- New York Red Bulls vs Charlotte FC, MLS Wild Card
- October 25, 2023
- 7:30 PM EST
- Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey
- MLS Season Pass
The ownership of tickets into the first round of the MLS playoffs will be decided on Wednesday in the MLS Wild Card round. The New York Red Bulls will host Charlotte FC in the Eastern Conference section of the bracket, with the winner facing the number-one-seeded Saint Louis FC. Decision Day was indeed paramount for both of these clubs, whose 1-0 victories earned them the opportunity to continue their season.
How will this critical battle play out in New Jersey, and what is the play to make from a betting perspective? Read on to access betting odds, club breakdowns, New York Red Bulls playoffs stats, and an expert prediction.
MLS Wild Card Prediction: Who do Sportsbook Favor?
The sportsbooks like New York Red Bull’s chances to take care of business at home, as they are currently odds-on favorites at (-130). Charlotte will play the role of underdog, with a price of (+374), good for an implied probability to win of 21.1%. A draw is listed at (+303) at highly-rated online sportsbook Betonline.
Keep in mind, this match represents the MLS Eastern Conference Wild Card round. That means that in the event both teams are level after 90 minutes plus any required stoppage time, the game will immediately enter a penalty kick shootout. No extra time will be played. For bettors, any bets on the moneyline are only valid for the regulation time. If you back a side and the club advances on penalty kicks, your bet will not cash out.
Charlotte FC and New York Red Bulls Playoffs Statistics
The New York Red Bulls have become synonymous with the MLS playoffs, as this year will mark their 14th consecutive appearance in the postseason. However, a playoff berth was almost entirely out of the picture after a horrendous start led by ex-boss Gerhard Struber. The club won just once in their first 11 matches, but were able to rally under new coach Troy Lesesne. This club’s experience playing into late fall could loom large in this matchup against a recent expansion side.
Contrary to NYRB, 2023 will mark the first time Charlotte has qualified for the MLS playoffs. The club joined the MLS in 2022 as an expansion franchise. Similar to their opponents, Charlotte recovered after a rocky start to their 2023 campaign. In their first 8 fixtures, the Crown were victorious on only one occasion. Now, Charlotte hopes to extend their unbeaten streak to five games with a win on Wednesday night in New Jersey.
Recent Form and Team News
The New York Red Bulls will have to rely on their stout defense if they want to make it to the next round of the MLS playoffs. With the second-fewest goals conceded (39) in the Eastern Conference, the club will look to dominate possession and keep the ball in the opponent’s third.
If they can score the opening goal, supporters should be optimistic. The New York Red Bulls have only lost two games this season as the first team on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, luck has not been in their favor in years past, as they have lost four straight opening playoff appearances. 4 Red Bulls will be nursing injuries and unable to play on Wednesday night, in Cory Burke (groin), Dante Vanzeir (back), Lewis Morgan (hip), and Hassan Ndam (thigh).
Meanwhile, Charlotte FC will have to reverse their fortunes on the road. The club mustered only four victories as the visitors all year. Additionally, Charlotte has never won at Red Bull Arena. The opposing clubs played to draws in both editions of the fixture this season after splitting home games in 2022. The Club will be missing Vinicius Mello and Ben Bender due to injury.
MLS Wild Card Prediction and Free Betting Pick
An impressive 2-1 victory over LAFC appeared to be a catalyst for Charlotte, who went on a terrific run to end the regular season and clinch an MLS Wild Card spot. The New York Red Bulls completed their campaign with a grand finale as well, scoring a 94th-minute penalty to push them above the playoff line.
Both squads will be hesitant to take risks and may even be willing to take this match to a draw. A penalty kick shootout, which is essentially a coin toss, may be considered a favorable outcome for both teams after 90 minutes. New York has struggled to score and will feed off a boisterous home crowd in a shootout scenario. On the other hand, Charlotte will be happy to keep this game close. An early concession may spell doom for a club with a (-10) goal difference on the road, going up against one with a rock-solid back line that rarely falters when given a lead.
While I lean towards the New York Red Bulls, their home field advantage and their playoff experience, it’s not enough to get me to pull the trigger on their moneyline at (-130). I think a better way to attack this game is in the total goals market. With two cagey teams, I see an under 2.5 wager hitting at closer to a 60% clip than 50%. That gives us good value on a (-105) number currently available on Bovada, one of the best MLS betting sites.
Odds are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.
Top Sportsbooks for the New York Red Bulls Playoffs
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