MLS betting offers fans a crack at premier American soccer league action with plenty of quality encounters to bet on, included Seattle Sounders vs. Austin FC, which is the sole focus of this column.
Seattle Sounders vs. Austin FC
Thursday, July 22, 2021 – 9:30 PM ET at Q2 Stadium
The Seattle Sounders (8-5-1) are riding high in the Western Conference standings, sat pretty in first place with 29 points. However, the Sounders don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room as Sporting KC (8-3-3-) are nipping at their heels just two points shy in the table. It goes without saying, the premium on the win for Seattle is great going into today’s game in Austin and they’ll be mindful of putting some distance between themselves and Kansas City when all is said and done.
Curiously, however, the market is stacked up against Seattle as they enter as the road underdogs despite their top standing. Instead, top sportsbooks appear to favor Austin for the home win, even though they’re a middling side by the stats and are ranked tenth overall in the Western Conference table behind a 3-4-6 mark and 13 points.
Does the market have it right?
Sounders the Value Bet?
The Seattle Sounders suffered their first setback this season behind a 1-0 loss at Minnesota United on Sunday. It was their first defeat of the season, ending a 13-game unbeaten streak, and it was their first regular season loss since November 1, 2020 too. That they dropped crucial points at a key moment in the race for top spot against their nearest rivals in the standings Sporting Kansas City is just another setback to bear.
The Sounders very nearly walked away with a point against Minnesota United at the very least. Up to the 81st minute, the game was poised delicately on a scoreless stalemate and the end along with a point for a draw was in sight. But Robin Lod had other ideas as he got on the end of a cross and tucked what ultimately proved to be the game winner into the net to give Minnesota the 1-0 lead in the final minutes of the game. There was little time left on the clock after that and, alas, Seattle wouldn’t be able to rescue the point in the end.
On the whole, the Sounders had several opportunities, especially in the second half when it looked like they’d scored in the 75th minute off a Joao Paulo free kick that was headed home by Xavier Arreaga. The goal was waved off though because the Ecuadorian center back was judged to be a half-step offside on the delivery.
The Sounders’ unbeaten run was bound to end at some point this season. Granted they’ll be disappointed that they weren’t able to extend their positive run of form to 14 straight games, but in the streak’s demise they might find relief. Mainting winning runs of form or unbeaten streaks create mounting pressure that becomes heavier to bear with every additional success. Now that the dam broke, the Sounders may feel lighter and play freely again.
Missing for this game will be Cristian Roldan, who is playing for the USMNT, and Alex Roldan, who is playing for El Salvador in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Austin Faux Faves?
Can Austin really be considered the best bet in this game? Hmmmm… The soccer odds certainly tip this game in Austin’s corner, but they’re likely to be up against it with a Seattle side that’s keen to get back into the win column.
Austin are coming off a 2-0 loss to Los Angeles FC in their last lap around MLS, which marked their second defeat in the last five games and it also marked the fourth game in which Austin were held scoreless. Austin are 1-2-2 in their last five matches with the only victory coming against Portland – a 4-1 win on July 1st.
As things currently stand, Austin are outside of the playoff frame and a loss would push them back further out of contention as only two points separate them from bottom-of-the-table Dallas. That could be considered motivation for Austin to get a result in this game. However, with Austin banged up and missing key players, motivation might not be enough at all. Austin will be without Aaron Schoenfeld and Ulises Segura with left knee injuries while Nick Lima has a left hamstring problem. As well, Ben Sweat injured his ACL, Danny Hoesen hurt his left hip and Jon Gallagher has a left mid-foot sprain.
Soccer Betting Verdict
How the Seattle Sounders are even tipped in plus money is remarkable in of itself but the fact that they’re priced at above +200 beggars belief. Granted there are injury concerns and absences to take stock of, but the Sounders are still fundamentally the better team in this matchup.
Austin, by contrast, are clearly the inferior team, evinced by their lowly ranking and subpar record on the season. Moreover, they’re banged up and missing key players ahead of this critical game on Thursday, adding to the weight of expectation.
All told, it does seem overly generous by bookies to tip Austin as the home faves at the expense of Seattle. As such, betting on the Sounders on the moneyline is the recommended bet for soccer picks here.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.