Editor’s Note: Ben Ferree is joining Massive Report on loan from Pro Soccer USA until the end of the MLS season, bringing his regular gambling column to our pages. Ferree makes his MR debut with his Best Bets for the first weekend of the MLS is Back Tournament. Enjoy!
Finally, MLS is actually back. The tournament kicks off on Wednesday with one fewer game than originally scheduled after the postponement of Nashville SC vs. the Chicago Fire, but things will get underway tonight with Orlando City against Inter Miami. With the return of sports comes something even greater - the return of gambling.
Caveat - betting will be a little harder during the pandemic. We don’t know which players will be with their team and who isn’t showing up, or how the long layoff has affected athletes. We will learn more as the tournament goes on, but the first week could be rough goings. That being said, here are the best bets for the first week of the tournament.
New to betting? Odds are expressed around the number 100, meaning $100 being wagered. For example, if a bet is listed as +200, it means betting $100 would win you $200. Conversely, a bet listed as -200 would mean you have to bet $200 to win $100.
Orlando City vs. Inter Miami under 2.5 goals scored, +105
Betting the under is never “fun.” Who wants to root for fewer goals? But the first two teams to take the field in over three months won’t be firing on all cylinders right away. Take the better than even odds here, as I predict this one finishes as a 1-1 draw.
Columbus Crew SC to win against FC Cincinnati, -112
The only thing to worry about in this game is that we don’t know the identity of the Crew player that tested positive for COVID-19, and there has to be at least a little concern that another player or two will test positive before the game on Saturday. That being said, spot me any one player on the Crew and I will still take the team to beat its I-71 rivals. The group only gets tougher for both teams from here, and both will be playing for a win, not a draw. That setup will favor the Black & Gold, and Columbus should come away with a win.
D.C. United to win against Toronto FC, +290
The one “longshot” bet of the column, but I don’t think it can be overlooked that the travel delays Toronto faced in getting to Orlando could affect the team. D.C. had a more “normal” schedule, or as normal as things can be in the current climate. United’s roster is entering underrated territory, and a surprise win against TFC could be the game everyone talks about after the first round of group games are over.
Best Bet Lock of the Week: Atlanta United vs. New York Red Bulls under 3.5 goals scored, -182
There’s no reason for the line in this game to be 3.5. In the first week that the English Premier League returned to play from the pandemic, no game combined for more than three goals. Am I to believe a game where the forwards will be Adam Jahn and Brian White will eclipse that mark? The payout is low, for good reason. This is your lock of the week. Take the under.
Profit if every bet is correct: $539.20
Profit to date: N/A
Picks Record: 0-0
Lock of the Week Record: 0-0