Charlotte look good value for a draw when they take on the New York Red Bulls in this weekend’s round of MLS fixtures.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best online sportsbook sites, the New York Red Bulls go into this contest as the big favorites for this MLS game, despite the fact that they are the visitors. The Red Bulls are available at odds as short as +120 in some places, while the home team can be bet at +225. According to the sportsbooks, the least likely outcome here is the draw, which is priced at anything from +235 to +265.
|Charlotte v NYRB|
Charlotte Improving in MLS
The newest MLS expansion team, Charlotte FC have had to learn quickly and had a poor start, losing their first three matches, but there have been clear signs of improvement since then. They’ve won five of their last eleven games, a run that has been good enough to move them into a mid-table position, only two points outside the playoff places.
Their recovery appears to be built on defensive concentration, as they go into this game with the Eastern Conference’s fifth-best defensive record. Goals, however, appear to be an issue. Charlotte are currently level with Chicago at the bottom of the goal-scoring charts, averaging 0.93 per match.
New York Contenders
The New York Red Bulls began their Major League Soccer season with a bang, scoring seven goals in victories over San Jose and Toronto. They haven't been able to sustain that level of goal-scoring since then, but they have done well enough to rise to fourth in the East thanks to four wins and a run of draws.
Surprisingly, the Red Bulls have been more effective on the road than they have been at home. They won their first five games away from home, although that record has been dented a little by a draw with Philadelphia and a surprise loss in Miami. It seems that the Red Bulls are most effective when they concede possession and play on the counter, tactics ideally suited to visiting teams.
MLS Betting Team News
The unexpected departure of head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez has hampered Charlotte's preparations for this game and it will be interesting to see how they adapt. For this game, Christian Lattanzio will serve as the interim manager, and with just striker Vinicius Mello and defensive midfielder Chris Hegardt out due to injury, he will at least have a strong squad to pick from.
Gerhard Struber, head coach of the New York Red Bulls is dealing with more serious injury concerns ahead of this game. Andreas Reyes, Wiki Carmona, Lucas Monzon, Ashley Fletcher, Serge Ngoma, and Cameron Harper all missed the last game against DC United at the end of May and will miss this one as well, which is likely to mean Struber will have to reshuffle his lineup.
Charlotte v New York Red Bulls Betting Picks
Charlotte may be the underdogs in this game, but it's worth noting that they've had the bulk of possession in most of their games so far. This dominance of ball possession appears to serve mainly as a defensive tactic, but is particularly effective when they play at home, as it is easier to sustain against visiting teams who tend to take a cautious approach. In fact, Charlotte has an impressive 5-1 win-loss record at Bank Of America Stadium, with their lone defeat coming against LA Galaxy in their first-ever MLS game.
We’ve already mentioned how effective the Red Bulls have been on the road this season, and it's worth noting that they've already beaten Charlotte this season, winning 3-1 in the US Open Cup three weeks ago, though given the team changes and the fact that Charlotte has home-field advantage, that game in New Jersey may not have too much bearing on this match.
This could be an exciting matchup between two teams with divergent tactics, but the Red Bulls, who are handicapped by injury absences, may find it difficult to attack on the counter against Charlotte's defensive-minded approach. I think the home team will once again have the majority of possession and can frustrate their opponents by collecting a point.
A Low Scoring MLS Game in Charlotte
Given that the home side usually sets the tone in soccer, there is a betting opportunity here. Charlotte have played seven games at home this season and five of them have seen fewer than 2.5 goals. Given that they clearly focus on retaining possession as a defensive tactic, a low-scoring game could be the outcome, so opting for Under 2.5 goals looks a good bet.
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