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Football: MLS Betting Guide & How It’s Staged

With the drama of Chelsea beating Manchester City in the Champions League and then the thrills and spills of the European Championships it has been easy to forget that football is been played outside of Europe this summer.

The Copa America isn’t the only non-European tournament that has been worth watching, MLS, which started in April of this year has also proved to be incredibly entertaining and exciting.

As the season approaches its crescendo many football fans are beginning to take an interest in the MLS, although hardly to the extent and passion Americans hold for football betting.

If you’re growing tired of Crystal Palace, Wolves and Tottenham destroying your weekend accumulators, read on for our ultimate guide to betting on North America’s biggest football league.

How is MLS Staged?

If you’re an American fan of football your love of the game probably comes from watching games in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A or the Bundesliga. In those leagues, they do things a lot differently to the MLS, so before you start betting, you’ll need to know how the league works.

Firstly MLS comprises 27 teams – 24 from the US and 3 from Canada – who are split into a 14 team Eastern Conference and a 13 team Western Conference. Throughout the regular season campaign, teams will play home and away against every team in their Conference.

They will also play then play 10 games, home and away against sides in the other Conference to complete their 34 game schedule. Once the regular season is done, the teams at the top of their respective Conferences are awarded the Supporter’s Shield and home advantage throughout the playoffs.

The MLS Cup Playoffs will commence at the end of the regular season and will comprise 14 teams, the top 7 from each Conference. The winners of each Conference receive byes into the semi-finals of the tournament where they will face the winner of the fourth-fifth seed from the first round.

The semi-finals and final are hosted in a home and away format with away goals applying in these rounds. The team who comes out on top at the end is crowned as Champions with Columbus Crew the team currently holding the crown.

(Columbus Crew came out on top against Seattle Sounders in the 2020 MLS Cup.)

MLS Betting Markets

Now that you know how MLS is formatted it’s time to take a look at some of the most popular betting markets. If you’ve ever placed a bet on European football before you’ll know what to expect from MLS betting – it isn’t all too different.

The only difference per se is the volatility in the betting markets, as with the playoff system in place, the best team doesn’t always win the MLS Cup. Below we’ll share some of the most popular MLS betting markets before moving on to some tips that could prove to profitable as the season progresses.

Most Popular MLS Betting Markets

  • Outrights: MLS Cup Winner, Supporter’s Shield Winner, Golden Boot Winner.
  • Moneylines: Backing a team to win, draw or lose in a particular game.
  • Accumulators: Picking multiple teams to win, draw or lose in a round of fixtures.
  • Specials: First manager to be sacked etc.

2021 MLS Betting Tips

The best way to make money from sports betting is to do your research and make your picks based on data and evidence. The tips we will share below have been thought out, but be sure to do your own research as well before backing our advice.

#1 Phil Neville to be Sacked

The former Manchester United and Everton defender has been in charge of friend David Beckham’s franchise Inter Miami for 6 months. At the time of writing, Neville’s side sit rock bottom of the Eastern Conference with 9 points from 13 games.

That is a pitiful return from a team boasting the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi along with players such as Kieran Gibbs and Ryan Shawcross who should be more than capable of thriving at this level.

To English football fans, Neville’s lack of success in Miami comes as no surprise. During his time as manager of the England women’s team the former Manchester United man consistently came up short with a hugely talented squad.

(Inter Miami have been an embarrassment this season and much of that comes down to Phil Neville’s poor management.)

#2 New England Revolution to Win Eastern Conference

New England Revolution currently lead the way in the Eastern Conference by 7 points and show no signs of slowing down. They have won 10 of their 16 games, drawing 3 and losing 3 and also boast the best away record in the division.

Manager Bruce Arena has assembled a squad of hard-working, motivated players who despite lacking in quality to their competitors, are performing admirably. Don’t bet on them to win the MLS Cup, but do think about backing them to win the Supporter’s Shield.

#3 Javier Hernandez to Win Golden Boot

The 33-year-old Mexican known affectionately as ‘Chicharito’ is currently second in the goal scoring charts, 1 strike behind Seattle Sounder front man Raul Ruidiaz.

Hernandez though has that untrainable knack for scoring goals, so don’t be surprised to see him notch plenty more goals for LA Galaxy this term and finish the season as the recipient of the Golden Boot.

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