After a successful bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup, there was immediate recognition for the need of a professional soccer league in North America. Two years later, Major League Soccer was born, and while it had a rocky start, the resurgence and popularity began to skyrocket in 2002 after Team USA made the quarterfinals at the FIFA World Cup. Let's have a look at the current MLS betting odds.
Odds to Win the 2020 MLS Cup
The odds to win the 200 MLS Cup were last updated on September 15, 2020:
|New York Red Bulls||+4000||+4000||+4000|
|Real Salt Lake||+6000||+6000||+6000|
The league started with ten teams and has seen rapid expansion since 1996, steadily adding teams since 2005. We now have 26 teams in Major League Soccer, 23 in the United States and 3 in Canada, divided into two conferences: the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. There will be more expansion teams added in the following years with Austin FC in 2021, Charlotte FC in 2022, and Sacramento Republic FC and St. Louis City SC in 2023.
- Atlanta United FC
- Chicago Fire FC
- FC Cincinnati
- Columbus Crew SC
- D.C. United
- Inter Miami CF
- Montreal Impact
- Nashville SC
- New England Revolution
- New York City FC
- New York Red Bulls
- Orlando City SC
- Philadelphia Union
- Toronto FC
- Colorado Rapids
- FC Dallas
- Houston Dynamo
- LA Galaxy
- Los Angeles FC
- Minnesota United FC
- Portland Timbers
- Real Salt Lake
- San Jose Earthquakes
- Seattle Sounders FC
- Sporting Kansas City
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Now, we are seeing packed MLS stadiums, with the sport bringing in the third-highest average attendance in professional North American sports (behind the NFL and MLB). With the continued expansion of the league over the past few decades, MLS betting has followed suit and become a huge sport betting market.
As with any North American professional sport, oddsmakers are taking notice of the MLS and are offering odds on every game - and each team plays 34 in a season, which means over 600 opportunities to bet on MLS regular-season games each and every year. Each game offers multiple betting options we will outline below, and let’s not forget about MLS Cup futures.
The MLS Cup is the "Super Bowl" of the MLS. It is played after the regular season and the MLS Playoffs.
How to Bet on Major League Soccer
When it comes to betting on Major League Soccer, you will see a few different betting types compared to the more popular North American sports like baseball or football. Since all games usually fall on the weekend, it’s easy to get in on the action and make for a jam-packed weekend of soccer betting excitement.
It’s important to understand soccer odds first, before placing your wagers and learning some key calculations you can make before placing any money on a game. Once you’re familiar with soccer odds, you can move into the popular MLS betting types.
If you’ve bet on other sports, you may be used to the regular moneyline style where there are two teams, and you have to select the winner between those two. The three-way moneyline adds another important game factor when it comes to betting on soccer games: the draw.
The draw will always have the highest odds, followed by the underdog, then you will have the favored team with the lowest odds. Your job in betting the moneyline is that you need to decide if either team will win the game, or if you believe that after 90 minutes of play, the teams will remain tied. You just need to pick one.
Here’s an example of a three-way moneyline at an MLS game:
- Nashville SC -150
- Orlando City SC +250
- Draw +300
In this case, Nashville is favored to win this match, and Orlando City is the underdog. If you already understand soccer odds, you’ll know that a $150 wager on Nashville would only pay out $100 because they are the favored team and most likely to win, and a $100 wager on Orlando City would pay out $250 as underdogs.
The draw is unlikely but in the case that they do tie after 90 minutes, the draw would pay out $300 on a $100 wager.
Soccer spreads closely resemble traditional pro sport point spreads, but are called goal lines because soccer is a sport that doesn’t use points for scoring, rather they use goals. The spreads in soccer are relatively low, as many soccer games aren’t overly high scoring.
A common MLS spread you may see is -1.5/+1.5, which means that the oddsmakers are giving the underdog a head start before the game even begins. This means that the underdog needs to win the game, and in the case of the favored team, they will need to win by two or more goals.
Over/Under or Totals Betting
Totals are a bit different in soccer than you may be used to if you’re used to betting on basketball or baseball. The Over/Under wager in MLS betting is similar in the aspect that it is betting on whether you think the total score for both teams combined will be higher or lower than the oddsmaker’s line, but it does have a little twist. The totals are shown in multiples of .25 since the scoring in soccer is so low usually. You may see totals of 2.5, 2.75, 3.0, etc.
The best part about the totals is that it’s an easy bet to place, and also subjective and you don’t have to pick one team over the other. This is a great bet to place if you can’t decide which team will win, or don’t want to bet for or against a certain team.
If the total in your game is 2.5, you will need to decide which side you want to bet on - the over or under. If you choose the under, and the game ends with a score of 1-1, your bet will lose. If you chose the over and the game ended 4-2, you would win.
Obviously, you need to look at the teams playing and how they match up against each other. If you have a team that usually has high scoring games, against a team with poor defense, you should consider that in your totals betting strategy.
Each year, odds are released, months and months before the season even begins, and they’re called MLS Futures. They are wagers you’d place on the team to win the MLS Cup, but you are placing them far in advance to garner the best odds possible. These odds are high, so much so that if you do correctly predict the winner of the following year’s MLS Cup, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in winnings.
There are always favored teams to win the next year - usually powerhouse teams, but we all know too well that sometimes there are upsets and an underdog could win the MLS Cup, which is really, what every sports bettor dreams of.
Oddsmakers don’t just stop at the MLS Cup, they also offer odds on the winners of each respective conference in the East and West. Another interesting futures wager you can place on the MLS is to bet on the Golden Boot award winner. The Golden Boot is the award given to the league’s top scorer during the season. It would likely be pure guesswork, because it would be so hard to predict who will have an exceptional season, especially with injuries and new talent coming into the league.
MLS Prop Bets
There are a few props or proposition bets you can place on an MLS game, as many sportsbooks will have them available. Props are fun and unique wagers placed on instances in the game that have nothing to do with the final outcome. You can bet on the team you think will be leading at Half and Full time, Corner over/unders, who will score the next goal (this is a live bet you’d place while watching the game) and you can predict the exact score of the game for a huge payout.
Props are meant to just be for fun, not really something you would put a lot of money on or get too stressed over.
Top Online Sportsbooks for Betting on Major League Soccer
Now that you know a bit about Major League Soccer, we want to help you find a great online sportsbook to place your MLS bets. Sportsbooks can be daunting at first, as many have scorned reputations, so we only want you to use the best online sportsbooks for MLS betting.
It’s important to do some research before signing up at an online sportsbook. We have reviewed and researched the top online sportsbooks in the industry and we are confident you will have a great MLS betting experience at any of the above choices. They offer great soccer odds and the bigger ones offer great MLS bonuses.