- LAFC v Austin
- Saturday, April 08, 19:30 EST
- BMO Stadium
Two of the best teams in the Western Conference meet on Saturday but there are good reasons to pick Under 2.5 in the Total Goals market.
Who do Bettors Favor?
The best-rated online sportsbooks show that bettors are heavily favoring LAFC in this Western Conference clash. The reigning MLS Cup champion is as short as -185 in some places to beat Austin, while the visiting team is available at +460 and the draw is priced around +350.
|LAFC v Austin
LAFC Coping with Continental Commitments
Balancing a CONCACAF Champions League campaign at the start of the MLS season has proven to be the undoing of many previous MLS Cup winners, but so far at least, LAFC seems to be coping with the extra workload imposed by its continental commitments.
Steve Cherundolo’s team has won all three of its home games in MLS, and picked up solid points from two road games, against Colorado and Seattle, while a 3-0 win in the first leg of its Champions League tie with Alajuelense enabled the head coach to rotate his squad for the return fixture.
The challenges keep on coming, however. Saturday’s game will come just three days after a trip to Vancouver for the Champions League quarter-final first leg and that will place extra demands on the reigning champion as it aims to keep pace with St Louis and Seattle at the top of the West.
Austin Make Uncertain Start
Last season Austin performed admirably in the Western Conference, being the main challenger to LAFC throughout and winning two playoff games before bowing out of the postseason.
With further additions to the Austin squad in the offseason, fans were hopeful that Josh Wolff’s team would carry on where it had left off, but that hasn’t happened so far, as Austin has made an uncertain start to the MLS season.
Two wins, two losses, and a draw mean that Austin is in seventh place in the Western Conference, although with a game in hand on most of its rivals, due to its Champions League commitments. Unlike LAFC, however, those commitments for Austin came to an end in the Round of 16, when it was knocked out by Haitian team Violette FC.
While falling at the first hurdle is disappointing for the franchise, in the short term, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as Austin’s relative lack of squad depth means that it is less prepared for a lengthy Champions League campaign than its main Western Conference rivals.
MTS MLS Betting Head-to-Head
Austin is in its third MLS season, so the head-to-head record between these teams is not as extensive as some rivalries in the West, although the two have recorded six meetings in those two seasons.
In the 2021 season, Austin and LAFC met three times, and the Los Angeles team dominated, winning all three games by an aggregate score of 6-1.
The 2022 campaign, however, saw Austin strike back. The men in black and green won both of their regular season games against LAFC, claiming an impressive 2-1 win in Los Angeles in May, before winning the return fixture 4-1 in August. But it was LAFC that had the last laugh, beating Austin 3-0 in the Western Conference final on its way to the MLS Cup.
MTS MLS Betting Team News
LAFC is missing goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau is still out with the fractured tibia he sustained in November, while there are doubts over two of the team’s midfielders. Mateusz Bogusz and Daniel Cristostomo. Four more LAFC players were also on international duty: Denis Bouanga, Jose Cifuentes, Denil Maldonado and Diego Palacios, so will have to be assessed on their return, while Steve Cherundolo may also opt to rotate the squad after Wednesday’s trip to Vancouver.
The team news for Austin centers on a trio of defensive potential absentees. Julio Cascante has a calf problem, while Aleksandr Radovanovic is also expected to be out. Fellow defender Leo Vaisanen has been on international duty with Finland and it is not clear if he will be ready to play, and the same applies to midfielder Owen Wolff, who has been with the USA Under-20 squad.
MTS MLS Match Betting Pick
LAFC is the strong favorite for this game, and based on what we’ve seen so far, that is not surprising. Undefeated in MLS, Cherundolo’s team is coping well with the dual demand of Champions League and MLS football, while Austin has been struggling for consistency.
The complicating factor here is the uncertainty over player availability with injuries, international duty and squad rotation all playing a part. Any additional uncertainty should always make you think twice about picking a team at short odds, so given that this may be a scrappy game, I’m swerving the Match Betting market and going for Under 2.5 goals.