One of the most important games in the MLS this weekend involves two sides who are flying high in the Western Conference. Second placed Colorado Rapids take on LA Galaxy who are just two places below them, so there’s plenty at stake in terms of winning the division and confirming a slot in the post season (3.30pm ET Saturday).
Despite their close proximity in the standings, the sportsbooks have identified a clear favorite but there could well be some scope for value in Saturday’s contest.
As hosts and, with a five-point advantage over Saturday’s opponents, the Rapids head the moneyline market at best industry odds of just -118. The draw is your next option at a general +275 while a win for Galaxy is only marginally further back at a top price of +310.
We’ve mentioned that gap in the table; Robin Fraser’s Colorado team have 41 points from 21 matches and they sit just one point behind league leaders Seattle but with a game in hand.
LA Galaxy’s 35 points come from 22 games, so the Rapids certainly edge the overall form guide. More recently, Colorado have won four of their last five with one draw. LA have endured something of a mini slump in the same period with two defeats, two draws and just one win, away to Minnesota.
That recent form does tend to point towards a home win but let’s look at the players who could cause a potential upset at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
It was probably no coincidence that Galaxy’s slow run of form began when key striker Javier Hernandez picked up an injury. The Mexican international started the campaign in prolific form and was an early contender for the Golden Boot after scoring ten goals in his first ten games.
A hamstring injury sustained at the end of June has kept him on the sidelines ever since and the indication is that he will miss out once again.
In his probable absence, Diego Rubio will start as favorite to open the scoring at +500, followed by Cole Bassett at +600. Colorado’s Rubio is averaging around a goal every four games this season while his teammate Bassett is more subdued with just three goals in 21 appearances in 2021.
A potential contender from further down this list is Galaxy’s Ethan Zubak who is quoted at a general +1000. Zubak scores useful goals from behind the front men and could be good value at that figure.
Over in the team betting markets, Both Teams to Score is disappointingly short at -188 in most places. The stats do point towards both sides to get on the scoresheet but you can take ‘No’ on BTTS at a best of +160 if you prefer.
Total Goals betting has some similar prices if you start with a modest option. The best price to go Over the 2.5 line comes in at -163 while you can find a more healthy +150 if you push to Over 3.5.
Alternatively, a dour encounter with two strong sides canceling each other out could mean that Under 2.5 goals at +125 is the way to go.
With that scenario in mind, a 1-1 draw in the Correct Score market is currently on offer at a top price of +700. If you think that there will be a positive result at Dick’s Sporting Goods, you can get +750 on a 2-1 victory for the Rapids while the same outcome in favor of LA Galaxy is much further back at +1300.
The goals stats show that, over ten combined games involving these two sides, Both Teams to Score would have dropped on eight occasions so that 80% ratio explains those odds of -188. LA Galaxy have scored seven goals in that time while the Rapids have managed nine so the returns are healthy if not prolific.
Our Preview’s Colorado Rapids vs LA Galaxy Predictions & Picks Verdict
With home advantage and just a five-point gap behind Saturday’s opponents, there is an obvious temptation to back a positive result for Greg Vanney’s LA Galaxy. The concern is that more recent form guide which shows just one win in their last five.
In contrast, Colorado are unbeaten in that same period but form is only ever temporary and we are drawn towards a share of the points here. Neither side has exactly been free scoring of late and Galaxy are clearly missing Javier Hernandez so, with those stats in mind, we are looking at Under 2.5 goals to complete the picture.
The scoring stats over the last five games show that both sides are averaging less than two goals per game so the trend backs up our theory that we should see a tight and low-scoring encounter on Saturday. As a result, these are the picks and betting predictions for this MLS game preview:
- Take the draw on the moneyline at best odds of +295 with BetOnline.
- Go under 2.5 goals at +130 with Bovada. It is +120 with Intertops.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.