Columbus Crew look to pick up where they left off last time out today (6pm ET Saturday), as they welcome the New York Red Bulls. The pair will meet for the second time in just over a month.
Having picked up the pace over the last month or so, Caleb Porter’s men were knocked off their stride in Philadelphia a fortnight ago, but they clearly didn’t let that get to them, winning by four goals to nil against Inter Miami next time out. That win made it three victories in four games, while they have now lost just one of their last six, winning each of their last five at home. Although it hasn’t been a vintage campaign for the Crew, especially given that they lifted MLS Cup last season, their recent form is hard to criticize.
The visitors come here in pleasing form too. They were victorious against the city rivals last time out, keeping a clean sheet in the process, while they have now gone seven fixtures without tasting defeat, five of which they’ve won. Offensively, they’ve not exactly set the league alight in recent weeks, but defensively, the Red Bulls have showed that they’re not a side that can be pushed about, shutting out some solid opposition such as NYCFC.
Home comforts starting to help
We all know it’s been a below par season for the reigning MLS Cup holders, especially at home, where they were so impressive last campaign. They have started to impose themselves in their own backyard of late, and as the saying goes, better late than never.
The Crew have won each of their last four Major League Soccer fixtures at home, scoring an impressive 11 goals and conceding just four in the process. Such form holds them in good stead, as does the fact that they’ve recorded an average of 7.8 expected goals for and 4.00 expected goals against.
Visitors standing tall on the road
For some time, the Red Bulls were struggling on their travels, which is why they have something of a displeasing overall away record this season, winning just four out of 14. That said, they’ve found a new lease of life on the road of late, winning each of their last three away from the comforts of Red Bull Arena.
OK, two of their recent away-day victories came against sides inside the bottom four but sandwiched between wins against Inter Miami and Cincinnati came both a win and a clean sheet away against a decent NYCFC side. After three wins and no goals conceded in three travelling fixtures, Gerhard Struber’s men should be in confident mood as they travel to Ohio.
This will be the third time that the pair have faced each other in MLS action this season. Back in August, the Red Bulls came out on top, winning by a goal to nil at Red Bull Arena, though on the overall balance of play, their victory was somewhat fortunate, at least that’s what the expected goals data shows. Columbus came out of that fixture with an xG supremacy of +0.6, so Caleb Porter’s men probably weren’t too happy with the outcome. It was long before the Crew could take revenge, though, as they came out on top at this venue little more than a month ago, winning by two goals to one. On that occasion, though the game was anything but one-sided, if anybody deserved the victory, it was the hosts.
Playing at home in this fixture suits the Columbus Crew, who are now unbeaten in their last ten home fixtures against New York Red Bulls, winning each of their last three.
Crew96 vs RBNY: How to bet this fixture?
At the current odds, a bet on the home win is hard to avoid. For starters, the hosts have a superb home record against the Red Bulls, especially in recent times while they come here having outplayed Saturday’s opponents in two fixtures already this season.
Yes, the New York Red Bulls have improved of late, while their away-day efforts have been admirable, but they’ve certainly benefitted from facing weak opposition, and 1-0 wins over sides that struggle offensively isn’t enough to suggest that they can go to Lower.com Field and really upset a Columbus side that is hot right now.
If we look at the overall home efforts of the Crew and compare them with the overall travelling efforts of Struber’s men, then a home win becomes even easier to side with at the current prices. The Crew average 1.92 goals for in front of their own fans, while RBNY averages just 1.21 on the road. The visitors also fall slightly short in terms of xG difference, averaging -0.10, compared to Columbus’ +0.20.
All things considered, the hosts probably should be shorter in the betting and thus taking the home win at odds of +160 represents a slice of value. So this is the one betting pick as the conclusion of this preview’s predictions: