2020 MLS Playoffs Odds and Preview Schedule
The 2020 MLS Playoffs are set to begin tomorrow with two games in the Play-in Round commencing. The tournament will start with the New England Revolution hosting the Montreal Impact at 6:30 PM.
Leading up to the final on December 2nd, the top eight seeded teams from each conference will face off in single elimination games to finally hoist the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy. USA Sportsbooks have released odds on the league winners.
Surprising is that the favored teams by odds are not the ones currently sitting on top of the MLS standings. With the high volatility tournament, sportsbooks odds vary quite differently as well.
|New York City||+600||+700||+700|
|New York RB||+5000||+10000||+10000|
While the final two teams in the Eastern Conference have yet to be decided, the rest of the field is set. Familiar teams and familiar faces take to the field in the hopes of being recognized as the MLS champions.
Will it be the winners of the Supporters Shield the Philadelphia Union? Or perhaps the longtime favorites LAFC or Seattle Sounders? The possibility is there to even see one of the new expansion teams, Nashville or Inter Miami, take home the trophy.
The tournament kicks off on Friday, and each team has the possibility to play a maximum of 23 games. Dates and times for each game and round can be found here:
Eastern Conference Play-In Round
Nov. 20th (6:30PM): #9 Montreal Impact vs. #8 New England Revolution
Nov. 20th (9:00 PM): #10 Inter Miami vs. #7 Nashville SC
MLS Playoffs Round 1
Nov. 21st (12:00 PM): #4 Orlando City vs. #5 NYCFC
Nov. 21st (3:00 PM): #3 Columbus Crew vs. #6 New York Red Bulls
Nov. 22nd (4:00 PM): #1 Sporting KC vs. #8 San Jose Earthquakes
Nov. 22nd (7:30 PM):#4 Minnesota United vs. #5 Colorado Rapids
Nov. 22nd (10 PM): #3 Portland Timbers vs. #6 FC Dallas
Nov. 24th (6:00 PM): #2 Toronto FC vs. Highest Advancing Seed from Play-In
Nov. 24th (8:00 PM): #1 Philadelphia Union vs. Lowest Advancing Seed from Play-In
Nov. 24th (10:30 PM): #2 Seattle Sounders vs. #7 LAFC
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Nov. 29th Game 1 (3:00 PM)
Nov. 29th Game 2 (8:00 PM)
Western Conference Semifinals
Dec. 1st Game 1 (9-10 PM)
Dec. 2nd Game 2(9-10 PM)
Game 1 (3:00 PM)
Game 2 (6:30 PM)
Dec. 12th 8:00 PM
In a tournament where a single goal difference can end a team’s season, the results in each round are unsurprisingly volatile. Weaker seeds have been known to sneak past the favorites on more than one occasion.
However, we do have some hunches about this year’s MLS Playoffs. Lets preview the strongest teams going into the MLS Playoffs and which teams we think can win it all.
MLS Playoffs Eastern Conference Favorites
|New York Red Bulls||9||-2||32|
|New England Revolution||8||1||32|
The Eastern Conference welcomed two new expansion teams into the MLS this season in Nashville SC and Inter Miami. Surprising nearly everyone, both will also be competing in their first MLS Playoffs after sneaking in at the end.
The Supporters Shield winners Philadelphia Union won the Eastern Conference as well, and are rightfully high favorites to be the MLS champions by the end.
A truly dominant season has come to an end for Philadelphia. The team won the Supporters Shield with 47 points over the season’s campaign. With only four losses all season and an almost unbelievable goal difference of 24, the team solidified its #1 spot in the conference.
Playing in front of star midfielder Brenden Aaronson, Philadelphia has three players with six or more goals this season. The Union will take on one of three different teams in Round 1, depending on the results from the Play-In Round.
However, none of these teams should give the Union too much trouble. While New England could be a tough possible matchup, the team should be expected to breeze by and deep into the tournament.
Orlando City SC
An incredible turnaround after finishing 11th in the Eastern Conference last season. Orlando City have had a difficult start in the MLS after joining the league in 2015. This year’s team was something else however, finishing fourth overall in the conference while only losing four games the entire season.
Forward Chris Mueller has been a force on the wing for the team in his second season, leading the team with 10 goals in 22 games. The team still has the Portugese star Nani in the midfield, and goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has been excellent with a 73% save percentage.
The team will have an incredibly difficult start to the season playing NYCFC, who finished fifth but have four players out for the season. The game will be close, but Orlando City seems to have their number, as they have not lost to NYCFC since 2018, winning or drawing the last six and will look to keep that streak alive on Saturday.
For Daring Bettors: Inter Miami
The new MLS team has one of the most difficult first few rounds of MLS Playoffs ahead of them. However, with the experience of Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, if the team can somehow win the Play-In and beat Philadelphia, it may cause some havoc riding on confidence after sneaking into the playoffs in the first place.
MLS Playoffs Western Conference Favorites
|San Jose Earthquakes||8||-16||30|
The race to the top was extremely tight in this year's Western Conference, as three teams are tied with 39 points apiece. The LA Galaxy continued its inconsistency by finishing out of playoff contention, which leaves the other LAFC team as a difficult #7 seed in a very competitive conference.
In fact, the top seven teams all look to be threats, meaning the volatility of these conference playoffs will leave a lot open. Longtime MLS favorites Seattle Sounders are again near the top of the table, and are always a threat in the MLS Playoffs.
For the fourth season in a row, Seattle finished in second place in the Western Conference, tied at 39 points. However, the reigning MLS Cup champions have won the competition twice in the past five seasons, and will be a terrifying opponent for anyone.
The team by all accounts has been a machine this season, finishing with the highest goal difference by far in the conference at 21, and losing only five times. Both Raúl Ruidíaz and Jodi Morris have more than ten goals apiece, with attacking mid Nicolás Lodeiro clocking in with ten assists and seven goals.
Unfortunately for Seattle, missing out on the number one spot in the conference means it will be facing LAFC instead of San Jose. However, neither of these teams should be able to match the firepower that Seattle has. Playing at home at CenturyLink Field just gives all the more reason to expect the team to go out on another deep run.
Although Sporting Kansas City was the number one finisher in the conference, the injuries to key players gives the edge to third place finishers Portland. The team has had defensive troubles, but it's offense was unmatched, scoring the most goals in the MLS with 46.
Coming back from the break it also won the MLS is Back competition finishing with a 2-1 win over Orlando City. It has not relied on any one player to do so either, as Portland has four players with seven or more goals.
The team will play FC Dallas in the first round, which certainly makes for a difficult matchup. However, with a goal difference of four on the season, a high-scoring team like Portland could be a nightmare. The two teams haven't played each other so far this year so it will be interesting to say the least.
Dark Horse - FC Dallas
The Dallas team was incredible this season defensively, holding teams to only 24 goals, second lowest in the conference while goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer boasts an unbelievable save percentage near 80%. The club will need to keep that defensive mindset intact, as they say defense wins championships and the team could look to make a surprising run.