Columbus, LAFC Emerge as Early Favorites on MLS Futures

Notice! Actual odds are subject to change and are correct as displayed only at the time of publishing: 10:31 AM 16.04.2021.

The Columbus Crew will be aiming to become the first club in a decade to record back-to-back MLS Cup victories in a decade when the 2021 season gets underway later this week. Despite last season’s success, the Crew find themselves looking up at Los Angeles FC, who have emerged as early MLS Cup favourites on the heels of the worst campaign in their brief history.

CanadianBettingSites takes a look at all the odds and trends, and some of the best bets on the MLS futures as the 2021 MLS season kicks off.

mls early favorites

MLS Eastern Conference Picks

The Columbus Crew aims to build on last season’s championship run, but is far from a lock to finish atop the MLS Eastern Conference standings for the first time since 2009. The Crew return to action with their MLS Cup lineup largely intact, with striker Gyasi Zardes once again expected to lead the attack. The 29-year-old led the Crew with 15 goals last season, bring his total goal count up to 48 over the past three seasons.

Lucas Zelarayan is also expected to play a key role. The Argentine midfielder impressed in his MLS debut last season, scoring eight times, and emerged as the star of the club’s 3-0 MLS Cup win over Seattle, potting a pair of goals to lead the Crew to their first title in a dozen years.

Experienced Reds Up to the Challenge

The Crew can expect to face a stiff challenge in the race for the top of the standings from Toronto FC. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to wreak havoc across Canada, TFC faces the daunting prospect of playing yet another season away from their comfortable home at BMO Field.

Perennial contenders who have reached the MLS Cup final in three of the past five years, the Reds have experience on their side and could offer enormous betting value on the MLS odds if they are able to return to their home north of the border at some point during the regular season.

Columbus Crew3.103.10
Toronto FC5.375.37
Philadelphia Union6.076.07
Orlando City6.076.07
New York City7.227.22
New England Revolution9.009.00
Atlanta United13.0013.00

Revs Poised to Take Next Step?

While the focus has been squarely placed on the defending champion Crew and the always dangerous Reds, it is tough to overlook the New England Revolution. While the Revolution battled inconsistency on their way to a disappointing eighth-place finish in the East last season, there is plenty of reason to expect them to take a leap forward this time around. The club’s fourth-ranked defence surrendered just 25 total goals through 23 matches and came within a single goal of a berth in the 2020 MLS Cup final.

The offence remained a concern for the Revs, who averaged just 1.13 goals per match last season. But the club scored when it counted down the stretch, scoring two or more goals in four of their final six outings, and should get a big lift if talented midfielder Carles Gil can stay healthy.

There is plenty of reason for sports bettors to be patient before diving into the MLS Eastern Conference betting market. However, for sports bettors looking for early action, the Revs offer excellent value. Pick the Revolution (12.00) to make their long-awaited breakthrough. A $20 bet on New England to finish atop the Eastern Conference at 10Bet returns a tidy $240 payout.

MLS Western Conference Picks

While there is no shortage of contenders to finish atop the Eastern Conference standings, it is shaping up to be a two-way race in the Western Conference, with Los Angeles FC edging out the Seattle Sounders as betting favourites.

Hobbled by injuries to the superstar duo of Carlo Vela and Diego Rossi, the Black and Gold endured yet another disappointing campaign in 2020. Unable to string together more than two consecutive wins in league action throughout the season, the club was forced to settle for a seventh-place finish in the conference. And with Rossi on the shelf, they quickly exited the postseason with an opening-round loss to the rival Sounders.

Los Angeles FC1.961.96
Seattle Sounders2.932.93
FC Dallas9.009.00
Portland Timbers10.0010.00
Colorado Rapids15.0015.00
Minnesota Starts15.0015.00
Sporting Kansas City17.0017.00

Vela, Rossi Power Vaunted LAFC Attack

With both Vela and Rossi in good health as opening day approaches, Los Angeles is well-positioned to improve on their league-leading 47 goals scored in 2020. Indeed, the duo opens the campaign sitting 1-2 on the odds to lead the MLS in goals this season. The question remains whether this club can overcome the defensive woes that directly contributed to last season’s middling results. LAFC allowed a worrisome 1.77 goals per game, and particularly struggled on the road down the stretch, allowing three goals in six of their final nine away contests.

If the Black and Gold falter, look for the Sounders to seize the opportunity. Seattle finished in a three-way tie with Portland and Kansas City for the most points in the West last season and returns to action sporting a formidable lineup that features the likes of Raúl Ruidíaz, Nicolás Lodeiro, Christian Roldan, and Jordan Morris.

Pick on experienced Sounders (3.50) to hand LFC another regular-season disappointment. A $20 bet on Seattle to win the West at Bodog will return $50.

MLS Cup Picks

Not surprisingly, the two conference favourites also lead the way on the MLS Cup odds, with LAFC holding the edge over the Columbus Crew. But there are two clubs worthy of serious consideration following breakthroughs in 2020.

Orlando City is coming off the best campaign of its six-year existence. In addition to marching to the final of the MLS is Back! In the tournament, the Lions closed out 2020 with a winning record for the first time and fifth overall in the MLS.

MLS Cup winners oddssportsinteractionbetway888sport
Los Angeles FC5.005.005.00
Columbus Crew6.006.006.00
Seattle Sounders6.006.006.00
Toronto FC6.006.006.00
Philadelphia Union9.009.009.00
New York City FC11.0011.0011.00
Orlando City13.0013.0013.00

Philly on the Rise

And while Supporters Shield winners have rarely gone on to lift the MLS Cup, it is tough to ignore the Philadelphia Union, who finished last season with the league’s best record. The Union has historically enjoyed little playoff success but could be ready for a breakthrough if they can overcome the offseason departures of playmaker Brendan Aaronson and defender Mark McKenzie.

Pick the Philadelphia Union (13.00) to find their groove as the season progresses, and raise the trophy for the first time. A $20 bet on the Union at Bodog will return $240.