Nashville look underrated in their First Round playoff game against LA Galaxy and they look a good bet to reach the Western Conference semi-finals.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks LA Galaxy are the clear favorites with bettors ahead of their Eastern Conference First-Round playoff clash with Nashville. Galaxy are priced at around -110 to win the game, with the visitors available at +290 and the draw around +270.
|LA Galaxy v Nashville|
Betting on the MLS Playoffs First Round
LAFC claimed the Supporters Shield so get a bye straight to the Conference semi-finals. The following six teams in the Western Conference standings at the conclusion to the regular season will meet in three playoff fixtures, staged between October 15 and October 17.
The winner of the first playoff game between LA Galaxy and Nashville will be playing LAFC in the Conference semi-finals, and that potentially could be a fascinating all-Los Angeles clash. The winners of the other two First Round ties will compete in the second semi-final, and from there the playoffs move to the Conference Finals and the MLS Cup itself. Regular season league position determines home advantage in all rounds except for the MLS Cup, where regular season points total is the determinant.
LA Galaxy v Nashville, 2022-10-15
LA Galaxy came through a tough spell in the summer when they lost six from eight and rounded off the regular season with three wins from four to secure their playoff spot.
This is far from the most talented Galaxy roster that we’ve seen in the playoffs but they have some strengths, most notably Chicharito, who has found the net 18 times this season. Galaxy fans would also like to see more goal contributions from the rest of the team but Spanish midfielder Riqui Puig who arrived in August, has taken some of the pressure off the star striker.
Their main problem has been a tendency to make unforced errors, and that could cost them dearly against one of the most difficult teams to play against in MLS. Regular season top scorer Hany Mukhtar is a game-winner and he is backed up by a roster that is packed with experience. They notably beat LAFC in their final game of the season and I think they can knock another LA team out of the playoffs.
Austin v Real Salt Lake, 2022-10-16
After last season’s struggles, the turnaround at Austin has been remarkable. They finished second in the West and scored just one goal less than Supporters Shield winners LAFC. Much of that improvement has been down to Sebastian Driussi, who is one of the very best players in MLS, but the roster also features several experienced MLS stars including Maxi Urruti, Ethan Finlay, Alexander Ring and Diego Fagundez.
They showed some signs of running out of steam as the regular season came to a close but that may have more to do with their focus shifting to the playoffs a few weeks out than any loss of form.
After last season’s playoff drama, the Austin players will be wary of underestimating their opponents in this contest. Real Salt Lake defied the odds to go all the way to the Western Conference Final, and once again they go into the postseason with an apparently underwhelming squad. Yet although the playoffs can be unpredictable, it is asking a lot for RSL to repeat their performances of 2021. Austin are the stronger team with goal threats all over the pitch and they should win this one.
FC Dallas v Minnesota, 2022-10-17
FC Dallas rely heavily on Jesus Ferreira and Paul Arriola, who both reached double-figure goal tallies during the regular season, although there wasn’t much production from the rest of the roster, which meant they finished as the lowest scorers among the top five Western Conference teams.
They are strong defensively, however, conceding only 37 goals in 34 games, giving them the best defensive record in the West. That defensive toughness will be their main hope of advancing and it should be enough to see them past their First Round opponents.
Minnesota have two things going for them: a high-class number 10 who is a proven playoff performer and a reliable goalkeeper. Dayne St Clair is a safe pair of hands in the Minnesota goal, while Emanuel Reynoso’s seven assists in three playoff games in 2020 indicated that he thrives in the postseason.
The Loons had a poor finish to the regular season, however, with a winless run to close out the season, including a 3-0 loss to Dallas, who finished their regular season schedule in good form. This will be a tight, cagey game, but I’m backing Dallas to edge it.