Pick Draw & 'Under' in San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire

SBR Staff

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 3:28 PM GMT

We preview the mid-week MLS matchup between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Chicago Fire and offer up our thoughts as to where the best betting options lie. With both teams playing at a poor level, how do we plan to hunt down the smartest soccer picks in what could be an otherwise boring matchup?

Who: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire

What: Major League Soccer regular season

Where: Buck Shaw Stadium, Santa Clara, California, USA

When: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weather: The Weather Channel forecast Santa Clara

Time: 19:30 GMT 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT

TV: NBC Sports Network, NBC Sports Live Extra, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick (USA); MLS Live (Canada)

Worldwide Livestreams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com

Radio: SiriusXM FC SIRI 94 (Internet 94)

Referee: Dave Gantar

Odds: San Jose Pick -113, Chicago Pick -102

Decimal Odds: San Jose Pick 1.885, Chicago Pick 1.980

3-Way Odds: San Jose +125, Chicago +244, Draw +239

Total: Over 2½ +110, Under 2½ -125

Decimal 3-Way Odds: San Jose 2.25, Chicago 3.44, Draw 3.39

Decimal Total: Over 2½ 2.10, Under 2½ 1.80

Source: 5Dimes (San Jose, Costa Rica)

Odds To Win MLS Cup: San Jose 50/1, Chicago 80/1

Source: sportsbook.ag (Antigua and Barbuda, West Indes)

 

Both the Chicago Fire Soccer Club (3-4-11) and the host San Jose Earthquakes (4-8-5) head into this midweek cross-conference MLS match between teams with disaster nicknames in the midst of disastrous seasons, but, with Chicago only three points off of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference heading in and San Jose a massive 10 points back of one in the Western Conference, it seems the visitors here should be the more motivated of the two sides. But, much like the NBA and the NHL, the Western Conference in the MLS has evolved into the much stronger of the league’s two conferences and thus, the records and current places in the MLS standings can be somewhat deceiving.

Be sure to read my Real Salt Lake vs. Montreal Picks & Predictions

The Earthquakes will enter this game in last place in their conference and with the second-least points (17) in the MLS—the Montreal Impact have 14—and have averaged a meager 1.0 point per game and San Jose’s 17 goals is the lowest total in the league, but, the Fire (20 points, 1.11 ppg) haven’t been much better, and, along with the aforementioned Impact, possess the fewest number of wins (3) in the MLS. So, this is sort of like a not-so hot-blooded Battle of the Bands between Foreigner and Journey—who knows who, or if anyone wins when it’s all said and done.

It’s been more of a smolder than a fire so far this season for the pro soccer team in the Windy City, but Chicago can boast a freakishly high 11 draws and with both sides here coming off 1-1 ties in their last game, making a case for betting the Draw here (+239, 5Dimes) isn’t exactly hard.

Chicago (26 GF-28 GA, -2 GD) has been fairly successful against the Earthquakes recently, but in the last three meetings at San Jose (17 GF-19 GA, -2 GD), it’s been 1-1-1 with both clubs notching clean sheets in their wins (SJ 2-0 in 2011 and Chicago 3-0 in 2010). Mark Watson’s Earthquakes have lost four of their last five games while the Fire have lost just once in their last seven (1-1-5)—but then again they’ve only won once too, revealing just how much coach Frank Yallop’s team actually ties games (55.55%) this year. This quirkiness seems to happen to at least one club each season in the MLS.

In their last game, Chicago almost earned its second home win after a Jeff Larentowicz header in the 60th minute gave the Fire a 1-0 lead over the visiting Philadelphia Union on Saturday, but a controversial handball call on defender Gonzalo Segares resulted in a PK and the eventual game-tying goal. San Jose also deadlocked its’ last game by a 1-1 scoreline on Saturday, as Steven Lenhart scored his first goal of the season for the Earthquakes in the 85th minute to give the visitors a hard-earned point against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.

With both sides not exactly clicking this season, this game could be scoreless for quite some time despite the presence of  San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski (6 goals) and the Men in Red’s Quincy Amarikwa (6 goals), Harrison Shipp (6 goals) and Mike Magee (5 goals). The Fire have an impressive 1.44 gpg average, but the host Earthquakes—who allow just 1.1 ppg—should be able to dictate the pace early on here at Buck Shaw Stadium. And both San Jose (7-11 Over/Under) and Chicago (7-10) have rewarded Under players more to date so far this MLS season, so, taking the Under 2½ -125  definitely seems like a safer approach than the Over in this game.

Traveling out West and winning isn’t easy for any team in professional sports, and Chicago is just 2-5-2 away (13 GF-14 GA, -1 GD) while San Jose is a paltry 3-3-4 (12 GF-11 GA, +1 GD) at home so you can see that these teams are fairly even statistically heading in here and this match could very well end up 0-0, 1-1, or possibly even 2-2. This seems like a very good game in which to add the Draw to your soccer picks, as this club (the Fire) ties more than any other in professional sports right now.

PREDICTION: San Jose 1 Chicago 1

FREE PICKS: Earthquakes-Fire Draw +239, Under -125

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