Chicago Fire v FC Cincinnati
Chicago Fire have only won 1 of their last 8 games and a mid season slump threatens to derail them somewhat. This is the perfect opportunity to get back on track though facing rock bottom Cincinnati. The big problem that the Fire have, as always is problematic away form. Their current stats on the road read 0-3-7 and they are actually the only team in the whole of MLS 2019 yet to taste victory on their travels. Thankfully, things are much better for Chicago at home where they have a 5-4-1 record, scoring 23 goals in the process. The most recent match at what is now known as the SeatGeek Stadium ended in a 5-1 thumping of Atlanta United. The Fire couldn’t kick on from that result last weekend though when they lost 0-1 at SKC. You have to think the performance of key playmaker Nicolas Gaitan will be crucial here. He chipped in with a goal and a ridiculous 3 assists during the Atlanta match.
FC Cincinnati travel here on the back of a victory, which is a rare event for them this season. They managed to beat Houston Dynamo 3-2 last weekend, a result which snapped a 6 game losing streak. The MLS new boys are rock bottom of the Eastern Conference and already look destined for the wooden spoon this season. However, last week proved they can be a potential thorn in someone’s side when they have a good day. The problem that FCC have is conceding goals. The have shipped an alarming number in the last few weeks with a 5-2 hammering at NYC and a crazy 7-1 defeat at Minnesota being standouts. The words ‘clean sheet’ don’t even reside in their dictionary such is the porous nature of their backline. Cincy have been unlucky with injuries in all areas of the field and can be perhaps excused considering it’s their first year in MLS.
Two immediate bets stand out here as good options. I am fully expecting Chicago to win and prevail fairly easily. They have proven before that they can beat anyone at home and they should simply have too much for a Cincy side who at times look out of their depth. The Fire should be able to win by two clear goals or more, so taking them -1.5 Asian Handicap seems a good starting point. Perhaps an even better bet is over 3 goals. This just seems such an obvious choice based on the horrible Cincinnati defensive record. The Fire themselves have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 8 games so I would imagine both teams score here. This goal line will probably extend to 3.25 or 3.5 come closer to kick off, but I would still take these lines, such is the potential for goals. Something like a 4-1 or 4-2 home win could be on the cards and I certainly like the idea of taking both selections
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendations: Chicago Fire -1.50 at 2.010
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.00 goals at 1.750
Portland Timbers v Colorado Rapids
Things have definitely improved for the Portland Timbers in recent weeks. They had a very sticky start to the season, which perhaps was to be expected considering their tough run of away matches. However 6 wins in their last 10 is an impressive return. The Timbers have only played three matches at a revamped Providence Park this term. They lost the first of those, 2-3 against LAFC but then bagged a couple of wins against Houston & Dallas. For sure, this is a team trending in the right direction and who are usually very formidable at home. Portland are the sort of team who tend to have plenty of have goals in them. For the first time since joining the club, striker Brian Fernandez was shut out in an MLS match by NYC last week. But he remains a massive danger in the final third and already he looks like one of the elite strikers in MLS. When you have a supply line of Diego Valeri, it’s always going to help your cause and Fernandez will feed off this with glee.
It looked like Colorado Rapids’ season was done. They had a horror start to the season and seemed condemned to the Western Conference wooden spoon. They sacked manager Anthony Hudson and simply hoped for the best. Conor Casey took over as interim manager and few could’ve predicted the success he’s had so far. A loss at home to New England Revolution last week ended a run of seven unbeaten games, of which they managed to win five. The Rapids are a much improved unit and although still sit bottom of the conference, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The playoffs might be ultimately beyond them, but at least they got themselves back in the hunt to be a competitive force. Colorado lost their first five away games of 2019 but have since gone three unbeaten on the road, which should give them some confidence heading to Providence Park.
Portland Timbers are short priced favourites to win this match around the 1.40 mark straight up. They can be backed on a -1.25 Asian Handicap but I’m not sure I’d be rushing to take that bet. The Timbers certainly have to be respected at home where they have such an excellent record but I feel that the Rapids are ‘banana skin’ opposition right now. You have to go back all the way to 20th April for the last time they got beaten by more than a one goal margin. This is definitely a far more competitive team these days that also carries a goal threat. Colorado have scored in all but two of their MLS matches this season and tend to be more attack minded than their general reputation. The pick I like is over 3 goals. When these two teams met earlier in the season we had a freak 3-3 draw in snowy conditions and whilst something as extreme is unlikely again, I think both teams can combine to score three times together at the worst. If I had to pick a correct score then a 2-2 draw or 3-2 Portland victory would be my prediction.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.00 goals at 1.800
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.
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