Minnesota take on Portland in the MLS Western Conference on Saturday and MLS fans can count on goals in this clash of the playoff contenders.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best-rated online sportsbooks we can see that bettors and bookies alike don’t give Portland much of a chance here. Minnesota are regarded as the -125 favorites with most sportsbooks, while Portland are as high as +320, with the draw priced at around +290.
|Minnesota v Portland|
Minnesota a Rising Force in MLS
After three consecutive seasons of finishing in the top five in the Western Conference, Minnesota’s improvement is continuing in 2022 as they go into this game in third place in the West and their status as a rising force in MLS has been strengthened.
Their progress this season has not been smooth. After a steady start, which included a win over the New York Red Bulls and a draw with Philadelphia, they lost eight out of twelve between April and the end of June. But an inspiring 3-2 win against LA Galaxy on June 29 sparked a run of form that has seen them go unbeaten in six, including five wins.
The task now for Adrian Heath’s side is to keep that momentum going into the fall. If they can stay in contention in and around the top four until September, their last three fixtures – against teams in the current bottom five – give them a great chance of securing a strong playoff position.
Portland Improving in MLS West
For a team that is accustomed to being in the upper echelons of the Western Conference, this has been a tough season so far for Portland, but they have been improving in recent weeks.
After taking 15 points from their first 15 games of the MLS regular season, they have found their form this summer, putting together a six-game unbeaten run that has seen them climb the table to eighth, and they are well positioned to make a late-season push for the playoffs.
They will need to maintain that momentum, however, as the schedule has not been kind to the Timbers. The last six games of the regular season will see them take on five teams currently in the top six of their respective Conferences, so there is little margin for error if they want to secure their postseason berth.
MLS Betting Team News
Minnesota has been struggling with injury absences in recent weeks and the team news has not improved ahead of this game. Hassani Dotson is a long-term absentee due to a cruciate ligament rupture and Jacori Hayes is recovering from his broken leg. Wil Trapp is also out with a leg injury, along with Romain Metanire (hamstring), Kervin Arriaga (ankle) and Patrick Weah (knee).
Minnesota’s injury woes are in stark contrast to Portland’s situation. Head coach Giovanni Savarese has almost a full squad to choose from for this game, though he will still be without Diego Gutierrez who is recovering following his foot surgery.
MLS Match Betting Pick
With both teams on the up, this promises to be a fascinating game, and we can expect this encounter to be an entertaining one with plenty of goalmouth action.
Minnesota’s home record is solid, if unspectacular, but it is notable that Portland struggle to assert themselves on the road. Their only successes away from home so far this season have been a narrow victory against Vancouver and a win in the Cascadia Cup game against Seattle, a contest for which they always seem able to raise their game.
The Timbers do have the quality of being hard to beat on the road, however. Of their eleven away games this season, they have drawn five, including games against the Red Bulls, LAFC and LA Galaxy. Clearly they can be stubborn opponents, so in what could be a rehearsal for a playoff matchup, the draw looks like the best match betting pick here.
Expect Goals in St Pauls
Although Minnesota have improved over the last few games, they have continued to leak goals and that could give us an angle for a bet in the Over/Under market.
The last six games featuring the Loons have produced 21 goals, which works out at 3.5 goals per game. They have failed to keep a clean sheet in five of those games, and against an improving Portland team, they will surely find it tough to stop their opponents scoring.
Portland’s games have not been quite so high scoring, but their last three fixtures have produced ten goals, and only three teams in the West have a poorer goals against record. I think we can expect goals in this game and Over looks a good option in the Total Goals market.