Anticipation hits a feverish pitch during the run-up to the MLS finals championship game. This single match often determines the tone of an entire season. Losing the finals erases many of the accomplishments achieved to make it the MLS Cup – just ask the New England Revolution. MLS Finals betting lines tend to be one of the most popular events to bet on every year, especially when the two conference winners appear well matched.
After Portland won their first MLS Cup against Columbus in 2015, another expansion franchise will win their first championship in 2016. Both Toronto and Seattle have never made the finals, making the 20th anniversary of the cup an historic event.
MLS Finals Betting Lines Today
Depending on how circumstances play out, MLS Finals betting lines today may change suddenly if news breaks out that affects the likely outcome of the championship. These lines are sourced directly from the most popular sportsbooks, updating you on where the money’s headed.
Sportsbook Bonus To Bet On MLS Finals
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Betting Tips For The MLS Cup
The newest change that’s altered the way fans bet on the MLS Cup involves rules which determine home field advantage. During the opening era of the MLS, the championship game was held at a pre-determined site that would sometimes happen to be the home field of a contender like the LA Galaxy. Now, the team with the best record during the regular season earns the right to host the cup on their home pitch. This change moves away from the tradition of the Super Bowl held at neutral sites, instead following home advantage rules similar to the NBA and NHL finals.
Never underestimate the effect that fans have on players, and more importantly, the decisions of referees, who are only human. The home field effect nearly doubles the chances of an MLS team winning a regular season game. For the MLS finals, teams playing on their home pitch have earned a 5-2 record, showing a strong advantage for friendly fields.
This 71% win rate is greater than the average winning percentage of regular season home teams, who win slightly more than half their games.
The Los Angeles Galaxy have won the most MLS Cups, earning five wins in nine appearances, the most of any franchise in both categories. Since the year 2000, the western conference has won 13 MLS finals matches. One of the eastern winners during this time, Kansas City, actually moved back to the west after winning a championship, raising complaints from some franchises. Incredibly, the New England Revolution remain winless after five championship appearances, including a 2006 loss against the Dynamo, which was the first year Houston competed in the MLS.
This western conference trend is extreme enough that regression to the mean appears inevitable. More eastern teams will win MLS Cups over the next decade, including teams which benefit from new home advantage rules. One trend that appears steady is the close matches that tend to occur during the finals. Nine games have gone into overtime during the history of the MLS finals, and three have been decided by penalty kicks. The largest margin of victory is two goals, which has occurred only five times. Sixteen MLS Cups feature a total of three goals or less, so if you’re betting on over/under, there’s a good chance that 3.5 will be an optimistic guess.