Gambling Today: "MLS is Back" Tournament Betting Odds & Breakdown

SI Gambling insider Frankie Taddeo dives into the upcoming "MLS is Back" Tournament from Disney’s Wide World of Sports. Which favorites, values and longshots should bettors know?
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One week from today, Major League Soccer action will finally return to the pitch. The league will return to action on July 8 with a special tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Florida. 

The tournament rules and schedule are laid out in a league press release:

“Similar to a FIFA World Cup, the tournament will feature a continuous schedule of matches nearly every day, with games beginning at 9 am, 8 pm and 10:30 pm EST, with the majority of the matches to be played in the evening.”

The league also confirmed that after the MLS is Back Tournament is completed, Major League Soccer will continue their regular season, followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup.

“We are pleased to team up with Disney to relaunch the 2020 MLS season and get back to playing soccer,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. 

“The opportunity to have all 26 clubs in a controlled environment enables us to help protect the health of our players, coaches and staff as we return to play. We also recognize that the death of George Floyd and others has focused our country on issues of racial injustice, inequality and violence against black men and women. Together with our owners, players and staff, the League and its Clubs are deeply committed to creating meaningful and impactful programs to address these issues that have plagued our society for far too long."

As we have seen with other high profile sports organizations, the MLS has had to deal with players and staff becoming infected with the coronavirus.

On Sunday, the league provided an update on COVID-19 testing results for players, coaches and club staff since June 4.

The release from the league stated:

“18 MLS players and six club staff have received positive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests prior to travel to Orlando for the MLS is Back Tournament. A total of 668 players have been tested since early June.”

The MLS also went on to mention that two more additional players tested positive for the coronavirus on their arrival in Orlando, bringing the total to 20 players and six staff members.

SCHEDULE OF MATCHES

  • July 8: Group Stage
  • July 25-28: Knockout Stage (Round of 16)
  • July 30-August 1: Quarterfinals
  • August 5-6: Semifinals
  • August 11: Final
Odds via Westgate Superbook

Odds via Westgate Superbook

MLS Groups:

Group A - Eastern Conference
1. Orlando City SC
2. Inter Miami CF
3. New York City FC
4. Philadelphia Union
5. Chicago Fire FC
6. Nashville SC

Group B - Western Conference
1. Seattle Sounders FC
2. FC Dallas
3. Vancouver Whitecaps
4. San Jose Earthquakes

Group C - Eastern Conference
1. Atlanta United FC
2. FC Cincinnati
3. New York Red Bulls
4. Columbus Crew SC

Group D - Western Conference
1. Real Salt Lake
2. Sporting Kansas City
3. Colorado Rapids
4. Minnesota United FC

Group E - Eastern Conference
1. Atlanta United FC
2. FC Cincinnati
3. New York Red Bulls
4. Columbus Crew SC

Group F - Western Conference
1. LAFC
2. LA Galaxy
3. Houston Dynamo
4. Portland Timbers

By the Odds:

The four semi-finalists from the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs – Los Angeles FC (5/1), Atlanta United (10/1), Toronto FC (12/1), and Seattle Sounders FC (14/1) are among the betting favorites.

Sporting Kansas City (14/1) offers perhaps the biggest value among the top-five betting choices as they avoid arguably the toughest draw which falls upon those teams in Group F. 

Lastly, FC Dallas (16/1) may see their odds drop substantially, after six players have tested positive for COVID-19.

MLS Tournament Sleepers:

The San Jose Earthquakes (20/1), Philadelphia Union (20/1), and Inter Miami (30/1) are three clubs that have garnered some early steam that could surprise and lead to a big payday in Orlando.

Another major sports betting option has been added to all mobile application wagering menus across the country. For someone who once worked in the front office of an MLS team back in the early 2000s, July 8 can not get here fast enough!