It wasn’t the best of weeks for this column last time out, but it did serve one positive purpose: confirming the home field advantage in games in the MLS. We certainly won’t be backing the away side in game Stateside in a hurry unless it’s with a healthy handicap advantage.
We are a week away from the start of the World Cup, and excitement is reaching fever pitch in all four corners of the globe. We too have been bitten by the bug, and this week’s football accumulator betting tips feature the tournament hosts, who are in action in the first game next Thursday.
|FC Dallas vs Montreal Impact||FC Dallas to Win||1/2|
|Chicago Fire vs New England Revolution||New England +1.00 Asian Handicap||3/10|
|Houston Dynamo vs Colorado Rapids||Houston to Win||2/5|
|San Jose Earthquakes vs Los Angeles FC||San Jose/Draw Double Chance||5/6|
|Russia vs Saudi Arabia||Saudi Arabia +2.00 Asian Handicap||4/11|
|Five-Fold Acca Odds||5.88/1|
FC Dallas vs Montreal Impact: FC Dallas to Win
We’ve written about the genuine home field advantage that persists in the MLS, with 53% of all matches ending in victory for the hosts.
So on any given day we can be confident in the home side, and especially when they are taking on a team with the worst defensive record in the league.
Dallas, unbeaten at home in eight (W4 D4 L0), sit second in the Western Conference and have won three on the spin. With Maxi Urruti and Roland Lamah blasting 12 goals between them this term and Mauro Diaz offering up five assists, this is a fine attacking unit who have plenty of ammunition at their disposal.
No team has conceded more times than Montreal Impact this term, and that includes a whopping 19 shipped in just eight away matches. Their form on the road – W1 D0 L7 – tells its own story.
Chicago Fire vs New England Revolution: New England +1.00 Asian Handicap
We are going to go against the grain here and back an away team in the MLS, but crucially with a one-goal handicap start.
Chicago are a pretty mediocre side that have one standout operator: Bastian Schweinsteiger, who flutters around in midfield spraying passes about like a kid at Christmas.
But the Fire don’t have a lot else at their disposal, with the mercurial Aleksandar Katai simply not consistent enough even though his best is very good indeed. Lately, they’ve been relying on the goals of 36-year-old Alan Gordon, but their problems are at the other end of the pitch: they have shipped eleven goals in their last five outings.
New England don’t need asking twice: their front three of Teal Bunbury, Diego Fagundez and Cristian Penilla has scored 17 times between them already this term with nine collective assists, and frankly that’s good enough for us given how poor Chicago typically are at the back.
Houston Dynamo vs Colorado Rapids: Houston to Win
Houston really are a joy to behold when in full flight, and their front four of Alberth Elis, Tomas Martinez, Romell Quioto and Mauro Manotas is the equal of anything in the MLS when on song.
They’ve lost their last two but both of those were on the road, and on home soil their return of 16 goals in six games is rather explanatory of their charms!
It’s seven defeats on the spin now for Colorado, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight for Anthony Hudson’s team.
Worst still, it’s the US Open Cup this week, and they face the unenviable task of travelling to Nashville on Wednesday, heading home and then returning to Texas just 72 hours later. That is some mileage in a short space of time, and proof there really is no rest for the wicked.
San Jose Earthquakes vs Los Angeles FC: San Jose/Draw Double Chance
Ordinarily we wouldn’t touch San Jose with a bargepole here, but that attitude changes with the knowledge that LA will be without Carlos Vela and Marco Urena, who have linked up with Mexico and Costa Rica in time for the World Cup.
That is clearly of relevance when we note that Vela is their top goalscorer, and the absence of this pair deprives of LA of a duo with seven goals and six assists between them this term.
And then there is the uncertainty over defensive lynchpin, Laurent Ciman, who is on standby for the Belgium squad and whom by the time this game kicks off could be on his way to Russia give Vincent Kompany’s injury.
San Jose are no Brazil, but with LA winning just one of their last six the hosts will surely fancy the job.
Russia vs Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia +2.00 Asian Handicap
Russia have won only one competitive football match since 2015; that is an extraordinary statistic for this year’s World Cup hosts.
They came away from Euro 2016 without a victory, you may recall, and didn’t need to take part in World Cup qualifiers as they automatically booked their spot when being announced as hosts.
They then proceeded to win just one of their three outings at last year’s Confederations Cup; another tournament they hosted. Sometimes, having home advantage is nothing of the sort when your passionate supporters are, erm, a ‘vocal’ bunch.
So Saudi Arabia should have nothing to fear here, and neither should punters with this in essence three-goal headstart (if they lose by one our bet wins, if we they lose by two our stake is returned).
The Saudis qualified ahead of Australia, remember, and their in-depth preparations – they will have played five friendlies on European soil since the start of May by the time the tournament starts – will surely serve them well.
Russia, under pressure to start well, will be without key striker Aleksander Kokorin.