The MLS Is Back Tournament is reaching the knockout round with less than a week to go in the Group Stage. The unique format of this tournament is that the group games also count in the regular-season standings, which set the bracket for the season-ending MLS Cup Playoffs.
A few teams have improved their sportsbooks odds within the last two weeks, while others have taken a step back.
Without a doubt, LAFC are the favorites to win the MLS Cup in 2020. They began the season with the best odds at +275 with the next best team at +800. Even without 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela, who opted out of the tournament, LAFC is firing on all cylinders offensively.
In the first two group games, LAFC scored nine goals, including a 6-2 thrashing of hated rivals LA Galaxy. Diego Rossi destroyed the Galaxy with four goals and has five in the tournament, while Bradley Wright-Phillips has added two goals so far in Orlando.
The defense can be shaky, but with an all-out attack, LAFC is clearly the team to beat in 2020.
MLS Cup Champions Betting Contenders
At the start of the season, Atlanta United and NYCFC were both at +800 to win the MLS Cup with defending champions Seattle Sounders right behind them at +900. All three have struggled so far in Orlando for various reasons.
Atlanta United was the favorite to win Group E, but through the first two games, they didn’t score a goal. They have struggled to find the offense after 2018 MLS MVP Javi Martinez tore his ACL in March.
The good news is they are battle-tested and should be able to get things figured out over the long haul.
Group A was NYCFC’s for the taking, but they too have fallen flat on offense with just one goal in two losses to start the tournament. NYCFC had the best record in the East last year before falling in the playoffs last season, and losses to Philadelphia and Orlando have hurt their confidence.
Seattle should be OK moving forward with Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan leading the offense. The Sounders can still bounce back from a surprising loss to Chicago Fire and make the knockout round, where they would be a tough out for anyone.
Last year’s MLS Cup finalists, Toronto FC, opened at +1200 to win the 2020 MLS Cup, and this tournament has been good for them. Without an injured Jozy Altidore, a 20-year-old Ayo Akinola has stepped up with five goals in two games in Orlando, including a hat trick in the Canadian Classique win over Montreal. Below we’ll cover MLS Cup Champions dark horses sports betting fans should consider.
With success thus far in Orlando, a few teams that started with long odds have shown they should be considered contenders for the MLS Cup. Columbus Crew (+2100), Philadelphia Union (+2300) and Portland Timbers (+2800) all won their first two group games and clinched a spot in the knockout round.
Columbus picked up shutouts of FC Cincinnati and New York Red Bulls while scoring a combined six goals, including three from Gyasi Zardes and two from Lucas Zelarayan. The Union shutout group favorites NYCFC and have seen three different goal scorers in Orlando.
Portland, meanwhile, picked up consecutive 2-1 wins over Houston and the LA Galaxy, and a group stage finale against LAFC will go a long way in showing if the Timbers are for real.
The MLS odds will certainly change as the MLS is Back Tournament progresses.