San Jose Earthquakes v Vancouver Whitecaps
For me personally, it was a losing start to the season for my recommended MLS Asian Handicap and goal line bets via the Eastbridge website. The Chicago +1 pick easily won but with the match ending 1-1 the over 2.5 bet sadly lost. This wasn’t for lack of trying though and there were enough chances at either end, I feel like it was an unlucky loser. However, I had no complains about losing with over 2.5 in the Orlando City fixture. Both teams were much more solid than expected and this can happen early in any league season. Team dynamics can change from year to year and you have to be quick to adapt, otherwise you can end up losing fairly quickly.
San Jose got off to a winning start last week, beating Montreal Impact 1-0. But the scoreline was unjust. The Earthquakes completely dominated the contest and should’ve scored 3 or 4 goals. That was the only real negative to take out of the match though. Dominic Kinnear’s men were excellent from start to finish and will have been really pleased with their performance. This is a team that hasn’t made the playoffs for a number of years and they are desperate to get back into the postseason again. Some new signings have helped improve the squad and they have a good core of players to fall back on. Their key man remains striker Chris Wondolowski, who does so much more than just score goals, it’s clear he’s the heartbeat of the side.
The Earthquakes have always been strong at home and will be confident of securing back to back wins. Vancouver are one of the poorer teams in MLS, yet surprisingly they might have other things on their mind at the moment. Remarkably, they’ve made it through to the semi finals of the North American Champions League where they’ll face Mexican side Tigres. The first leg is being played on Wednesday so it would be understandable if some of the players were looking ahead to that contest. I think it’s a negative factor for Vancouver, but even forgetting this fact, San Jose are the better team right now and I expect them to win.
That’s why I think they are worth backing on a -0.5 Asian handicap. The price isn’t anything remarkable, around the 1.85 mark. But the way they dominated Montreal was impressive, and in theory this should be an easier match. The Whitecaps seem to have no attacking bite right now and are struggling to create opportunities in the final third of the field. I’d say there’s a good chance San Jose will win this match to nil and it could be by a clear margin if they actually convert their chances this week. I wouldn’t want to put anyone off backing the Quakes on a -0.75 Asian handicap, or even a -1. But the safer and best percentage option is to simply back the hosts on a -0.5 line straight up.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: San Jose Earthquakes -0.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.86
Houston Dynamo v Columbus Crew
There had been talk of a ‘new era’ at Houston in the buildup to the new season. After a string of poor years, the cub has completely revamped its roster, shifted a load of dead wood and brought in some exciting new signings. Along with a new coach, a fresh start all round was required. The big question at the start of the year was whether or not all the new players could gel together properly. Based on the evidence of last week the answer appears to be yes, for now at least. Houston bossed Seattle around in the first 45 mins, securing a 2-0 lead which was ultimately too much for the Sounders who managed to score, but Houston deservedly won 2-1.
Man of the match was speedy new winger Romell Quioto, who really impressed with a stunning performance, capped off with a brilliant curling goal. He looks a really good addition and his counterpart on the other wing, Alberth Ellis on the other wing looks pretty useful too. With striker Erick Torres seemingly primed for a strong season, the Dynamo can be much more confident about their attacking prowess. Houston as a whole look like a better unit all round and with renewed belief amongst the fanbase, certainly the atmosphere has improved.
Columbus Crew travel here on the back of a 1-1 home draw against Chicago Fire last weekend, which some people would see as a poor result. The Crew produced a great first half but were tactically outsmarted after the break, eventually lucky to hold on to a point. The speedy David Accam gave them all sorts of problems, something which doesn’t bode well ahead of this clash with Houston’s fast attackers. The main strength of the Crew is in attack and they should be well supported by fullbacks Harrison Afful and Jukka Raitala.
The first bet I like in this game is over 2.5 goals. It’s clear both sides will want to approach the match on the front foot and it could be a fairly end to end contest. Some teams were lacking sharpness and energy last weekend but Houston were very much turned on from an attacking point of view and the Crew didn’t look bad either. The second pick I like is Houston -0.25 on an Asian handicap. If they can beat Seattle then they can definitely beat Columbus, probably with more to spare as well. The Crew have an awful away record in recent years and this is just the sort of venue they’ll likely struggle at. I see something like a 3-1 home win which would easily be enough for both bets to cover.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Houston Dynamo -0.25 @1.91 & Over 2.5 goals @1.97
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