The 2019 MLS Cup is the championship of the top flight of American soccer. The game is held yearly at the stadium of the highest seeded team playing or the team that performed the best during the regular season.
|Los Angeles FC||9/4|
|NY Red Bulls||18/1|
|San Jose Earthquake||60/1|
|Real Salt Lake||+100/1|
|New England Revolution||250/1|
MLS action -- and betting -- leads to the final prize, the MLS Cup, making it different from some European Leagues, such as the English Premier League, that focus on the regular season.
Given the setup of the playoffs, the MLS Cup isn’t always contested between the two best teams because the two best could be in the same conference. So betting on the final could be a fairly straight-forward affair.
The team that won the regular season usually doesn’t win the MLS Cup, either. Since the first MLS Cup in 1996, the winner of the regular season has won the MLS Cup only 7 times. This is a more common phenomenon in American sports leagues with extended seasons like the NHL.
That said, you’ll want to bet on a team near the top of the league. Previous winners are consistently one of the top three teams in their conference, with the 2016 Seattle Sounders being the lone team outside the top 3 to win the MLS Cup since 2015.
Big-time matches demand big-time players, and the star players of each final almost always make an impact. In 2018, it was Josef Martinez for Atlanta United. In 2017, it was Jozy Altidore for Toronto FC. In 2015, It was Diego Valeri for Portland Timbers.
You can regularly bet on the star players of the favored team to make something happen in the MLS Cup. Unlike European Leagues where anything goes with scoring, the MLS style caters to those star players/strikers more, allowing them to shine in the big games.
MLS is very fluid. It’s run by Americans, so it’s to be expected. The worst team in the league doesn’t drop to USL, they get the best player available in the MLS SuperDraft. That’s usually not enough to change the fortunes of a team, seeing some teams see extended stretches of futility.
However, the top of the league tend to change between teams. The only team that’s been consistently at the top is LA Galaxy, and even then it’s been since 2014 since they last won the MLS Cup. From 2013, there’s been a different champion every year, even though there have been some repeats in the final.
The winner of the MLS Cup is rarely a surprise. Since 2010, most teams that have gone on to win the final were favored to win. Picking the favorite to walk away with the trophy is usually a good bet for punters at the best football betting sites.
That said, it’s common for the MLS Cup to go to extra-time. Since 2010, 4/9 MLS Cups have gone to extra-time, and 9 of the MLS Cups since 2000 have gone to extra time. 9 in 19 years? You’re just under statistically a 50/50 shot of a regular time draw, and the odds there are always nice.
The MLS Cup Playoffs are more unpredictable than the MLS Cup Final. It’s not uncommon for a 4 or 5 seed to make the conference final, or even the MLS Cup title game.
However, the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs introduce single-game elimination through the entire tournament. Previous tournaments saw two-leg games played during the conference semifinals and conference finals. The format change will definitely change the dynamic of the playoffs going forward.
The one thing that can be reliable in the MLS playoffs is that the home team usually does pretty well. The first round is a little unpredictable, but the conference semifinals and finals usually see the matches go the way of the home team.
|2018||Atlanta United||Portland Timbers||2-0|
|2017||Toronto FC||Seattle Sounders||2-0|
|2016||Seattle Sounders||Toronto FC||0-0 (5-4 in PKs)|
|2015||Portland Timbers||Columbus Crew||2-1|
|2014||LA Galaxy||New England Revolution||2-1|
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