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

Jaroslaw NiezgodaIn front of a home crowd today, the Portland Timbers search to improve their already impressive unbeaten run, but to do so they’ll have to fend off a decent FC Dallas side (10.30pm ET Saturday). Can the hosts get the desired result at Providence Park? Or will the visitors ruin things? This MLS game preview with its predictions and betting picks plans to answer those questions.

After struggling during the early months of the campaign, last season’s MLS Cup runners-up have now got it together, so much so that they arrive at this junction off the back of an impressive nine-game uneaten run. During that time, the boys in green have collected four wins and four ties, which has been enough to propel them to within touching distance of the all-important top seven in the Western Conference. It is now just goal difference keeping them out. After plenty of pleasing results at home of late, the hosts will fancy themselves to do the business tonight, even if they’re up against a less than easy opponent.

FC Dallas’ recent form isn’t as impressive as that of the hosts. The visitors were turned over by the Sounders last time out, though their defeat was a narrow one. Prior to that, they’d gone three games unbeaten, two of which saw them come out on top, so it’s fair to say that Nico Estévez’s men are by no means simple to go up against, which is why they are currently the proud owners of fourth spot in the west.

Ticking along at home

As home records go, the Timbers have a very solid one. OK, they’ve only won five out of 12 at Providence Park, which is far from outstanding, but they’ve only lost two of the other seven, so they are hard to beat. In fact, in recent times, they’ve been incredibly hard to get the better of at home, losing none of their last nine in their own backyard. The trouble is, they have found it tough to get their noses in front, tying each of their last five.

If we’re looking at things in general, the Timbers can be described as solid on their own patch. They don’t come unstuck often, they create more than they give away, while they’ve scored more than they’ve conceded overall, scoring an average of 1.75 per game, conceding an average of 1.16. Interestingly, the hosts have the fourth-best home scoring record in the division, but the third worst defensive record.

Hard to predict on the road

It’s tough for anybody to be consistent away from home, especially in a league that involves as much traveling as Major League Soccer does, and FC Dallas certainly haven’t been consistent, far from it. In fact, in recent weeks, few have been as inconsistent on the road as today’s visitors, whose recent away record reads: Loss, Win, Tie, Loss, Tie, Win, Loss.

What has been rather consistent in recent times is a lack of forward power on the road. Sure, they have scored four goals in their last four, but they’ve only scored more than once during that time, and have produced rather weak xG numbers of 0.5, 0.5, 1.9 and 0.7. It’s easy to see why only one of those four games went the way of Dallas.

Home advantage is big between these two

It’s no lie to say that playing at home in this fixture is the preference. Each of the last three renewals have been won by the home team, while none of the last six meetings between Portland and Dallas have gone the way of the away side. Five of those six have been won by the hosts.

When the teams met back at the start of this campaign, it was the FC Dallas boy who came out on top, winning by four goals to one in their Texas home. Unfortunately for today’s visitors, they’ve won none of their last five at Providence Park, losing two of the last three. Perhaps more alarming is the fact that they’ve scored in just one of their last four away games against the Timbers.

Take the Timbers on the moneyline

The Timbers have found it difficult to come out on top at home in recent times, but they’ve built solid foundations, foundations that can be built on here. Sure, they were held by Nashville and Vancouver at Providence Park recently, but their overall efforts at home of late suggest that they can do the business against a Dallas side that has underwhelmed plenty of times on the road of late.

xG is where the difference really lies. Not only have Portland scored quite a few more goals at home compared to Dallas on the road, but they’ve performed much better in terms of expected goals, so much so they look a good bet at the current odds.

While the hosts have produced a pleasing average of 1.71 expected goals for at home, holding an average expected goal difference of +0.45, the visitors have produced an average of just 1.15 xG on their travels, with an average expected goal difference of -0.36. That’s hard to ignore, as it points to a slightly bigger difference in quality than the current odds do.

Niezgoda to net again

If you want to bolster your betting armory ahead of this one, go with Portland striker Jaroslaw Niezgoda to find the net. The Polish forward has notched nine times this term, scoring in two of his last three, while he also has the positive experience of scoring away against Dallas earlier in the campaign.

Against a visiting defense that has given away plenty in recent weeks, conceding xG totals of 1.5, 1.9, 2.3 and 2.1 in their last four on the road, Niezgoda is unlikely to be without chances, so don’t be surprised if the man who averages 0.52 goals per game is celebrating again. Coming to the final betting predictions, these are our two picks to launch against the USA bookies for this preview: