Sportsbooks offer an extensive selection of bets for MLS games as well as profitable odds with acceptable margins. This is influenced by the popularity of the tournament in North America, as well as an increasing interest in the league by European fans along with a low probability of high-contract players.
MLS Standings and League Format
In the United States, the MLS playoffs are the official format for determining the soccer champions. This sets the league apart from other professional soccer leagues, in which the league winner is determined throughout the season based on points.
There are currently 26 teams divided into Western and Eastern conferences (14 in the East, 12 in the West). By 2023, the MLS is looking to add an additional three teams. With new teams being added seemingly each year, the season and playoff formats will look to be adjusted. The 2020 MLS season was the first in which each team did not play every other team at least once, instead playing others from the regional bubble.
The 2020 regular season concluded after only 23 games, though it will normally be 34 games. After the regular season ends, a series of MLS playoffs begins. The team on top of the MLS standings from each conference automatically gets placed in the semifinals, with the teams that took the 2-7th positions in the standings, starting from Round 1. Each game played in the playoffs is single elimination.
The winner from both the Eastern Conference playoffs and the Western Conference playoffs meet in the championship game. The team with the most points from the regular season will have the advantage of playing this game at home. The winner of this game will be crowned that year's MLS champions.
European games are held from Autumn to Spring, but the MLS schedule is the opposite: the season is held from Spring to Autumn. Thus, the season covers calendar days with more favorable weather conditions. Despite the unbearable heat or high humidity, which happens during this period, this option for the U.S. is much better than the European one.
The MLS schedule intersects with many international competitions. In addition, representatives of the league can not sell or buy players when the European transfer windows are open.
MLS Betting Features
- The main task of the MLS is to organize a competitive league, so that each club can make a profit and develop annually. Every cent spent is watched here.
- There is no significant advantage of favorites over underdogs in the league, so there are no exorbitant odds for underdogs. As a rule, they usually range from +300 to +700.
- In the MLS, teams that have lost their playoff motivation, which is rare, still do not easily give points to other teams. Therefore, the odds for the underdogs at the start and finish of the season are almost the same.
Futures Betting on the MLS
Sportsbooks offer bets on conference champions as well on the eventual league champion. In the first case, finishing positions will be determined by the quality of players, team performance, manners of the game, coaching, etc. It is better to bet on this after five to seven games, rather than before the start of the season.
To predict who will win the MLS playoffs is much harder. In a separate meeting anything can happen, so odds on the favorites in playoff games are a little higher.
All teams in the MLS belong to the league itself. It is mostly interested in the competitive environment, so ideally any team can win the Cup. The debut drawing took place in the 1995/96 season. Since then, the league has grown to 26 teams, 13 of which have won the Cup at least once.
What is the style of soccer in MLS?
Soccer is multifaceted. Different soccer leagues show completely different styles of play. Despite this, the MLS is dominated by athletic soccer. The main task is quite logical - to place the ball into the opponent's net, not to spoil time in the center of the field.
Nobody will look for gaps in defense and measure the technical characteristics of the players. In America, everyone knows that the fans love the spectacle that sports bring. The organizers and clubs understand that dullness does not add to the appeal, so the MLS changes before your eyes.
The common features have not disappeared, but the league is no longer the same as it was in the middle of the 2000s. Every year teams attract interesting personalities who make the game more attractive and increase fan appeal. Today's MLS is certainly not La Liga, but it is no longer the amateur league that it was not so long ago.
Odds on Total Over
The MLS is more suitable for analyzing the performance of games, rather than their outcomes. Let's find out why. Americans love the entertaining side of the league, no matter what spectacle they watch. If you have watched the NHL or NBA, you know what kind of show it is and how spectacular it can be.
Sports in the U.S. are associated with the show, so the athletes play at full speed, with the desire to fully crush each of their opponents. The situation is the same in soccer. Nobody wants to watch dull tactical confrontations. Everybody likes a lively, frisky and high-scoring game.
Before the final whistle, unpredictable things often happen. For example, opponents exchanging goals even in extra time. MLS attracts famous players from Europe, most notably attacking players. This is logical, because not defenders, but attackers give the MLS its necessary spectacle.
Therefore, if we consider the MLS as a whole, we can conclude that the attack is stronger than the defense. In a general sense, the league filled with defense teams worked out not as well as a more lively offensive league. That's why MLS scores are higher when compared to many professional leagues. The MLS is considered to be a high-scoring league and it is logical to expect multiple goals in most games.
Interesting facts about the MLS
- Every year in the middle of the season the ‘MLS All-Star Game is held - it is a friendly meeting between an MLS team filled with the league’s most popular players, selected by votes against an invited foreign team. The teams invited are often top European clubs, with past invitees including teams such as Juventus, Real Madrid and Arsenal.
- The MLS is the sole owner and manager of each team in the league. The income is distributed among the teams in such a way as to ensure the financial stability of each of them. The team's budget for paying salaries to athletes is the same for all and is fixed before the start of the new season.
- Athletes do not sign contracts with the team, but rather directly with the MLS.
- In 2014, the right to play in the league cost the new team Los Angeles FC $100 million. In the future, the cost of joining the MLS (acquisition of franchise) will increase to $200 million.
Betting Summary on MLS
The popularity of MLS is increasing annually. Here you will not see many low-scoring games or lopsided matchups. In terms of betting, the league attracts bettors with high odds and a large amount of statistics, because each season the team plays 34 games as well as the MLS playoffs.