The MLS is Back and my 2021 Season Betting Preview is here! The 2021 MLS Season has kicked off, so here is a quick look at some top teams and some betting projections for the season. The MLS consists of 27 teams – 24 in the United States, and three in Canada. In 2023, the league expansion will include three more teams (Austin, TX – 2021/ Charlotte, NC – 2022 / St. Louis, MO -2023). This 2021 season will be played from mid-April until late-October.
During the regular season, the team with the highest points total is awarded the Supporters Shield. The Philadelphia Union won last season’s Supporters Shield with 47 points. After the regular season, 14 teams compete in a postseason knockout tournament to determine a league champion. Last season saw the Columbus Crew win the MLS Cup with a 3-0 win over the Seattle Sounders.
Down below is my Betting Preview of five teams in each the Eastern and Western Conference, including odds to win the MLS Cup and Golden Boot.
PURCHASE MY NEXT SOCCER WINNER
Eastern Conference Betting Preview
The Columbus Crew are the reigning 2020 MLS Cup Champions, looking to go back to back, something that has only been done twice in MLS history (LA Galaxy – 2011/2012, Houston Dynamo – 2006/2007). Along with MLS Cup MVP Lucas Zelarayan and Gyari Zardes the Crew have added MLS veteran Bradley Wright-Phillips to one of the best lineups in the league.
Upcoming Match: 5/16 – New England Revolution
Led by reigning league MVP Alejandro Pozuelo and ex-USMNT striker Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC should be a force to reckon with in the East. Along with veteran Michael Bradley and young Canadian talent Ayo Akinola (league leader in goals per 90 min last season) Toronto have their eyes set on the MLS Cup run.
Upcoming Match: 5/22 – Orlando City FC
2020 was the best season so far in the Union’s history. They were winners of the Community Shield and were able to sell two highly sought after academy players at record sales for the club. The Union broke the mold last season, using a combination of young talented players and no big name transfers on their team. The Philadelphia Union should once again contend for multiple trophies this season.
Upcoming Match: 5/23 – D.C United
New York City FC
New York City FC have a sound group of role players and some young developing talent for this years squad. James Sands has to be the player to watch for NYFC, who is linked to multiple European clubs. New York unfortunately do not have star power but Maxi Moralez is one of the more fun playmakers in the league to watch. Look for NYFC to make some noise in the Eastern Conference this season.
Upcoming Match: 5/22 – Columbus Crew
Orlando City have a very possession based approach to their attack, allowing a lot of players to touch the ball. City are a fun squad, with ex-Portugal international Nani and creative playmaker Chris Mueller controlling the team pace and play. After finishing 4th in the East last season, Orlando City should be a team to make some noise this year.
Upcoming Match: 5/22 – Toronto FC
Western Conference Betting Preview
Los Angeles FC
Led by 2019 Golden Boot winner Carlos Vela, LAFC are the favorites to win the 2021 MLS Cup. In addition to Vela, the Black and Gold have Diego Rossi, whose 42 goals are 2nd in the squad since joining the club in 2018. Coach by ex-USMNT head coach Bob Bradley, LAFC look to avenge their first round exit in last season’s playoffs. Los Angeles FC are the favorites to win the MLS Cup (+375).
Upcoming Match: 5/22 – Colorado Rapids
For fans familiar with the MLS will know about the history of the Seattle Sounders. Since expanding into the MLS, the Sounders have won two MLS Cups and four U.S Open Cups. Seattle regularly find themselves in the playoffs, and have made the playoff in every season since their inauguration. Led by Fredy Montero, who leads the Sounders in all time goals (60), it should be another year of title contention for Seattle.
Upcoming Match: 5/23 – Atlanta United
The bitter rivals of the Sounders, Portland Timbers have one of the craziest fan bases in the MLS. All regular season games have been sold out since their inauguration in 2011. The Timbers won the MLS is Back Tournament after the Covid-19 break in 2020. Sebastian Blanco is back from injury in 2020 and looks to be the player to push this Timbers side into further rounds of the playoffs. Expect the Timbers to make a deep run this season.
Upcoming Match: 5/22 – LA Galaxy
FC Dallas are one of the oldest teams in the MLS. After joining the MLS in 1996, Dallas have only been to the Cup finals once back in 2010 losing 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids. This seasons team is heavy with homegrown talent, and looking for contributions from transfers Reggie Cannon and Bryan Reynolds. Along with Jadar Obrian, who was the leading scorer in the Colombian top flight league, FC Dallas is looking to make the 2021 a season with major silverware.
Upcoming Match: 5/22 – Real Salt Lake
Last team to keep an eye on in 2021 are Austin FC. This is the inaugural season for Austin FC and even though they are a mix of expansion draft players, the organization has good leadership. The front office have a tactical identity and if the coach can implement that throughout the squad, Austin FC should be a fun watch this season. Their team slogan is “Grow the Legend” which I think is a great motto to build a new franchise around.
Upcoming Match: 5/23 – Nashville SC
MLS Cup Betting Preview
|New York City FC||+900|
|New England Revolution||+1600|
|NY Red Bull||+2500|
MLS Golden Boot Betting Preview
|Player (Team)||Golden Boot Odds|
|Carlos Vela (LAFC)||+375|
|Diego Rossi (LAFC)||+450|
|Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders)||+600|
|Josef Martinez (Atlanta United)||+700|
|Gonzalo Higuain (Inter Miami)||+1100|
|Kacper Przybyłko (Philadelphia Union)||+1100|
|Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)||+1400|
|Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto FC)||+1600|
|Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers)||+2000|
|Chris Mueller (Orlando City)||+2200|