After a profitable 5-1 record in this space last week, let’s try to keep the winning ways going with three more select handicaps cherry-picked for you readers from the MLS Week 24 slate.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew SC · Mapfre Stadium · Columbus, OH · 7:30 ET
Ola Kamara (11 goals) and the 6th-place Crew (10-2-12, 34 GF-39 GA) play host to Nemanja Nikolic (16 goals), David Accam (12 goals) and the 2nd-place Fire (12-5-5, 44 GF-25 GA) to the Ohio capital on Saturday night (MLS LIVE, CSN Plus, CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports OH, BCSN2) for this MLS Week 24 Eastern Conference fixture. A look at the L6 meetings in this series (FIRE 1-0 CREW, CREW 1-1 FIRE, FIRE 2-2 CREW, CREW 3-0 FIRE, FIRE 0-0 CREW, CREW 3-1 FIRE) shows the Home team is an unbeaten 3-3-0 (W-D-L) having just allowed 3 goals in 6 matches. A deeper handicapping dive shows Columbus is 12-8-9 (52 GF-37 GA) lifetime at Home against Chicago (2-4-5, 13 GF-20 GA) but since DP Bastian Schweinsteiger has arrived in the Windy City, this has been a brand new Chicago Fire Soccer Club and one which still remains unbeaten at Home at Toyota Stadium. But can they beat Federico Higuaín (9 goals), Justin Meram (9 goals) and the Crew (7-1-3, 21 GF-12 GA at Home) in Columbus? With its Confidence level high, the club healthy and Columbus back in Ohio after a long flight to California—where it lost to the Earthquakes, 2-1 in Week 23—this seems like it may be a good spot to back the talented underdog visitors although with 3 Draw results in the L5 meetings and this one in Columbus, backing Chicago in the Double Chance (-156, Intertops) market may be a safer route. And in this stadium, this spot in the Summer and Nikolic, Accam, Kamara, Higuaín and Meram on the pitch, there should be (at least) 3 goals here.
Final Score Prediction: Crew 1 Fire 2
MLS Picks: Fire +234 (Pinnacle), Over 2½ -189 (Intertops)
MLS Props Pick: Fire or Draw Double Chance -156 (Intertops)
Orlando City SC at New York Red Bulls · Red Bull Arena · Harrison, NJ · 7:30 pm ET
Bradley Wright-Phillips (13 goals), Daniel Royer (10 goals) and the 4th-place New York Red Bulls (11-2-9, 34 GF-29 GA) play host to Cyle Larin (9 goals), Kaká (4 goals) and 7th-place Orlando City (8-6-9, 24 GF-33 GA) on Saturday (MLS LIVE, MSG, TV27) in this MLS Week 24 affair from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. A look at the L5 meetings in this Eastern Conference series (ORL 1-0 RBNY, RBNY 2-0 ORL, ORL 1-1 RBNY, RBNY 3-2 ORL, RNBY 2-5 ORL) reveals three straight Unders, two Clean Sheets (won by the Home team) after seeing 12 goals scored in the two previous Garden State meetings. With GK Luis Robles and the Red Bulls (7-2-2, 20 GF-9 GA at Home) such a stingy Soccer club at Home and coming off a hard 3-2 Hudson Derby loss at NYCFC in Week 23, expect the hosts to take out their frustrations on Road-poor OCSC (2-3-6, 8 GF-19 GA on Road) which has only mustered 8 goals outside the Sunshine State in 11 matches (0.73 gpg).
Final Score Prediction: Red Bulls 2 Orlando City 0MLS Picks: Red Bulls -155 (Pinnacle), Under 3 -120 (Bovada)
New York City FC at LA Galaxy · Stubhub Center · Carson, CA · 11 pm ET
Believe it not, there have only been two meetings ever between the LA Galaxy and relatively new, NYCFC, so Trends and Science will have to take a backseat to Recency and Art in this inter-conference series for a couple more seasons. On Saturday night (ESPN2, MLS LIVE), the limping Galaxy (6-5-11, 32 GF-40 GA) and NYCFC (12-4-7, 44 GF-33 GA) will meet for a third time (NYCFC 1-0 LA, LA 5-1 NYCFC) with MLS All-Star David Villa (14 goals) and his squad having to Travel some 2,792 miles and lose three Time Zones going from ET to PT, meaning this MLS Week 24 match will end around 1 am in their Body Clocks bringing a perceived Circadian Rhythm advantage for the hosts. But anyone following the MLS this 2017 Regular Season has seen how enigmatic Giovani dos Santos (6 goals) and the LA Galaxy have been, being absolutely fantastic on the Road (5-1-5, 22 GF-21 GA)—the best mark in the league—but, swing low cherry cherry, yeah quite awful here at Home in Carson (1-4-6, 10 GF-19 GA), registering the worst Record in the MLS. With Jack Harrison (8 goals), Yangel Herrera and NYCFC (4-1-6, 16 GF-18 GA) respectable away from Home and the hosts still so suspect at Home, backing the Draw here seems like the wisest approach in a MLS Week 24 match where some goals should end up being scored in the primetime national TV spotlight.
Final Score Prediction: LA Galaxy 2 NYCFC 2MLS Picks: Draw +246 (Pinnacle), Over 2½ -167 (Intertops)