The MLS is Back Tournament
Finally. I've had enough of watching all of this international soccer. Finally, the best soccer league is back. Haha just kidding. The MLS absolutely sucks.
Anyways, the MLS being back means one thing. Time for some locks. Aside from the UFC, it has been a very long time since we have seen a "major sport" return to live action in the United States. Although the viewership of the MLS is not high compared to many other sports in our nation, I believe that these two weeks could be a huge time to grow and expand the soccer industry in America.
Anyways, no one cares about the viewership numbers that I was about to go into. Let's talk business. Before we get into the betting odds, let's talk about how the MLS is planning on returning. So, teams are going to be divided into different groups and play three games each. Then, the top teams, as well as some runner-up teams, will advance to make the round of 16 and there, an elimination tournament will begin. At that point, it will be just like any other standard tournament and a champion of the MLS will be crowned.
Now, let's get into the important stuff.
Thanks to Action Network and their writer Brad Cunningham, we have been blessed with everything that we need to know about the MLS return. For those who don't understand the headings, xGF/Game calculates a team expected goals for in each game and xGA/Game calculates a team expected goals against in each game. Lastly, xGD/Game is just the difference between the two, or expected goal differential. All of these number may seem like a bunch of bullshit but as a soccer expert myself, I know that we can learn a lot from this. First, I have already found my first pick with LAFC (+500; $100 wins $500). They have an expected goal difference in each game that is more than double the next team below them and triple the team below that one. They are by far the best team in the league and they should cruise through this tournament. I know, they are the favorites and no one likes to pick the favorites. So, I have two underdog picks that I really see a lot of value in. Those are Inter Miami (+2900) and NYCFC (+1100). The stat sheet below says it all. Inter Miami at +2900 is a steal in terms of value. On average, they should win each of their games by 0.62 goals which is second in the league at that stat and they have what it takes to win the entire tournament. My second pick is NYCFC for about the same reasons. Although they have a lower expected goal differential than Atlanta United, I find a lot more value with NYCFC.
Thank you very much for reading. I hope that I can come back to this in a few months and see a winner out of those 3 picks. I hope that you are are going to be watching the MLS' return tonight at 8 pm on ESPN.