If you are looking to make profit off of this Sunday's Major League Soccer matches, this professional handicapping report is for you. We offer our expert betting advice, odds analysis and free pick.
Second-place FC Dallas heads to BC Place in British Columbia, Canada on Sunday night to face the sixth-place Vancouver Whitecaps in what should be a fairly tight Western Conference affair in Major League Soccer (MLS Live/TSN, 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT).
Vancouver (6-9-4) and coach Carl Robinson will begin the day with 27 points and will be intent on getting good results at home from this point forward with only the five top teams in each conference securing a playoff berth.
FC Dallas (8-5-7) and coach Óscar Pareja enter this match with 29 points, but a Whitecaps win would leave the hosts with 30 points, and a pleasant leapfrog over the Toros in the MLS standings.
Betting the Total
FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz (66% saves) and Vancouver netminder David Ousted (64% saves) are pretty evenly matched in this game important. It is frightening enough for both sides as it may evolve into a match with few quality attempts on target in the end. This is something worth thinking about if you want to place your soccer pick on the total: betting under 2.75 total goals is offered at odds of -117 by Pinnacle sportsbook. Worth noting here is that the Caps actually do have 10 more shots on target (95 to 85) than the Toros although FC Dallas (20 games) has actually played one more game than Vancouver (19).
In its last game, the Whitecaps (29 GF-27 GA, +2 GD) earned a very lucky point in a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake in Sandy, Utah last Saturday on a controversial penalty kick call in a game the home team probably should have ended up winning 1-0. In its last game, FC Dallas (32 GF-29 GA, +3 GD) blanked the scuffling New England Revolution, 2-0 in Frisco, Texas as Colombian Andrés Escobar had a goal in the first half and rookie Tesho Akindele sealed the deal with a late second goal in the seventh straight setback for the Revs.
Vancouver has had much poorer form (1-3-2) in its last six games than have FC Dallas (3-2-1), but the Toros have been outscored 14-11 on the road and the Caps have outscored opponents 16-13 at BC Place, so, this is a very tough game in which to pick a winner, food for thought for Draw players (+261). Vancouver’s leading scorers are attacking midfielder Pedro Morales (6 goals), Erik Hurtado (4 goals) and Darren Mattocks (4 goals) while FC Dallas boasts an equally balanced scoring attack with striker Blas Pérez (5 goals), Fabian Castillo (5 goals), Michel (5 goals), the aforementioned Escobar—on loan from Dynamo Kyiv—and a number of others who can provide that valuable clutch goal for the Toros.
Making Sense of the Trends
This series has been all FC Dallas in its somewhat short history—the Whitecaps just joined the MLS in 2011—with the Toros going 6-1-1 vs. Vancouver (14-5 goals) and an unbeaten 4-0-1 against the Caps in the last five meetings (10-3 goals), including three clean sheets. But that was then and this is now and we’re not here just to regurgitate statistics and trends, but to try to make sense of it all in its current context, and, right now, FC Dallas is just not that much better than Vancouver.
And with the Whitecaps knowing they probably need the win more than the Toros, and FC Dallas being paranoid as hell about the possibility of suddenly falling out of a playoff spot—should Real Salt Lake (29 points) have beaten Montreal on Thursday, Colorado (27 points) beat Chivas USA on Friday and if the LA Galaxy (27 points) beat the conference-leading Seattle Sounders (38 points) on Saturday—this game could be a stalemate and taking the 'under' seems like the smarter way to go, despite the fact that the last two games in this series actually went 'over' and saw four goals being scored in each (FC Dallas 3-1, 2-2).
Prediction: Vancouver 1 FC Dallas 1
Free Soccer Pick: Under 2.75 -117
July 23, 2014