Draw Away
Chicago Fire vs New York City FC +170 +260 +140
Columbus Crew vs Atlanta United -120 +280 +300
DC United vs Montreal Impact +115 +250 +210
Inter Miami CF vs FC Cincinnati -275 +375 +650
New York Red Bulls vs Toronto FC +100 +260 +240
Orlando City FC vs Nashville SC -134 +260 +333
Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution +105 +250 +250
Houston Dynamo vs Colorado Rapids +110 +275 +200
Los Angeles FC vs Portland Timbers -163 +333 +350
Minnesota United vs FC Dallas +105 +225 +260
Real Salt Lake vs Sporting Kansas City +187 +250 +130
Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes -154 +320 +375
Vancouver Whitecaps vs LA Galaxy +210 +275 +115

All odds taken Nov 5 at Bet365

Pick 1: Chicago Fire vs New York City FC

One of several games with MLS Eastern Conference playoff implications on the line sees tenth-place Chicago Fire hosting fifth-place NYCFC at 3:30 pm EST.

Chicago is currently holding the final playoff spot in the East, tied with Montreal at 1.05 ppg. But right behind them are Atlanta (1.00 ppg), and Miami and DC (both 0.95 ppg). So while they may hold their fate in their own hands, all kinds of movement can still happen which would bump them out of the playoffs based on their own and other results.

Chicago could’ve wrapped up a playoff spot in recent weeks with just slightly better performances. They’ve lost just once in six matches, however, have also won just once as well. They were leading 2-1 over New York Red Bulls before coughing up a stoppage-time equalizer. They were reduced to ten men against Philadelphia and lost 2-1 despite a strong start. Last weekend they only gave up one shot on target to Nashville, yet drew 1-1. Then on Wednesday they jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Minnesota but couldn’t hold on eventually ending with a 2-2 draw.

New York is likely to finish where they currently stand in fifth. New England can’t move up from sixth and Columbus are likely to hold onto fourth. However, a Columbus loss to an Atlanta side fighting for a playoff spot, coupled with an NYCFC win, could still see them leapfrog the Crew for a home playoff spot.

NYCFC looks to be peaking at the right time as they enter this match on the back of 3-1 (Montreal) and 5-2 (Red Bulls) wins in their past two outings. Maxi Moralez got his first start since injury in the Montreal game and finished with a goal and five shots on target. While Valentin Castellanos scored a hat-trick against the Red Bulls.

After many low-scoring affairs at the beginning of the restart, New York has only played one match in eight of late which has seen less than three goals scored. Six of those eight have seen at least four goals scored and 7/8 have seen both teams scoring.

High scoring games have been the norm for Chicago all season. They are 15-7 to OVER 2.5 totals and their games average three goals-per-game, which is second-highest in the East behind Montreal’s 3.2.

The Fire likely need something from this match and will be forced to attack. In Robert Beric, they have one of the league’s most in-form strikers. Beric has 11 goals on the year, has scored four goals in his past five matches, while recording 14 shots and five on target in those matches. The +140 odds on Beric as an anytime scorer looks like good value.

But if the Fire attack, their already shaky backline will be exposed to a more than capable New York offense. Expect goals in this one.

Pick: Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals (-138), Robert Beric – Anytime Scorer (+140)

Pick 2: Inter Miami CF vs FC Cincinnati

Another Eastern Conference Sunday afternoon match sees 12th-place Inter Miami hosting 14th-place FC Cincinnati.

Cincinnati have done a solid job of shoring up their defense this season. However, their offense has been non-existent with only 11 goals scored in 22 matches played. With just 16 points on the season, they are the only East team that is officially eliminated from playoff considerations heading into Decision Day.

There’s no need to break down this Cincy squad too thoroughly in this one. Since the restart they have just two wins in 17 matches. They have just one win in their past ten and just three goals scored in that time as well. After an impressive 2-1 win over their rivals Columbus on October 14, they’ve since lost 2-1, 1-0, 1-0 and 2-0 last weekend in Atlanta.

Miami’s first year in MLS hasn’t exactly been a success either and their current form has also left their fans and backers wanting more. They have just a single win in five, a 2-1 win over rivals Orlando on October 24. Following that result they’ve dropped two 2-1 results to Dallas and Toronto.

They can still qualify for the playoffs, but will need a win and for several other results to go their way. But, it is possible. Miami has lost three of their past four but each of those losses came on the road. In their past three home dates, they are 2-1-0 (WDL).

Each of Miami’s past five matches have seen both teams scoring and four of five have also seen three goals being scored. Their past four matches have all ended  2-1 one way or another. 2-1 has actually been a fairly popular scoreline in Miami matches this season with 11/22 finishing that way.

Against a stronger opponent, I may not like Miami’s chances. But at home, with a chance to make the playoffs in their first season in MLS on Decision Day, and against an inept offense in Cincinnati, I think Diego Alonso’s team gets the job done convincingly. It could also be a great stage for superstar striker Gonzalo Higuain to make a mark (-175 odds as anytime scorer).

Pick: Inter Miami -1.5 (+110)

2020 MLS Cup Odds Tracker

Pick 3: MLS Decision Day Parlay

There are six Western Conference matches at 6:30 pm EST. These two matches will help decide the top four and first overall in the conference. I see an opportunity for a small two-game parlay with some of the evening’s matches below.

LAFC vs Portland Timbers

Los Angeles FC still has a slim shot at claiming home-field advantage in the playoffs being just three points back of fourth-place FC Dallas. Portland still has a shot at first place in the West, despite owning the most current points (38) of any team. Sporting Kansas currently leads the West with 36 points and an average of 1.80 ppg.

After dealing with several absences and injuries, LAFC seem to be getting healthy and rounding into form at the right time. They are coming off a 3-2 loss on Wednesday, however, it was on the road in San Jose to an Earthquakes team which was looking to clinch a playoff birth.

Previously, LAFC was 4-1-1 (WDL) in their past six with 2-0 and 2-1 wins coming before the San Jose defeat.

The Timbers have been rolling for much of the season and had just a single defeat ten matches before Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Colorado. However, injuries are starting to pile up in their attacking corpse. Already dealing with a season-ending injury to Sebastian Blanco, Jaroslaw Niezgoda has now seen his season end as well (ACL) and Jeremy Ebobisse has also been out of the lineup (leg/concussion). There is a chance Ebobisse could return on Sunday though.

Portland has now scored multiple goals just once in their past six matches. That came at home to a struggling LA Galaxy side.

This will be the fourth meeting this season between these teams. The teams first drew 2-2 at MLS is Back. Then LAFC were 4-2 winners at home in September and the teams drew once again (1-1) in Portland on October 18.

LAFC have been hit or miss this season, but at Banc of California Stadium, since the restart, they have gone 6-0-2 (WDL) and have outscored opponents 23-9. I give LAFC the edge to win on Sunday.

Real Salt Lake vs Sporting Kansas City

In 11th-place and out of the playoffs, RSL hosts first place SKC. In 2018 SKC finished first in the West. Last year they finished second-from-bottom in 11th. There could be no better turnaround story for Peter Vermes’ club than to return to the top of the Western Conference table in 2020.

Both Portland and Seattle can both pass SKC though, so they’ll need to finish the season strong on the road in Salt Lake. The teams have met once this season, a 2-0 SKC win during the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament.

SKC are finishing on the road on Decision Day, a place they’ve been very successful this season. Their past four games have all been on the road where they are 2-1-1 (WDL). On the season, they are 5-2-2 away from home, good for the second-best road record in the West.

Overall, in all matches, they have just a single defeat in their past seven.

A road match in Salt Lake is never an easy place to go for any team. For SKC, they haven’t won there in the regular season since 2013. But RSL is out of the playoffs and has just one win in their past eight matches while only scoring six times in that stretch. Sporting should be able to at least pick up one point in this match.

Picks:  LAFC win (-163) & SKC double chance (-250). Parlay: +126

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