Philadelphia Union vs Atlanta United Preview, MLS Game Betting Picks & Predictions: Home Win

Ezequiel BarcoPhiladelphia Union go in search of another win having got themselves back on the right path last time out, but beating a rejuvenated Atlanta United side, even at their home of Subaru Park, won’t be easy (3.30pm ET Saturday). The visitors are on the up after three consecutive victories.

Things had started to go wrong for the Union, who ahead of last weekend found themselves flirting with a position outside of the coveted top seven in the Eastern Conference, but Jim Curtin’s men gave their postseason hopes a boost by beating Orlando at this venue, re-finding their shooting boots in the process, scoring three goals. Prior to that win, Philly had gone four games without picking up maximum points, so it was a timely return to winning ways.

While the hosts needed to win last time out to give themselves a much-needed confidence boost, Atlanta were able to get the job done thanks to no shortage of confidence, and Saturday’s visitors were in confident mood because of their recent form. Gonzalo Pineda’s men have now won three on the bounce, while they’ve only lost one of their last eight, winning each of the other seven. If there’s a form team in Major League Soccer right now, then it’s the Five Stripes, who’ve been scoring for fun of late. Make no mistake about it, with key men like Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez in form, they are in Philly to win.

Home is where the heart is

The Union did hit a bit of a roadblock recently, losing three on the spin, but their form at home has rarely waned. Just one loss at Subaru Park since the first week in May shows a side that is solid. Not only can the hosts avoid defeat at home, but they rarely fail to pick up maximum points, winning seven of their last ten in front of a home crowd.

By no means small scorers, the Philly boys don’t dazzle like some teams in terms of goals scored, scoring 18 times in 13 home matches, but it is at the back where they’re particularly strong, surrendering only ten goals, keeping five clean sheets in their last ten. Moreover, they have conceded just five goals during that time, conceding no more than once at any point. You’d have to go back to that first week in May to see the last time Curtin’s men conceded two or more in their own backyard. Defensive solidity indeed.

Away-day struggles alleviated

For Atlanta, playing on the road was previously a problem, though the troubles of the Five Stripes seem to be a thing of the past, as they’ve now gone three away games without tasting defeat, which is no mean feat in MLS. Moreover, Saturday’s visitors have lost just one of their last six travelling matches, winning each of their last two.

Atlanta United has become a much more efficient machine in front of goal, even away from home, where they’ve scored at least twice in each of their last four, notching a total of nine times. They’ve now gone six away games without failing to score, only they’ve not been able to prevent the opposition from doing so either. In fact, it’s now no fewer than 11 road games since Pineda’s men kept a clean sheet. Given the way things have been going, the visitors will undoubtedly go to Subaru Park thinking that they can win, but they won’t try and do so by keeping things tight, that’s for sure.

Know each other well

Not only has this been a regular fixture for both in recent years, but the pair have seen no shortage of each other this season. Thanks to them being drawn together in the CONCACAF Champions League earlier in the year, this will be the fourth renewal of this fixture in 2021.

The promise of a hard-fought battle in continental competition was ended when Philly won by three goals to nil at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, though in the league at that venue, there was far less between the pair. They walked off the pitch locked at 2-2, though the result was probably welcomed much more by the hosts than by the Union, who finished the game having created 2.1 expected goals compared to Atlanta’s 0.9.

MLS Game Predictions: Best betting option?

This is a tricky game when it comes to deciding our betting predictions for this MLS game preview. The Union are very strong at home, while the Five Stripes arrive at this junction full of confidence having beaten allcomers of late. The difference could be that it is the hosts who are better, in general, at digging deep and getting over the line. After all, they’ve won seven of their last ten when surrounded by the comforts of home, while Atlanta have won just two of their last ten on the road. What’s more, the hosts collect an average of 1.85 points at Subaru Park. The visitors have obtained an average of only 1.00 point per 90 minutes on their travels this term.

There are other differences that tip the scales quite heavily in favor of the hosts too, such as the fact that they have a modest but respectable average expected goal difference of +0.32 at home. Pineda’s men have a disappoint average expected goal difference of -0.61 on the road, and even when they’ve been winning of late, they’ve perhaps been a touch fortunate, emerging from their most recent away fixture, which they won by two goals to one, with an expected goal difference of -1.6.

If we also factor in that Philly dominated the reverse MLS fixture, it’s hard to look beyond a home win at the current odds, despite the recent upturn in fortunes enjoyed by the visitors. So, for the predictions, this MLS game preview is siding with the one betting pick with the leading online bookies for USA players:

  • Bet Philadelphia Union to win on the moneyline @ +105 with Bovada. This option is +102 with BetOnline and -105 with Intertops.