2018 Major League Soccer Playoffs
With Decision Day wrapped up, the 12 MLS playoff teams are set. The knockout stage gets doing on Halloween with a few great games. However, looking ahead, whoever wins in the Eastern Conference is in a tough position against Atlanta and New York. In fact, expect Atlanta or New York, who both had record regular seasons, to represent the East in the Finals and open as a moderate favourite over their Western counterpart.
MLS Playoff and Cup Facts
- Western Conference Teams won seven of last nine Cups
- San Jose Earthquakes only team to score more than three goals in MLS Cup Finals
- New York Red Bulls set the record for points in a season with 71
- No Canadian teams in playoffs, the first time since 2011
- Atlanta and New York Red Bulls both +315 to win Cup, next best odds over +1000
Major League Soccer Cup Champion Prediction – Atlanta United FC +315
In only their second year of play, Atlanta United has fielded an excellent roster, very capable of winning the MLS Cup. The team led the MLS in goals scored and finished fourth in goals allowed. The strong play on both offence and defence helped Atlanta lead the MLS standings for much of the season (before losing the top spot to New York on the final day of the season).
Even though Atlanta does not have home field advantage over New York if they are to meet in the Eastern Finals, Atlanta is still a great bet. Atlanta was the best road team in the MLS and was the only team in the league to win double-digit games away from home.
Their strong road play should help them against the record-setting New York Red Bulls. Although they lost to New York Twice this season, they have the firepower to exact some revenge. Once they win their series against New York, they will be the favourite over any Western Conference team.
Pick: Atlanta United FC to Win MLS Cup +315
See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:
Knockout Game Predictions
FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers
Only one win and +2 higher goal differential separated these two teams this season, yet opening odds heavily favour FC Dallas. The value here is on Portland, who open at +330 to win outright.
These two teams have a tendency to play very close matches. Three of the last four between these two teams ended in a draw (with Portland winning the other game at home). The closeness in this rival should not end on Halloween. These teams are very evenly matched and the game should continue into extra time,
Pick: Dallas-Portland Draw +280
LAFC vs. Real Salt Lake
In their first year on the pitch, LAFC did well enough to guarantee themselves some home playoff action (against Real Salt Lake). The third seed in the Western Conference opens as the heaviest favourite in the knockout stage, but they are still worth a wager to win outright on Thursday night.
LAFC won both its matches against RSL this season, outscoring Real Salt Lake 7-1. RSL is also a terrible road team. They went 3-3-11 on the road and allowed twice as many goals as they scored. Take the LAFC to win outright in regulation.
Pick: LAFC to win outright -189
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