Just one Canadian team remains standing as the countdown to the start of the MLS Cup playoffs continues. After going undefeated in their final six matches, the Vancouver Whitecaps closed out their regular season schedule in sixth place in the MLS Western Conference standings and will be making their first appearance in the MLS Cup playoffs since 2017. While the Whitecaps have managed to produce steady results since mid-August, they look to the postseason lagging well behind the pack as a lengthy 35.00 wager on the MLS soccer betting odds at Bet99.
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|2021 MLS Cup Championship Odds|
|New England Revolution||3.89||4.30||3.90||4.40|
|Sporting Kansas City||11.00||11.00||11.00||11.00|
|New York City FC||12.00||13.00||12.00||13.00|
|Orlando City SC||31.00||34.00||30.00||34.00|
|New York Red Bulls||42.00||41.00||45.00||41.00|
|Real Salt Lake||52.00||51.00||50.00||51.00|
Whitecaps Return to Playoffs on a Roll
It has been somewhat of a roller-coaster season for the Vancouver Whitecaps. After opening the campaign well off the pace on the early MLS 2021 futures picks, the club endured a shaky start, posting two wins over their first 17 contests. However, the club has staged a remarkable turnaround since, marching to an impressive 9-5-2 win-draw-loss record over their final 16 contests to claw their way into the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Now set to face Sporting Kansas City in their first playoff game in four years, the Caps still have plenty of work to do to silence the naysayers.
It’s very fitting that Ryan Gauld scored the goal that puts the Whitecaps into the playoffs on the last day of the season. Caps were in second-to-last place in the Western Conference when he arrived in July, Mini Messi 🏴 has been absolutely critical in the turnaround https://t.co/WCCO2Kve3D
— Sporting160 EN (@Sporting160_EN) November 8, 2021
Despite their recent surge, the Whitecaps have been far from a dominant offensive force. The club was limited to just a single goal in three of their final four regular-season outings, and have scored the third-fewest goals of any of this season’s playoff-bound club. However, striker Brian White has emerged as a pleasant surprise on the Whitecaps attack this season, potting a club-leading 12 goals, with seven of those markers coming since September 25.
The challenge for Vancouver now is to get past Sporting KC, who bring a wealth of postseason experience into their play-in-round matchup with the Whitecaps on November 20th at Children’s Mercy Park. Sporting have also dominated the Whitecaps in recent meetings, claiming the win in six of eight clashes including a 3-1-0 record in their past four home dates. And even if the Whitecaps can pull off the upset in their upcoming clash in Kansas City, they face a daunting task to get past the quarter-finals for the first time since 2014.
Revolution Emerging as an Elite Force
The New England Revolution have emerged as the team to beat entering the 2021 MLS Cup playoffs. After finishing no better than seventh in the Western Conference in each of the past five years, the Revolution have soared this season, racking up a league-best and franchise-record 22-7-5 record. Not surprisingly, the Revolution also lead the way on the championship odds at Bet99 entering the MLS playoffs, perched as short 3.90 favourites.
How Bruce Arena took the New England Revolution from “s*** show” to the Supporters’ Shieldhttps://t.co/1jmYFwAEyI
— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) November 5, 2021
New England powered their rise in the standings on a potent offence that led the league with 65 total goals this season. Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou have led the attack, combining to score 31 total goals. However, concerns about Buksa’s health have emerged since the 25-year-old suffered a foot injury that is likely to keep him out of Poland’s upcoming World Cup qualification matches and could hobble him as the MLS playoffs progress.
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Five Stripes Have Lots to Prove
That opens the door to a number of championship contenders. Tops in the Western Conference standings this season, the Colorado Rapids sit second to the Revolution on the MLS Cup odds as a 5.20 bet. The reigning Western Conference champion Seattle Sounders follow at 7.60, followed by the Philadelphia Union at 10.00. However, it is tough to overlook Atlanta United, who ride a wave of momentum into the postseason as an attractive 28.00 bet.
Josef Martinez on 1.25 legs and starting 14 games fewer than the winner, finished just 7 goals shy of the MLS Golden Boot.
— Rob Usry (@RobUsry) November 8, 2021
Losers in just three of their final 17 contests, the Five Stripes reach the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the MLS. One of the big reasons for Atlanta’s turnaround has been the return of striker Josef Martinez. The former MLS top goalscorer has been plagued by injuries that have limited him to just 24 appearances but still managed to close out the season with a club-leading 12 goals including six markers over his past nine appearances. In addition to drawing a favourable matchup with New York City FC in the play-in round, the Five Stripes have plenty to prove after missing last season’s playoffs and are worthy of a solid value bet to claim their second MLS Cup title in four years.
The Pick: Atlanta United to win MLS Cup (28.00) at Bet99