MLS Playoffs Betting Guide (2021)

All MLS Playoffs betting odds are as of 11/24/2021

A crazy amount of parity from year to year makes Major League Soccer great for futures betting.

This balance means you’ll see some longer odds on teams that still have a decent shot at winning it all, which makes spreading around a little bit of coin during the early stages of the playoffs both fun and possibly profitable in the long run.

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In our 2021 MLS Playoff betting guide, we’ll look at the remaining eight clubs’ chances of winning both their next matchup and lifting the MLS Cup in December (home team listed first).

Eastern Conference Semi #1—New England Revolution +200 vs. New York City FC +1000

The Revs romped through the regular season on the way to their first-ever Supporters Shield, winning the Eastern Conference by a dominant 19 points. Their “reward” is a conference semis matchup with an NYCFC side that is unbeaten in their last six and features the league’s leading scorer (tied) in Valentin Castellanos.

However, New England did win the regular-season series two games to one and have lost just twice since the first week of July. This match and a likely meeting with Philly in the conference final won’t be a cakewalk, but if there’s any coach that can finally guide the Revs to a league title, it’s the winningest head coach in MLS Cup history, Bruce Arena (five titles).

Eastern Conference Semi #2—Philadelphia Union +800 vs. Nashville SC +1000

Although Philly has no super scorer that they’ll ride to MLS Cup glory, they do lead the league (tied) in set-piece goals and allowed the third-fewest goals during the regular season. After dropping three straight decisions in August and early September, the Union righted the ship by going on a 7W-4D-1L tear to end the season, making them one of the hottest teams in the league.

Nashville made the most of their second-ever playoff appearance (in two seasons) by pounding Orlando 3-1. The Six-Strings boast a strong defense of their own led by reigning MLS Defender of the Year Walker Zimmerman and are deadly on the counter-attack. While this match could go either way, it’s worth noting that both regular-season meetings finished 1-0 (bet the under?).

Western Conference Semi #1—Colorado Rapids +250 vs. Portland Timbers +1200

Colorado clinched the Western Conference crown on the last day of the season and are given the highest probability of making it to the MLS Cup final of any club (42%) by FiveThirtyEight. The Rapids are a truly balanced side with no one superstar—no player on their roster has more than eight goals this season.

Their first playoff matchup is a favorable one, coming against a Portland club they haven’t lost to since 2018 (7 matches). The Timbers are a team of streaks however and right now they are on a hot one—beginning on August 21, Portland won seven of eight, then lost three straight, and are now in the middle of another four-game win streak including a first-round playoff victory over Minnesota. If you are shotgunning the field, a Portland championship at these current odds would more than makeup for your losses on other teams in the field.

Western Conference Semi #2—Sporting Kansas City +400 vs. Real Salt Lake +2500

Sporting Kansas City finished third in their conference through sheer game control—SKC was third in the league in pass % and second in possession %, two figures that helped them tally 58 goals in the regular season (second in the league). They did somewhat stumble to the finish line at the end of the season however, dropping three of four, including one to Real Salt Lake on the final day of the season.

RSL are the owners of the first round’s lone upset, besting Seattle in a shootout as the seven seed despite being outshot 21-0. While that wasn’t exactly an inspiring performance, they actually match up well with SKC, whom they defeated in both of their encounters this season. The big question mark will be if they get back captain and second-leading scorer Albert Rusnak, who missed the first-round game due to COVID-19.

Our MLS Cup 2021 pick

It’s hard to bet against Bruce Arena, but if there’s any coach that can out-game him (and the rest of the East) it’s New York City FC‘s Ronny Deila, who twice won the Scottish Premier League at the helm of Celtic.

In the West, we’re going chalkier, taking Colorado who we think will get a favorable matchup with cinderellas RSL in the conference final, before falling to NYCFC as they finally lift the city’s first MLS Cup.