Learn to Find and Make the Best MLS Predictions
Though soccer is certainly not the most popular sport in the United States, the popularity of the MLS continues to grow each year. Which means sportsbooks will carry odds and lines for each of the games.
The MLS is the American soccer league, and features teams primarily from the United States, although there are a couple from Canada as well.
The league stands out mainly for its MLS Playoffs format, which differs from the European leagues.
When Does the MLS Schedule Run?
A typical MLS Season usually runs from February/March to October, and has games nearly everyday. Where there are games, learning to make the best use of MLS predictions and understanding which are worth it will be helpful to making better bets.
Teams in the MLS play a total of 34 games throughout the season. Games are often held on weekends, though there are exceptions. The MLS Playoffs are held in October, concluding no later than the 31st.
Transfers in the league are important to pay attention to for MLS predictions. There are two periods throughout the season where MLS teams can acquire new players. The first of which often runs from February to May.
The second transfer window usually runs from June to August.
What is the Style of Soccer Played in the MLS?Every soccer league in the world will have a distinct style of play that is evident with every team throughout that league. The style comes more from the philosophy and history of how the game has been played there and has been crafted over the years.
The United States professional soccer league, the MLS, may be one of the few exceptions to this rule. Even though the league has been going on now for more than 25 years, it has not developed any true general style that anyone can point to.
As such, there are some characteristics surrounding the league that can be used for betting:
Play style and tactics vary greatly between teams, there is no league standard for how to play. Therefore, each team should be studied individually before betting on them.
America is a big country, and games will take place in vastly different climates. Understanding which teams are used to what weather and how it affects play can help you to make better MLS predictions.
There is a hierarchy in regards to consistently good teams, but in the MLS one good player can truly turn a team around. Pay attention to transfers as they could bear much different results for the team in the next season.
When making MLS predictions, bets can seem like a toss up each game since there is no real pattern of play. However, simply accepting that fact can lead you to better understanding of the league.
Teams in the MLS must be looked at as their own entity. When two teams come together, you need to analyze how their styles will matchup, rather than just their players. The MLS can be a roller coaster, but with steady focus on what drives results in the league you can make better MLS predictions and bets.
Which Teams are Best for Making MLS Predictions
The MLS is a competitive league in an interesting sort of way. Not only can games be competitive, but also the way in which good teams can quickly deteriorate or the opposite for teams who finish at the bottom of the standings, as they can also rise quickly.
These transformations most often heavily depend on the transfers. This is like other leagues in Europe, but in the MLS they can have a much bigger impact. This is largely due to the low quality and experience levels of many of the players in the league.
Still, there are teams who consistently continue to perform well throughout the season:
Los Angeles Galaxy
These three teams, along with a few others who could possibly be placed in this category, are usually safe bets for MLS predictions. Especially in recent years, these teams consistently place high in the MLS standings at the end of each season.
Beyond the perennial favorites, MLS predictions should be made on teams who have a number of advantages going for them in a specific game. These advantages are relevant for most sports, and include things like home field advantage, weather, good current form, etc.
When reading MLS predictions, look for the teams with strong defenses.
Defending is quite possibly the weakest aspect of MLS soccer. Most teams in the league are able to score two, three or four goals a game, but finding a team who can keep clean sheets (shutouts) is a rare but very valuable attribute.
Teams with strong defenses will have a major advantage going through the league and into the playoffs. Most teams in the league expect an open game, so when a solid defensive pairing doesn’t budge, they can easily kill most mediocre offenses in the MLS.
MLS Predictions on the Playoffs
Speaking of the playoffs, it is the biggest thing that differentiates the MLS from other European leagues, and at the same time likens it to other American leagues like the NFL, NHL, MLB, etc. In the MLS, the champion is whichever team wins the playoffs, not just the team with the best record.
MLS Playoff Predictions are even wilder than the regular season. The competition is obviously stronger, and the single-elimination format does not leave room for many mistakes.
The tournament is played by 16 teams (now 18), with eight from both the Eastern and the Western Conferences. The matchups are decided by seeds (depending on regular season records), and single-elimination games are played until there is a champion.
Teams with the higher seeds are given home-field advantage in every matchup. This is a major factor and has helped teams with dedicated fan bases like the Seattle Sounders to playoff success.
In order to make smarter MLS playoff predictions, it's necessary to completely forget the records of the teams during the regular season. The teams with the best records (Supporters Shield winners), very rarely go deep into the playoffs and even more rarely make or win the championship.
In single-elimination games, there is just too much variance and each of the sixteen teams have a more or less equal chance to win. For MLS playoff predictions, pay attention to the form that a team is entering the playoffs in. A sixth-seeded team who won its last five regular season games is a good bet against a third-ranked seed who did the opposite.
MLS Fantasy Leagues and Sports Betting
Along with sports betting, daily and season-long fantasy competitions are another way to use your MLS predictions. Fantasy sports have been popular for awhile now. In any of the different variations of fantasy games, the basic rules and attributes remain the same.
Players choose teams of real-life athletes to compete with
Points are awarded to each athlete depending on their performances in real competitions
The teams who get the most points will win the competition
Throughout the different variations like season-long fantasy or just daily competitions, the core concept does not change. You will select real MLS players to add to your team, and you will earn points for your team depending on how well they perform in their games.
MLS predictions are especially helpful for daily fantasy competitions, which are popular on sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel. Players on these sites will compete in one-off competitions against plenty of other players. The highest-scoring teams will finish in the top spots, and receive part of the cash pool.
Using MLS Predictions for Daily Fantasy
When it comes to daily fantasy leagues, constantly checking MLS predictions before entering a tournament is a good idea. These can not only help you understand the different games, but also which players you should be looking at for your team.
A good analysis or MLS predictions will go in depth for each game, and give you insights such as what weak points each team has in its upcoming game or which players are expected to produce good results.
Like sports betting, these are incredibly important to gain a leg up on the competition, or the other players or sportsbook that you will be betting against. These MLS predictions and overviews can even be found on some online sportsbooks.
If the sportsbook has a blog or news section, then there will likely be news for MLS games included.