LAFC's Home Debut vs. Sounders among Key Tilts on MLS Slate

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 7:44 PM UTC

Tuesday, Apr. 24, 2018 7:44 PM UTC

Los Angeles FC has had a nice start in its inaugural MLS season, but what it hasn't had is a home game -- until now. LAFC hosts Seattle on Sunday in one of four weekend matchups we'll analyze.

MLS: Matchweek 9 Select PicksAtlanta United FC vs. Montreal ImpactFree MLS Pick: 'Over' 3½ -120Best Line Offered: Bovada

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Second-year franchise Atlanta United FC (5-1-1, 17 GF/8 GA) and the Montréal Impact (2-0-5, 9 GF/17 GA) have played only twice, with both sides winning at home last year (ATL 2-0 MTL, MTL 2-1 ATL) in this Eastern Conference series. On the MLS odds board for Saturday's 1 p.m. ET matchup, Atlanta is a big -300 home favorite over Montreal (+900; Draw +400) with the total set at 3½ ("under" -120) in two lines set high enough to make potential Atlanta United (-1½ -120) and/or "over" bettors think twice and, if backing, force them to really pay the price. The holes we look for in lines (odds) sometimes seem like they have been eaten by some nasty combination of The Computer and Father Time. Josef Martínez (6 goals), Miguel Almirón (4 goals) and Atlanta are unbeaten (3-1-0) at the fortress it has created at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, while Ignacio Piatti (4 goals), Jeisson Vargas (3 goals) and the slumping Impact have struggled away from home this year (1-0-4 on road). Expect the visitors to score once and Martínez and the hosts — who have scored 3, 4, 5 and 2 goals in four home dates — to get their obligatory 3 in this spot. And with nine of 11 matches in MLS Matchweek 7 producing at least three goals and this stadium a place of goals (4, 5, 5, 4 in four matches), let’s back the "over" 'til the wheels fall off and then try to use the high-priced home side to start a parlay or look for a -1 somewhere. Final score prediction: Atlanta United FC 3, Impact 1.

Toronto FC vs. Chicago FireFree MLS Pick: Toronto FC -150Best Line Offered: Bovada

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Nemanja Nikiloc (5 goals) and the Chicago Fire (2-1-3, 9 GS/10 GA) will look to make it two straight road upsets when they visit defending MLS champion Toronto FC (1-0-4, 4 GS/4 GA) on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. The host Reds have won the last six meetings in this Eastern Conference series, outscoring the Fire 15-8, with the last four games going "over" the total (4 gpg). But the big thing from a handicapping perspective here is the reality that Jozy Altidore (2 goals) and Toronto FC are still more focused on 2018 CONCACAF Champions League play. So we can probably expect a forlorn TFC side this weekend and an inspired Fire side, but at some point in the not-too distant future, this last-place Reds team needs to wake up and make a major run up the table. Final score prediction: Toronto FC 2, Fire 1.

New York City FC vs. Dallas FCMLS Free Picks: NYCFC -133; 'Over' 2½ -170Best Lines Offered: Intertops; Bovada

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Maximiliano Morález (4 goals) and New York City FC 5-2-1, 16 GS/9 GA) welcome Roland Lamah (3 goals) and Dallas FC (3-3-0, 9 GF/3 GA) for a big inter-conference affair Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET., in what should test Dallas FC's track record of playing in low-scoring matches (average 2.0 gpm) in a season that has started with so many "overs." With NYCFC having joined MLS three seasons back and these franchises playing in different divisions, these two sides have met only three times, with consecutive draws in the series and four goals scored in the only previous meeting at Yankee Stadium. With FC Dallas at 1-0-0 on the road and NYCFC 3-0-0 at home this season, it would seem like a pretty even match until you realize that Ismael Tajouri (4 goals) and the Bronx Blues will be an extremely foul mood after getting shut out in Portland 3-0 in Week 7. Final score prediction: NYCFC 2, FC Dallas 1.

Los Angeles FC vs. Seattle SoundersFree MLS Pick: LAFC -110Best Line Offered: Bovada

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What a wonderful way to end Matchweek 9, with a showdown from Lipstick City between a team that had never played an official game two months ago but started the season like world beaters, against arguably the most storied club in the league. Unexpectedly, perhaps, the teams' records are reversed, with 2016 MLS champion and 2017 runner-up Seattle (1-1-3, 5 GF/8 GA) struggling like a moth in a spider web, and expansion Los Angeles FC (4-0-2, 16 GF/13 GA) on an early roll. Sunday's matchup at 9 p.m. ET will be LAFC's first game at Banc of California Stadium. When these sides met March 4 in Seattle, LAFC won 1-0 as Diego Rossi (4 goals this season) scored the franchise's first-ever goal in its first-ever win. In Sunday's rematch, the energy and expectations of playing the inaugural fixture on a new home pitch combined with the confidence earned from a good start, plus a couple of nice scorers on the attack, backing Carlos Vela (5 goals) and LAFC with your MLS picks seems wise. Final score prediction: LAFC 3, Sounders 2.

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7 days. pic.twitter.com/0XPNgB5XnQ

— Banc of California Stadium (@BancStadium) April 22, 2018
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