The 2023 MLS Season
The 2023 Major League Soccer season is here! The new campaign kicked off on February 25th, and soccer fans everywhere are all hyped to see if Los Angeles FC can hold onto the MLS Cup once again.
This season’s going to be even more intense with the addition of St. Louis City SC to the Western Conference, bringing the total number of teams in the MLS to 29. The West now has 14 clubs, while the East has 15, with Nashville SC moving back to the Eastern Conference.
As for the teams to watch out for, LAFC is the top contender to defend their title–and all major bookies have them as the number one pick. However, the Philadelphia Union, last year’s finalists, are also strong contenders, with odds of +600 to win the cup. Could these two teams face off again in 2023 for another epic MLS final?
When it comes to the 2023 MLS MVP award, Philadelphia Union’s Daniel Gazdag might be the one to keep an eye on. He was a runner-up last year after scoring an impressive 24 goals and 6 assists, and now he’s the heavy favorite to take home the honors this year. And speaking of goals, Columbus Crew’s Cucho Hernandez is the most popular pick for the Golden Boot, after scoring 9 goals in just 16 games since joining the Crew in June 2022.
How to Bet on MLS Moneyline
In mainstream sports like the NBA and NFL, one team will lose, and one team will win. Meaning you have a 50% chance of predicting the outcome correctly.
In MLS, there can be winners and losers, but an additional outcome of a draw decreases your chances of success to 33.3%. Be aware that before you even start to bet, your chances of succeeding have been reduced by 17%.
Take a look at what moneyline odds for an MLS game might look like:
|Seattle Sounders FC||-125|
From the example above, you can see three possible outcomes; either Seattle wins, Portland wins, or the game ends in a tie. To win $100 on Seattle you would have to bet $125, whereas placing a $100 bet on Portland nets $210, and the draw nets $250.
Best Time to Bet on MLS
MLS odds are usually released one week prior to the games. Much like the NFL, this gives you time to research any potential injuries and to hear how practices leading up to the game are going. That being said, there are two optimal times to place an MLS bet.
If you plan on betting on the favorite, it’s best to place your wager as soon as the lines open. The thinking behind this is that the betting public generally supports favorites, so the moneyline will shift accordingly. For instance, using the table above, if everyone were to bet on the Seattle Sounders then -125 will become -135. Getting this bet placed for -125 has just saved you $10 and you’ve also reduced the juice.
On the flip side, if you were interested in backing Portland for this game, +210 could become +220. Maybe it stays at +210, but there isn’t a rush to hurry to the betting window for an underdog.
The second ideal time to bet on MLS is one hour before kickoff as that is when clubs post the starting lineups and formations. This will allow you to see which players are involved in the game.
How to Read MLS Odds: Explained
If you seek more than moneyline betting then the MLS has you covered. MLS offers a wide variety of betting from over/under goals scored, ATS (against the spread), totals, parlays, props, and in-game live-betting. Let’s break each one down to avoid any confusion.
Future Bets on MLS
The MLS season is structured like other North American sports as opposed to MLS being structured like European soccer leagues. In all soccer leagues, you can bet on the season’s champion. For leagues in Europe, for example, the Premier League, you would be predicting the club with the most points after 38 games.
In the MLS, after the 34 regular-season games are played, 18 clubs compete in a playoff where the winner is declared the champion. The MLS Cup Winner is how this is classified and advertised in sportsbooks.
That is a huge difference as playoff soccer is different than regular-season soccer in terms of intensity and also the “unknowns”(no different than the NFL). The MLS Cup winner is usually decided in early November. As with all future bets that is a long time to tie up your capital.
Additionally, some sportsbooks might offer a future bet on the winner of the Golden Boot (most goals scored by a player) or MLS MVP, so be aware of those as well.
How Are Bets Scored in MLS
MLS bets are scored on the result after regulation (full) time, 90 minutes plus injury time, is complete. Sportsbooks will have “FULL TIME” advertised most commonly.
Say a Seattle vs Portland game goes to extra time and then Seattle wins. If you had bet on Seattle to win, you do not win your bet. After 90 minutes, aka FULL TIME, the game was tied so the DRAW bet would win.
A bettor must be aware that they are only betting on 90 minutes. If a match is suspended then usually that bet is canceled, but always read the sportsbook’s rules prior to placing a bet.
Differences Between MLS and European Leagues
A big difference between Major League Soccer and European soccer leagues is the travel requirements. The longest distance traveled in the MLS is from Vancouver to Orlando at 2,624 miles. In the Premier League, Newcastle to Bournemouth is the longest at a significantly shorter 353 miles. The less time big, tall, and strong athletes have to sit scrunched up on a plane the better. The recovery time between jet lag and the physical discomfort from a plane can easily take a toll.
League survival is the second major difference. While clubs at the top of the standings in each respective league are all fighting for something, it’s the bottom of the standings that is dramatically different. The worst clubs at the end of an MLS season don’t have to worry about their league status for the following season.
In Europe, clubs that finish in the bottom few positions get dropped to a lower-level league. Good MLS clubs might be able to pick up easier wins playing against the worst in the league.
Though the quality of players is a recognized difference between MLS and Euro leagues, it’s one disparity that can be dismissed. Each and every position in MLS is considered weaker than European leagues, or at least the European leagues you’re already betting on.
MLS Betting Tips and Strategy
To be a successful bettor you need a betting strategy. Formulating a system and sticking to it is vital for long-term success. MLS requires the same research, attention, and detail as other sports in finding daily value. While there are several factors to consider, there are a few that are baseline requirements. Below we’ve listed a range of MLS bet tips to help our readers to maximize their opportunities to profit in the market.
MLS Live Betting
Live betting and the MLS go great together. While some sports are fast-paced and willow for an extremely exciting live betting experience, soccer allows for a contemplative, fun, and educational experience.
With the relatively slow pace of a soccer game, you will have plenty of time to reevaluate the changing odds. You can use this opportunity not only to make the MLS best bets today but also to begin to understand how soccer odds work in general.
One of the biggest risks of live betting is getting caught up in the moment and making a rushed decision. Soccer is a safer place to try live betting. Plus there are lots of great bet types you can make during live MLS soccer betting:
- Outright winner
It’s Time to Win
Now you can say you’re ready for the upcoming MLS season. With a better understanding and insight on placing wagers not only can the season be enjoyable, but also potentially profitable! Be sure to check out our other guides that will further help your betting journey. As for now, sit back and enjoy what will be another great MLS season.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to common questions bettors like you have when researching which sportsbook to join.
Yes, it is legal to bet on MLS online in every US state.
You can bet on MLS at any of the vetted sports betting sites we recommend on this page.
The best MLS bet today is the one that’s the most fun for you. Keep fun and entertainment your number one priority when gambling on soccer.
MLS odds are represented using the same systems as other sports. The most common in the US is known as the American system.
A safe MLS bet will be anything valued at -150 or less. There is no 100% guarantee, of course.
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