If you're not already into betting soccer matches online, now would be a great time to start. The 2021 MLS playoffs are about to begin, and you have the option of both investing in MLS Cup betting odds for the Final and making predictions for the first round of the 2021 MLS postseason.
Our 2021 MLS playoff picks will begin with the latter, and we're already expecting the Seattle Sounders to look like MLS Cup Favorites in Round 1.
Before we get to our MLS playoff predictions, though, take a look at the latest MLS betting odds, courtesy of BetOnline:
|Philadelphia Union||+110||+280||New York Red Bulls|
|Sporting Kansas City||-145||+425||Vancouver Whitecaps|
|New York City||-137||+335||Atlanta United|
|Portland Timbers||+105||+250||Minnesota United|
|Nashville SC||-108||+325||Orlando City|
|Seattle Sounders||-145||+410||Real Salt Lake|
Feel free to check out any of the other top online sportsbooks we've reviewed until you find one that's right for you. Just remember to double-check these 2021 MLS playoff odds before settling on any of your 2021 MLS picks, as the lines will continue to move right up until each matchup begins.
First-Round 2021 MLS Playoff Predictions
Please note that not all of these MLS playoff predictions are for the same day. The first round will run from Friday, November 19 through Tuesday, November 23, so some of these games will be taking place on different days.
Seattle Won't have Trouble vs Real Salt Lake
Look, we understand if you're concerned about the Sounders. While they're billed as MLS Cup favorites, they've been banged up over the past month and finished the season in a 0-3-3 rut. They are not unbeatable.
At the same time, if someone is going to upend them, it probably won't be Real Salt Lake. Their offense can be stagnant once it crosses centerfield. And if that doesn't do it for you, the fact that Seattle is as healthy as they have been all season absolutely should.
OSB Prediction: Seattle Sounders (-145)
Can the Red Bulls Upset Philadelphia?
Not many people expected the Red Bulls to scrap and claw their way into the postseason. That they're here is a surprise. Most won't have them beating Philadelphia.
Except for us.
It is indeed concerning that the Red Bulls tallied multiple scores just once in their final 11 games. But they have kicked their ultra-aggressive defense into high gear over the past few weeks. We think they're uniquely built to stifle Philly's midfielders and snag the upset.
OSB Prediction: New York Red Bulls (+280)
Book Sporting Kansas City for Round 2
Vancouver deserves to be taken seriously. They have been one of the toughest MLS squads since the middle of the summer.
But Kansas City is a borderline dynamo. And they have the luxury of playing a riskier style than Vancouver. They advance with either a win or draw. We expect them to grab the outright win. Their combination of Ryan Gauld and Brian White is simply too surgical to pick against.
OSB Prediction: Sporting Kansas City (-145)
New York City to Bounce Atlanta United
Betting on Atlanta to down New York City has turned into a trendy prediction. We advise against it.
Atlanta's track record against good teams this season says it all for us. In 15 games against opponents that cracked the playoff field, they have scooped up just a single victory.
That alone is enough for us to roll with New York City, though it certainly helps the former is perking up on offense in recent matches.
OSB Prediction: New York City (-137)
Portland Timbers Should Make Statement Against Minnesota United
If there's any match in the first round that could turn into a shootout, it's this one.
Both Portland and Minnesota are teeming with superstar playmakers and scorers, and they each like to pressure weak-side defenders when they have the ball. The Timbers were clearly the better regular-season team, but they've also shown defensive cracks. The United will have an opening.
Still, in the end, Portland's collection of table-setters and scorers is too good to pass on. That they're paying out better than even money as the favorite makes this decision that much easier for us.
OSB Prediction: Portland Timbers (+105)
Orlando City has Little Hope vs Nashville SC
Fun fact: Nashville and Orlando have played to a draw in four of their past five meetings. That can make picking this matchup a little difficult.
Not for us, though. Nashville has a top-tier MVP candidate in Hany Mukhtar who's playing at the top of his game, and their pool of defenders is a tad deeper than that in Orlando. They are the pick for us.
OSB Prediction: Nashville SC (-108)
Check out this list of the best online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your MLS betting: