Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas MLS Preview, Picks, Betting Predictions: Home In On Goals

Luchi GonzalezPortland Timbers play host to FC Dallas at Providence Park today, where the hosts will look to improve on a couple of upsetting results (10.30pm ET Saturday; TV: Live on ESPN+). The visitors will be hoping for better too, after losing (and conceding three goals) away against Los Angeles Galaxy last time out.

How will this matchup work out? Read on for our predictions, full preview and picks against the sports betting sites.

Recent form

Things haven’t gone well for Portland in recent weeks. The Timbers have won just one of their last five fixtures, three of which they’ve lost. They arrive at this junction off the back of consecutive defeats, losing by a goal to nil at this venue against Minnesota, before being trounced 4-1 away at Austin FC last time out. Their overall home record this season isn’t terrible, so the hosts will no doubt expect themselves to do better here.

As for the visitors, well, it has been poor. Dallas have also won just one of their last five. In fact, they’ve emerged victorious from just one of their last nine fixtures, four of which they’ve lost. When drawing against Vancouver and beating high-flyers New England Revolution recently, Saturday’s visitors looked as though they’d turned a corner, but defeat at Galaxy last time out sent them back to square one. Defensive improvements are required if they’re to start putting more W’s on their record.

Unfamiliar standings

In recent years, both Portland and Dallas have thrived in the Western Conference. However, neither are in favourable positions as we enter the second third of the campaign. Portland have found themselves outside of the all-important top eight, as they are in ninth. The Dallas boys are even worse off, saved from the plight of propping the division up by Vancouver, who are two points worse off.

Portland at Providence Park

They have lost two out of five at home this season, but in general, Portland have looked typically useful on home soil. They’ve beaten the likes of Houston, Galaxy and Sporting KC, so have clearly got something to offer.

In terms of creativity, today’s hosts have performed well, averaging a healthy 2.06 expected goals for per 90 in front of their own fans. This indicates that they have underperformed slightly in terms of goals scored, as they’ve notched eight, but that’s not their main issue right now. The big problem for the hosts is that they’re finding it hard to stop their visitors from creating, which is why they’ve recorded only one clean sheet at home this term. They’ve surrendered a slightly worrying average of 1.74 xG per 90. That needs to drop over time if the men in green are to climb the table.

Away-day struggles for Dallas

It has not been a great season all round for FC Dallas men, but their real problems have occurred when they’ve played away from the comforts of home. After five travelling games, somewhat amazingly, Luchi Gonzalez’s men are without a single point. They have lost five out of five. Defending has been a big problem, as 12 goals conceded suggests, but the real issue has been at the other end of the field.

Offensively, the Toros have struggled to get going on the road this term. They’ve scored only twice in five fixtures and are yet to score more than once in a single away game. Not only has putting the ball in the net been a huge problem for Luchi’s men, but they have also found it tough to create at times, posting less than 1.0 expected goals for in two out of five. Their average of 1.24 isn’t exactly great either, especially when placed next to their average of 2.1 expected goals against (away from home).

Is there a betting angle at the sportsbooks?

Well, both teams have struggled to keep things tight in their respective home and away matches, conceding plenty of goals between them. In fact, if we take Portland’s defensive efforts at home and combine them with the defensive exploits of Dallas on the road, we get an average of 3.4 goals conceded per game. Not to mention a combined average of 3.84 expected goals against per 90 minutes.

Given what we know about the pair defensively, it is more than reasonable to envisage goals, but if we consider their offensive efforts, the hosts are easy to side with, especially at the current odds.

The standout betting option looks to be ‘Portland to win & over 2.5 goals’. We know that neither have performed well defensively, even if the home side has done better in terms of goals against, but it is absolutely the Timbers who have shown the most going forward. They clearly better their visitors in terms of both goals scored and expected goals, which tells us that they really ought to have enough to outscore their opponents in what is unlikely to be a low-scoring fixture.

So, to conclude, this is the betting prediction and pick for this preview:

  • Take Portland to win & over 2.5 goals @ best odds of +155 with Bovada.