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
Saturday evening in Columbus, Ohio, the Seattle Sounders will attempt to become the first club to win back-to-back MLS Cup championships since the 2012 LA Galaxy. That accomplishment, however, is only possible by overcoming the daunting task of defeating the Columbus Crew at home, something that only happened once in the Major League Soccer regular season.
Neither the Sounders nor the Crew have had to leave either club’s home pitch for the entirety of the 2020 MLS Cup playoffs to this point. While you could hardly refer to Seattle as underdogs in any postseason competition, being faced with the difficult task of overcoming the Black & Gold at MAPFRE Stadium has oddsmakers leaning ever so slightly in favor of Columbus.
The Crew made it clear this year the team wanted to turn MAPFRE Stadium into a fortress. The Black & Gold pride themselves on defending the club’s home pitch, and boast an impressive 12-0-1 home record in 2020, the best in MLS. Meanwhile, Seattle’s road results have been a fairly mixed bag, ending the regular season 3-3-3 while competing away from Lumen Field.
Columbus Crew: L-W-W-W-W
Seattle Sounders: D-W-W-W-W
MLS regular season record:
Columbus Crew SC: 12-5-6 (PPG 1.78)
Seattle Sounders FC: 11-6-5 (PPG 1.77)
As a result of some tweaks to the postseason structure stemming from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the regular season, the MLS Cup Final is hosted this year by the club with the highest points per game. Columbus and Seattle ended the season splitting hairs, finishing nearly neck-and-neck, with the Black & Gold edging out the Sounders by 0.01 point to earn the honors of hosting the MLS Cup Final.
This one-hundredth of a point could make all the difference come Saturday. With both clubs so evenly matched throughout the regular season, it is virtually impossible to label either a clear favorite to leave MAPFRE Stadium as champion. However, as a result of Columbus playing host to Seattle, the oddsmakers have labeled the defending champions as the underdogs, albeit slightly.
In the closest margins for a Crew match all season, the Black & Gold are favored to win the MLS Cup +156 to Seattle’s +172.
With no clear stand-out favorite heading into Saturday’s match, all eyes turn to Columbus. The 2020 MLS Cup Final will be the last ever post-season competition to take place in America’s first-ever soccer-specific stadium. And as a result, Saturday will be the final opportunity the Crew will ever have to hoist the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy on the hallowed grounds of the old Crew Stadium.