Editor’s Note: American betting odds are based on $100 bets. Favorites are expressed by a lower number, heavily favorited teams will often be expressed with (-). So, for example, if the betting odds for a club are -150, you would need to bet $150 to make $100. Whereas, if the odds are +150, a $100 bet would payout $150
As the end of the Major League Soccer regular season approaches, the Columbus Crew must shift focus towards the MLS Cup playoffs. Clutching the highest seed possible is critical for the Crew, as it would be kind to say the club has struggled on the road this season, not having won a true road match in over a year, since Sept. 19, 2019.
While home-field advantage in the playoffs is important for Columbus, the MLS Cup is not the only hardware the Crew is still in contention for. The Philadelphia Union’s 5-0 thrashing of Toronto FC leaves the Black & Gold only six points behind in the Supporters’ Shield standings with a match in hand, and four matches still to be played in the regular season. One of those matches is against one of the two clubs ahead of the Crew in the standings, the aforementioned Union.
Thus, with impact on potentially two trophies the Black & Gold are vying for, attention turns to Wednesday’s match in the nation’s capital where the Columbus Crew will do battle with fellow MLS originals, D.C. United.
Columbus Crew: D-L-L-W-D
D.C. United: L-L-D-W-W
While Columbus has improved in form slightly, with a win and draw in the last two games, snapping a four-match winless streak, United enters Wednesday’s competition with the best form of the season, capturing five points in the club’s last three matchups.
In one of the closest margins in recent matchups, the struggling Crew is still favored to defeat D.C., with the Black & Gold given +110 odds over United’s +231. The likelihood of a draw only slightly behind a D.C. win at +243.
With the Men in Red sitting in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, only above FC Cincinnati, and the Crew in third, one could assume the Black & Gold would enter the contest massive favorites. However, Columbus has been handed tough losses in recent weeks by the Montreal Impact and FC Cincinnati, as well as draws with clubs with much less impressive records in FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo, all matches where Columbus was far-and-away favorited to win. This combined with the Crew’s inability to capture wins on the road has seen oddsmakers begin to skew away heavily favoring the same Black & Gold team that sat atop the league for the vast majority of the regular season.
With the toughest back-to-back matches still to come in Philadelphia and against Orlando City on the road, it becomes a necessity for Columbus to pull out results over clubs hovering at the bottom of the standings and position itself as favorably as possible in preparation for the Crew’s return to the postseason.