The Houston Dynamo will welcome Sporting Kansas City to the Bayou City on November 26. The tie will mark the MLS Cup Western Conference Semifinals, with the winner advancing to play either the Seattle Sounders or LAFC. Sporting Kansas City knocked off the #1-seeded St. Louis City SC after winning back-to-back games in their best-of-three series. Continue reading to access an expert Houston vs Sporting KC prediction and explore the latest news on the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City, MLS Cup Conference Semifinals
- November 26, 2023
- 7 PM EST
- Shell Energy Stadium, Houston, Texas
- Apple TV – MLS Season Pass
Houston vs Sporting KC Betting Odds
Houston vs Sporting KC is set to be a match tipped in favor of the hosts, who are the odds-on favorites at highly-rated online sportsbook BetOnline with a price of (-120). Kansas City will look to overcome a (+320) line and continue their winning streak. If the score remains tied after 90 minutes, a draw ticket will pay out at (+300).
2023 MLS Cup Playoffs Format and Schedule
Post Round One, the tournament switches to a standard format akin to the FIFA World Cup. Matches run for 90 minutes plus stoppage time, followed by two 15-minute extra time periods if needed before a potential penalty shootout. There won’t be double-leg ties; it’s all about winner-takes-all, with venue advantage given to the higher seed throughout, culminating in the Final.
The key ingredients for a successful playoff run include a robust defense, a strong home record, and a frontline adept at consistent goal-scoring. Luck plays a significant role in the MLS Cup, with an entire season boiling down to decisive winner-takes-all showdowns. Expect variations in finishing abilities, but a high volume of shots can often overturn the tides of fortune in this intense battle.
Houston Punching Above Their Weight?
In simple terms, Houston has been outstanding on home turf in the closing phase of the season. They’ve clinched victories in 5 out of their last 7 home matches and suffered only 1 defeat at home since May 13. What’s more, the Dynamo have consistently outperformed their opponents with more than 1.0 expected goals in their favor across four consecutive home matches.
However, a contrarian would point out this streak is unlikely to last long. The Dynamo have been punching above their weight for a while now, and the betting lines will only further factor in their recent success. Sporting Kansas City was the one club to beat them at home since May, with a 3-2 win at Shell Energy Stadium. Kansas City is also a very unfortunate team so far, exceeding their actual goals per game by over a half in expected goals.
A Record-Breaking Sporting Kansas City Season
Sporting Kansas City defied odds, initially winless in their initial 10 matches, but surged into playoff contention during the summer. With three victories in their last four games, they secured a spot in the MLS Wild Card round. Back-to-back wins, including a 4-1 shellacking on the road, earned Sporting KC the nod over their St. Louis-based opponents.
This achievement stands as a groundbreaking moment in Major League Soccer history, being the first time a team rebounded to enter the playoffs after a winless streak of 10 games. However, this feat was aided by the expanded playoffs format in recent years.
Sporting Kansas City has a knack for finishing strong, highlighted by their 15-game unbeaten streak at home in October, buoyed by the unwavering support of their fans during the colder months. I’d be overlooking something important if I didn’t acknowledge Alan Pulido’s scoring prowess for Sporting Kansas City. With 14 goals this season, his ability to find the net could be a key factor in this match.
Houston vs Sporting KC Prediction and Free Betting Pick
While The Cauldron will not be making a presence in this match, or for the rest of the MLS Cup Playoffs for that matter, Houston is not too far away from Kansas City. Sporting KC’s passionate supporters typically travel well, and they will certainly make their presence heard in the Conference Semifinals.
I think Kansas City believes it can compete with the best in the league, especially after its impressive knockout of the top-seeded team in the West. They will now face a Houston club who needed three games and penalty kicks to get past 5th-seeded Real Salt Lake. In a playoff match where goals are usually hard to come by, I like Sporting Kansas City’s chances of keeping this game close and staying in it until a possible penalty shootout.
For these reasons, I am looking to back the visitors in the double chance market. Also known as the spread or asian handicap in soccer, taking Sporting KC +0.5 covers an away win or draw. I think this number should be north of evens. However, the MLS is a very volatile league that can be very difficult to predict. Its high-flying nature, with a fast pace and reliance on athleticism, can lend itself to luck.
I would play this match conservatively, but rely on Sporting KC to keep up their streak on the road. Take Sporting Kansas City to earn at least a draw through the first 90 minutes at (+100).
Top Sportsbooks to Bet on the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs
Explore some of the best sportsbooks for online betting below. Each website is reviewed by MyTopSportsbooks for user experience, customer service, new member promos, and more.