It has been a difficult first half of the 2021 season for Canada’s three MLS squads. Forced to play their home games south of the border due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, both Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps currently sit outside the MLS playoff picture, while CF Montreal tenuously cling to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That is reflected on the MLS Cup odds, where all three clubs continue to trail the favourites. However, with border restrictions easing, and Canada’s MLS clubs finally return home opportunity knocks for the Reds, Caps, and the former Impact.
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at the three Canadian-based MLS clubs that stack up against the odds and competition as the MLS season approaches the midway mark. Sports bettors looking to get in on MLS action for the first time can refer to our betting guides to learn all they need to know to get the best out of their soccer betting experience.
Toronto FC Already in Must-Win Mode
It has been all downhill for Toronto FC since opening the 2021 season among the favourites in MLS Cup futures betting. Forced once again to play their home matches at Exploria Stadium, on Orlando, the Reds stumbled out of the gate, posting just one win in their first 11 overall matches. Now stalled in 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings, Toronto FC has lost substantial ground at the sportsbooks, with a $20 bet at 888 Sport (101.00) on the club winning this year’s MLS Cup returning a hefty $2020.
Some BIG results in Week 15. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/prpPNrOOA5
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 26, 2021
Key absences severely complicated matters for the Reds in the opening weeks of the season, with the club’s three Designated Players all missing significant time for an array of reasons. The league’s reigning MVP, Alejandro Pozuelo, was sidelined by a leg injury suffered in pre-season action, and Yeferson Soteldo was away from the club while competing for Venezuela at the recent Copa America. Veteran Jozy Altidore has also been training away from the club due to an ongoing dispute with coach Chris Armas, and the team suffered a severe blow last week when talented forward Ayo Akinola suffered a knee injury that is likely to put him on the shelf for the remainder of the campaign.
Return to Health, Favourable Schedule Make Reds a Worthy Value Bet
Fortunately for the Reds, they have started to turn the corner with the recent return of Soteldo and Pozueldo. The effect on the team’s fortunes has been immediate, with Toronto ending their epic slide by picking up points in each of their past four outings. The club should also get a lift from their recent return to their home pitch at BMO Field, and Altidore’s strong play since rejoining the squad.
Soteldo and Pozuelo playing a different game out there. All that’s missing is the finish. What a difference it makes to play at home. No empty stadium. No away game. #TFCLive playing with more energy and freedom.
— Gareth Wheeler (@GarethWheeler) July 18, 2021
Considering the hole they have dug for themselves, is there enough time for the Reds to turn things around, and mount a run to the MLS Cup final for the fourth time in six years? As fans have learned from past editions of the Reds, anything is possible if they can make the playoffs. And that is reflected on the odds to win the MLS Eastern Conference at Spin Palace Sports (26.00), where Toronto sits respectably in the middle of the pack, and a $20 bet generates a $520 return.
— Michael Leach (@MLeach680News) March 24, 2021
Those odds are buoyed by the Reds’ favourable schedule in the second half. Toronto is set to play 11 of their final 19 regular-season contests on home turf. And while their next three dates come against playoff-bound opponents, including Nashville, New England, and New York City, things get considerably easier as the summer progresses, with five of their final eight home dates, and seven of their final eight overall contests coming against opponents currently wallowing in the bottom half of the standings. That, along with their steady history of playoff schedule, make TFC worthy of value bets both to win the East and the MLS Cup.
Whitecaps Fail to Win Over Oddsmakers
Things are not looking quite as positive for the Vancouver Whitecaps, who find themselves just one point out of the basement in the Western Conference standings. Like TFC, the Caps have shown signs of a turnaround in recent weeks, earning points in three straight contests.
The Vancouver Whitecaps’ long, difficult U.S. odyssey is coming to an end.
As they prepare to return to Canada, what’s next? Where is that No. 10? And what should happen with head coach Marc dos Santos, who’s out of contract at the end of the year? https://t.co/wOwc7iVRUH pic.twitter.com/X5JgFxMhG9
— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) July 24, 2021
But that has not been enough to generate momentum on the MLS Cup odds, where Vancouver continues to lag at Betway (151.00), where a $20 bet would return a whopping $3020. Unlike Toronto, the Whitecaps will face a massive challenge down the stretch, with the final month of their schedule dominated by dates with playoff-bound squads.
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CF Montreal at a Crossroads
CF Montreal find themselves at somewhat of a crossroads as the month of July comes to a close. Fueled by a steady six-match unbeaten streak that started in mid-May, Montreal currently find themselves clinging to the final playoff spot in the East. But while their modest success has contributed to a steady rise on the MLS Cup odds at Sports Interaction (24.26), where a $20 bet pays out $485.20, serious concerns remain.
Here’s a link to my latest story: CF Montréal continues to win despite some uneven performances | Montreal Gazette https://t.co/EdbTUHA4uV
— Herb Zurkowsky (@HerbZurkowsky1) July 20, 2021
CFM is coming off back-to-back road defeats to Eastern Conference contenders New York City and New England, and have seen all but one of their six wins this season come against opponents that currently trail them in the standings. And while Montreal is also enjoying a homecoming at Stade Saputo, it remains to be seen whether they can rise to the occasion during a massively challenging stretch run that features two meetings with Orlando City, and an all-important visit to Toronto.
Elsewhere on the MLS Cup odds, the Seattle Sounders continue to lead the way as heavy favourites at 10bet (5.50), where a successful $20 bet pays out just $110. Los Angeles FC are the consensus pick as second-favourites, just ahead of Orlando City SC and the New England Revolution.