Credit:Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Pity Martinez
Jul 11, 2020, 06:15 PM EDT
- Looking to bet the MLS Is Back tournament tonight? You’ve come to the right place.
- Atlanta United (+112 betting favorite) will face the The New York Red Bulls (+215) Saturday night at Disney World.
- Below you’ll find BJ Cunningham’s betting preview for the match, including his pick for tonight’s action.
|Atlanta United odds||+112 [BET NOW]|
|New York Red Bulls odds||+215 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+265 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||3 (+112/-136) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 8 p.m. ET|
The MLS Is Back tournament rolls on Saturday as Atlanta United take on the New York Red Bulls in a Saturday night primetime match on FOX. In normal times MLS doesn’t really generate much of a betting handle, but this match should do some big numbers considering the circumstances.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
The 2018 MLS Cup Champions are one of the favorites to win the tournament, but they’ll need to it without their best player, Josef Martinez, who tore his ACL in the first game of the season.
Martinez accounted for just about all of Atlanta’s offense last season, scoring 27 of their 55 goals. The second-leading scorer only netted a six tallies, so it’s hard to envision where Atlanta’s offense is going to come from. Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez will have to step up for The Five Stripes.
Atlanta were one of the most consistent teams in MLS last season, ranking third in expected goals against and ninth in expected goals for. Most of their defense has returned for 2020, so I expect them to be near the top of the league in xGA again this campaign.
New York Red Bulls
After an early playoff exit in 2019 and the departures of three club legends in the offseason, 2020 is a year of transition for the Red Bulls.
Luis Robles, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kemar Lawrence are all gone and the Red Bulls haven’t made any significant moves to replace them.
The core of the Red Bulls is still solid and can compete with the top teams in MLS, but the Red Bulls lack depth across the board. The Red Bulls were the definition of average in 2019, ranking 15th in expected goals for per match (1.50) and 12th in expected goals against per match (1.50).
I don’t think there’s much value betting either side at their current prices, but I am projecting this game to low scoring and think there’s some value on the Under 2.5 at plus-money.
- Atlanta United projected odds: +122 (44.95% win probability)
- New York Red Bulls projected odds: +258 (27.92%)
- Draw projected odds: +269 (27.13%)
- Atlanta projected xG: 1.36
- New York Red Bulls projected xG: 1.06
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