Chicago Fire vs Atlanta Utd Preview, Picks, Betting Predictions: Home In On Moneyline

Jhon DuranIn-form hosts Chicago Fire welcome out-of-sorts Atlanta United to Soldier Field on Saturday (5pm ET). They’ll look to extend their already impressive winning run. In contrast, the visitors will be hoping to win for the first time in three Major League Soccer fixtures.

It looked as though the Fire were going to remain consistently inconsistent when they followed up what was a pleasing home win against the high-flying Philadelphia Union with back-to-back defeats, one of which occurred in front of a home crowd. However, the Fire have pulled their socks up and stood strong, for the first time this season, winning three games straight against Toronto FC, the Seattle Sounders, and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Such a run of results should mean that Ezra Hendrickson’s men come into this game feeling strong.

Unlike Saturday’s hosts, the Five Stripes have found consistency hard to come by in recent times. They’ve tied two, won one and lost two of their last five fixtures, while they arrive here without a win in two, tying first to Orlando City at home, before losing on the road at LA Galaxy last time out. They need a reprieve, though playing on the road, based on their other traveling efforts this season, doesn’t exactly present the perfect opportunity to bounce back.

Defensively sound at home

At first glance, the Fire don’t have an amazing record at Soldier Field, picking up a modest 18 points from 11 games in front of a home crowd, though they’ve only lost three times, while they’ve found the winning habit in recent times, winning four of their last five at home. What’s more, Hendrickson’s troops have started to become increasingly hard to breach, keeping a clean sheet in all but one of their last five home games, conceding just a single goal during that time.

In terms of goals against, the Chicago boys are better than most of the other teams in the Eastern Conference. Only league leaders Philadelphia and two other teams have conceded fewer home goals than the Fire, who have shipped a very respectable eight goals on their own patch this term, conceding an average of just 0.72 per 90 minutes. In addition, they’ve conceded an average of only 0.79 expected goals, which is the second best in the division. The visitors will certainly have to work hard to impose themselves offensively.

Still struggling on the road

Atlanta United’s away-day woes continue. Saturday’s visitors have still won just one traveling fixture this season, while they have picked up only a single point from their last four away games, taking just two points from their last eight away from the comforts of home. Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons. Number one, they can’t keep teams out, keeping just one clean sheet, conceding multiple goals in each of their last seven. The second reason is that they consistently fail to match their opponents in terms of chance creation. The Five Stripes have the fifth worst average expected goal difference away from home in the east, averaging -0.47 per 90 minutes.

Home is where the heart is in this fixture

This is a fixture for the home team, plain and simple. The pair have met plenty of times since Atlanta United entered Major League Soccer back in 2017, sharing the field on 11 occasions to be exact. Somewhat strangely, none of those 11 games have ended all-square, and only two of them have been won by the team playing away from home. Each of the last seven renewals of this fixture have gone the way of the hosts, with Atlanta winning four out of four at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and the Fire winning three out of three at Soldier Field. The last meeting in Chicago saw Saturday’s hosts win by three goals to nil.

When the pair met earlier in the campaign, back in May, Atlanta United won by four goals to one in their own backyard and goals aren’t unusual in this fixture. Four of the last five have contained three or more goals, with three of those four containing four or more. Interestingly, in each of their last three home games against Atlanta, the Fire have scored two or more goals.

Home win on the cards

As mentioned in this CFFC vs ATLUTD preview above, the Fire don’t have the most menacing home record in terms of wins, but they are anything but easy to beat and are very difficult to overlook here, especially at odds that look quite generous.

Sure, the hosts aren’t the most creative, scoring fewer goals than most, but they certainly know how to keep them out, and that defensive strength has acted as the catalyst for several home wins of late. Defensive strength is certainly not something that the Five Stripes boast on the road, nor do they have a habit of doing anything other than tasting defeat. If we combine this with the fact that Hendrickson’s men boast an average expected goal difference of +0.32 at Soldier Field, compared to Atlanta’s of -0.47 on the road. Such stats suggest that the hosts probably ought to be shorter in the betting. They may well be come kick off.

Don’t discount Duran

For player props fans, Jhon Duran is the guy to support here. The youngster has recently exploded onto the scene for Chicago, scoring twice when the Fire were last in action at Soldier Field, while he now has three goals and three assists, despite playing just 574 minutes in Major League Soccer so far this term.

With an average of 0.47 goals per 90 minutes and 0.97 expected goals per 90 minutes, the 18-year-old Colombian, who currently averages 3.76 shots per game, is likely to be recipient of lots more starts before he’s much older, and if he’s in from the off on Saturday, he’s well worth betting on the find the net for the third time in three games.

So these are our CFFC vs ATLUTD predictions and betting picks for this MLS game preview:

  • Chicago Fire to win on the moneyline @ +110 with BetOnline.
  • Jhon Duran to score any time @ +225 with Bovada.