Philadelphia has twice missed out on the MLS Cup but that shouldn’t deter you from betting on the Union to make it third time lucky in 2023.
Who Do Bettors Favor?
According to the latest odds at the top rated online sportsbooks MLS bettors favor LAFC to win its second MLS title in a row. The Black and Gold is available at +450, some way ahead of Philadelphia at +700. 2021 winner NYCFC is available at anything between +800 and +1200 and there is a tightly bunched chasing pack including LA Galaxy, Austin, Nashville and NY Red Bulls.
|MLS Cup Winner
|NY Red Bulls
MLS 2023 Betting Briefing
MLS will begin the 2023 season with 29 teams, up from 28 in 2022 as the league once again expands. St Louis FC is the new franchise in the league, and it will begin its MLS story as the most easterly franchise in the Western Conference, while Nashville returns to the Eastern Conference.
The regular MLS season will run from February 25 to October 21, followed by the playoffs, which will feature seven qualifiers from each Conference, with the top franchise in each Conference receiving a bye in the first round. The regular season is also set to be suspended from July 21 to August 19 in order to accommodate the Leagues Cup between US and Mexican teams.
MLS Eastern Conference Betting
Last season, Philadelphia could not have been any closer to winning the MLS Cup after losing in controversial fashion in the 2021 Eastern Conference Final. Does this imply that performance will decline this time around? I don't believe so. Jim Curtin's team was dominant all throughout the 2022 regular season and has retained most of its roster, giving it an excellent chance to win the MLS Cup.
Of the two New York teams, New York Red Bulls appears to be in better condition than NYCFC. The 2021 champion has lost several top players, including Heber and Santi Rodriguez, and has not recovered completely from the loss of Maxi Morales at a pivotal point in the previous season.
The Red Bulls did lose Aaron Long, but the latest faces, which include forwards Cory Burke and $5.5 million signing Dante Vanzeir, appear to be good investments and the franchise will be eager to improve on last year's first-round playoff exit. This team is not capable of winning a Conference or MLS Cup, but it can outdo its local competition.
If you're looking for a more expensive challenger in the Eastern Conference, Nashville may be a good option. Last season, Gary Smith's hard-working squad, led by the brilliant Hany Mukhtar, ended up fifth in the Western Conference and will have little difficulty in moving back to the Eastern Conference.
MLS Western Conference Betting
LAFC goes into the season as defending champion and is a formidable team. It was the first MLS team since 2017 to win both the Supporters Shield as well as the MLS Cup in the same seaso year and during the offseason, it added widely respected defender Aaron Long along with promising Croatian winger Stipe Biuk. Even so, the Black and Gold have lost a few of players, including Gareth Bale, who scored a vital goal in the Final.
Previous MLS Cup winners have found trying to compete in the Champions League to be a formidable challenge and Steve Cherundolo's squad will face the same difficulty. LAFC will certainly make the playoffs, however its early season regional obligations could leave it with a significant amount of ground to make up in order to win the Western Conference. It is also worth noting that back-to-back Cup victories have only occurred three times in MLS history.
Austin could be a suitable option in the Western Conference if you're searching for a team to beat LAFC. Adding Gyasi Zardes, Adam Lundqvist, and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez has made Josh Wolff's side team even more formidable and it plays a style of soccer that can be hard to contain.
Will LA Galaxy be motivated by its city rival’s succes? It is possible. The franchise finally released Kevin Cabral in the off season and will now enjoy a full season of Riqui Puig’s brilliance. However, in terms of roster depth, it needs more to compete with its Los Angeles rivals, so Seattle may be a better option. The fact that the Sounders missed the playoffs last season but won the Champions League will give Brian Schmetzer's squad a great deal of confidence going into this year.
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