Philadelphia Union came agonisingly close to MLS Cup glory last season but you can bet on them to get the job done in 2023.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks it is defending champions LAFC that are favorites with MLS bettors. LAFC is rated as the +450 favorite, ahead of last season’s runner-up Philadelphia. There is quite a gap in the betting market back to the 2021 MLS Cup winner NYCFC on +1200, while LA Galaxy, Austin, NY Red Bulls and Nashville are all in the chasing pack.
|MLS Cup Winner|
|NY Red Bulls||+1500||+1350||+1200|
MLS 2023 Betting Briefing
It’s expansion time once again in MLS and that means 29 teams starting the MLS 2023 season compared to last year’s 28 team line-up. St Louis FC are the new franchise in the league, and it will start as the Western Conference’s easternmost team, with Nashville moving back to the Eastern Conference.
The regular season kicks off on February 25 and concludes on October 21, with the playoffs coming after that, and there will be seven teams from each Conference in the playoffs, with the top team in each Conference getting a bye through the first round. The regular season will also be paused between July 21 and August 19 for the Leagues Cup between MLS and Liga MX teams.
MLS Eastern Conference Betting
Philadelphia could hardly have got any closer to winning the MLS Cup last season, after missing out in controversial circumstances in the 2021 Eastern Conference Final. Does that mean there will be a drop off in performance this time round? I don’t think so. Jim Curtin’s team was strong throughout the regular season in 2022 and has largely kept the roster together, giving it a great chance of going one better.
Of the New York teams, the Red Bulls look in better shape then NYCFC. The 2021 champion franchise has lost a number of key players including Heber and Santi Rodriguez, while it still hasn’t fully recovered from losing Maxi Morales at a key stage of last season.
The Red Bulls lost Aaron Long but the new additions look useful, including forwards Cory Burke from Philadelphia and $5.5 million signing Dante Vanzeir from Belgium, and the franchise will be keen to do better than last season’s first round playoff exit. This is not a team that can win a Conference or an MLS Cup, but it can outperform its city rivals.
If you’re looking for a bigger priced outsider in the East, Nashville could fit the bill. Gary Smith’s hard working team, spearheaded by the prolific Hany Mukhtar, finished fifth in the West last season and will not be fazed by the move back to the East.
MLS Western Conference Betting
LAFC is the defending MLS Cup champion and a strong one, too. It became the first MLS franchise to win the Supporters Shield and the MLS Cup in the same season since Toronto in 2017, and this off season has added highly regarded defender Aaron Long and Croatian winger Stipe Biuk. The Black and Gold has however lost a number of players, including Gareth Bale, scorer of a crucial goal in last year’s Cup Final.
So that means LAFC are a good bet for the Cup again right? Actually, no. Steve Cherundolo’s team will have the difficult task of competing in the Champions League and that has proven to be a tough task for previous MLS Cup winners. LAFC will surely be in the playoffs, but its early season continental commitments could leave it plenty of ground to make up to win the West and those MLS Cup odds look very short considering back-to-back Cup wins has only happened three times in MLS history.
If you’re looking for a good candidate in the Western Conference, Austin could fit the bill. Josh Wolff’s team plays a brand of football that can be devastating and the additions of Gyasi Zardes, Adam Lundqvist and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez makes this team even stronger.
Will LA Galaxy raise its game in response to the success of LAFC? It is possible. The franchise got rid of Kevin Cabral and will have a full season of Riqui Puig to enjoy. But the suspicion is that the Galaxy will need more to compete with its LA rivals. Seattle could be a better bet. The Sounders missed out on the playoffs last season but won the Champions League and that will give Brian Schmetzer’s side plenty of confidence to replicate that form domestically.
Best Online Sportsbooks to Bet on MLS
Check out the best soccer betting sites below. You can enjoy the best MLS betting odds when when you wager on the EPL with these recommended betting partners.
50% up to $1,000
100% up to $1,000
125% Sports Bonus - up to $2,500