Nashville SC vs New York Red Bulls MLS Preview, Predictions, Betting Picks: Moneyline Tip

Hany MukhtarIt is the return of Major League Soccer this week and one of the first fixtures to catch the eye on the opening weekend is the matchup between Nashville SC and the New York Red Bulls (5pm ET Sunday). Can either of these teams make a winning start to the campaign? Read on for our full soccer preview with predictions and betting picks.

Moves made during the off-season

After once again making the playoffs, only to be knocked out by Orlando City in the first round, Nashville SC has had a rather quiet off-season, at least in terms of comings and goings. Their only notable acquisitions are that of Tyler Boyd, who arrives from Los Angeles Galaxy, and Dru Yearwood, who joins from Sunday’s opponents NYRB. Woobens Pacius, 22, joins having shown promise in Canada for Forge FC, but we will have to wait and see if he is ready to cut it in Major League Soccer. In terms of outgoings, there have been no departures of note, which means that Gary Smith has kept what is quite a solid squad together.

For the Red Bulls, there has been a little bit more activity. One hugely notable signing is that of Emil Forsberg, who joins from Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig, where for several seasons, the Swede was a key part of the attack. Dennis Gjengaar, a 19-year-old right winger costing around $1.5 million, arrives from Odd in Norway. There is a third Scandinavian signing in the form of centre back Noah Eile, who joins from Malmo. Such moves could turn out to be very positive indeed. To make way for the newbies, long-serving Tom Barlow has gone to Chicago, while Omir Fernandez has joined the Colorado Rapids.

Nashville Hard To Beat At Home

Gary Smith has very much had the same team for a couple of seasons now, so it’s absolutely worth touching on the fact that Sunday’s hosts are a side that is hard to get at on home soil. In 2023, they conceded just 13 goals at Geodis Park, finishing the regular season with the joint best defensive record in the Eastern Conference.

Last season, the boys from Music City also had the third best xG difference on home soil in the east, averaging +0.71. That indicates they were quite useful in terms of creating more than they allowed their opponents, which is typically a recipe for success.

Away days not their favorite

Last season, the Red Bulls, who like Sunday’s hosts made the playoffs but went out in the first round, struggled really to get going on the road. They had by no means the worst away record in the Eastern Conference, though the bar was low and it is not as if they cleared it with ease so to speak. They won only four out of 17 away games, scoring a paltry total of just 15 goals. A lack of offensive power on the road was a real problem for RBNY.

They didn’t necessarily find it tough to create chances, but taking them was a real problem. Will Forsberg solve that finishing problem? He will certainly create and make his presence felt in the final third, but he’s not exactly an out-and-out goal-getter, which is what the Red Bulls need. Of those to remain at the club, Frankie Amaya rates as the top scorer from last term with just five goals.

RBNY on top in recent times

Sunday’s hosts have had plenty of joy against most teams since stepping into Major League Soccer in 2020, but the Red Bulls are one team that they’ve struggled to get results against. They have not beaten Sunday’s visitors in five attempts, losing three out of five. When the pair last met at Geodis Park, back in October 2023, the Red Bulls won by a goal to one, thanks to a 94-minute penalty from John Tolkin.

Hosts to break duck against Red Bulls

If we look at the early betting with the USA sportsbooks ahead of this fixture, we can see that the hosts are favorites, but they are by no means red-hot favorites at best odds of +150 with BetOnline Sportsbook. It is not too difficult to conclude that such odds may be a little on the generous side.

It was during the early part of last season when Nashville were particularly strong at home, especially defensively, as they conceded just two goals in their first five home games. There is no reason as to why they should be any less sturdy this time around, and such defensive solidity can give them a platform from which to build in this fixture.

The hosts had real problems scoring goals on the road last term, averaging just 0.88 goals per away game, which doesn’t bode well given that they’re up against a home team that conceded an average of just 0.76 at Geodis Park.

Smith’s men were also way more prolific at home than the Red Bulls were on the road last term, which isn’t everything, but still indicates that the early odds on the home win may be a little generous. Compared to 0.88 goals scored per away games, the hosts notched an average of 1.47 in their own backyard. In the reliable Hany Mukhtar, who finished the season on 15 goals, they have a regular scorer in the final third, which is something that this Red Bulls team still appears to lack.

All things considered, ahead of the opening weekend, if you’re looking for one home team worth betting on to get the job done at a decent price, then look no further than Nashville SC. So for the betting picks and predictions for this MLS matchup betting preview, we go for the one wager on the moneyline:

  • Nashville to win @ best odds of +150 with BetOnline.