Charlotte vs Austin FC MLS Game Preview, Picks, Betting Predictions: All Points To Hosts

Andre ShinyashikiA home team looking to bounce back after a poor result last time out will welcome visitors who appear to have turned a corner of late, as MLS newbies Charlotte take on Austin FC at Bank of American Stadium (7pm ET Thursday). Can the hosts get the result they need?

It’s been an up and down few weeks for Thursday’s hosts, who earlier this month waved goodbye to their first ever MLS head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez, and who have now won just one of their last five in all competitions. It looked as though the side – now managed by Christian Lattanzio on a temporary basis – had turned a corner when they got the better of the New York Red Bulls at this venue at few weeks ago, but that win hasn’t really sparked an improved run of form.

They did hold out away against the Columbus Crew last time out, though they were downed by Montreal last time out. Then again, the Major League Soccer newcomers remain in a reasonably healthy position. They’re just three points outside the playoff spots, while their overall record at home is not bad at all, so all is not lost.

As for Austin FC, well, Thursday’s visitors have lost their way a little bit recently. Sure, they are unbeaten in two, but they’ve only won one of their last four, while they’ve lost three of their last seven. That said, Josh Wolff’s men are still in a very favorable position, as they sit in a lofty third place in the Western Conference. They are only five points behind league leaders LAFC, and they’re not exactly strangers to picking up results on the road, even if at times they have been somewhat fortunate.

Charlotte mean business on home soil

Charlotte haven’t had the best time of it during recent weeks, and they have lost a certain amount of that early season bounce, but make no mistake about it, they can do the business on home soil. Lattanzio’s troops have won six out of eight at home, which makes them the joint-most prolific home winners in the Eastern Conference. Only one team has collected more home points than Charlotte. Not bad at all.

In terms of goals scored, the hosts haven’t exactly been in frightening form, but they’ve been by no means slouches in the final third either, scoring a respectable 11 in eight. Crucially, it’s what the Charlotte boys have done in the defensive third that has really paid dividends. They have shipped just five goals, keeping four clean sheets in the process. Interestingly, only NYCFC have kept more home clean sheets than the hosts, which is a stat that is anything but in keeping with their newbie status. Don’t be fooled by recent form or the turmoil, these guys can keep it tight at Bank of America Stadium.

Resilient on the road?

When it comes to digging deep away from the comforts of home, few MLS teams have been stronger than Austin FC this season. Thursday’s visitors have won four, lost three and tied one of their eight traveling games, picking up a respectable 13 points, a total that can only be bettered by one team in the west.

However, if we scratch beneath the surface, things aren’t quite as rosy. Sure, from a points point of view, Wolff’s men have done a very good job on the road, but it is easy to feel that they have been rather fortunate at times. For starters, they’ve conceded more goals than they’ve scored away from home, which is never a great sign. What’s more, they’ve struggled in terms of expected goals for, at least compared to what they’ve allowed other teams to create.

An average of 1.18 expected goals for isn’t terrible but doesn’t look great next to an average of 1.93 conceded. Frankly, given their average expected goal difference of -0.68, the visitors are fortunate to possess the away record that they do. Unless they start to create more than their opponents on a regular basis, then their points per game number is likely to drop, and drop considerably. History tells us that you simply cannot outplay xG so dramatically over the long term.

Charlotte FC hard to oppose

If we look at just the home record of the hosts and away record of the visitors, then this isn’t the easiest fixture to call, but once we open things up, even with the early market leaning quite substantially towards the hosts, a Charlotte FC win is hard to avoid in the betting.

OK, things haven’t exactly gone swimmingly of late, but the form at Bank of America Stadium is difficult to ignore. After all, they’ve won each of their last two at home and have done so in convincing fashion, scoring multiple goals on both occasions, easily dominating their opponents in terms of xG.

Expected goals is particularly noteworthy here, as it highlights a critical difference between the two. At home, Charlotte have a respectable xG difference of +0.13 this season, which is up to an excellent +0.70 if we count only their last five on their own patch, while as mentioned earlier, the visitors have a rather weak average xG difference of -0.68 on their travels.

Against a team that has collected more positive results than their efforts have warranted, Charlotte FC has a great opportunity to put a vital three points on the board here, and bettors can profit by taking them to do just that.

Shinyashiki to strike

If you can’t bring yourself to support a home win, or fancy something player-focused, then take a punt on Charlotte’s Andre Shinyashiki, who since joining in May, has scored three goals in just five starts, including in his last appearance. The Brazilian averages 0.66 goals per 90 minutes, as well as 0.44 expected goals and 3.28 shots. He is a man in form, that’s for sure. So these are the betting picks for our Charlotte vs Austin predictions and preview:

  • Charlotte FC to win on the moneyline @ +125 with Bovada.
  • Andre Shinyashiki to score at any time @ +180 with Bovada.