The MLS is Back tournament has reached the end of its group stage, with the round of 16 games to look forward to this week. There have been some entertaining games in what has been a welcome return for soccer.
Portland Timbers face Cincinnati (10.30pm ET Tuesday) with a quarter final clash against New York City FC awaiting the winners. Both teams impressed during the groups and the odds setters are hinting at what might be a close game in the Orlando bubble.
USAbetting will preview the form and the odds available before settling on our advised Portland Timbers vs Cincinnati predictions and betting picks.
Portland Timbers vs Cincinnati Moneyline Odds
Form is fairly even on each side but it is the Portland Timbers who start as favorites at odds that dip just below the +100 (evens) mark with the elite sports betting websites for American citizens. It is a tight moneyline bet, however, with both the draw and a win for Cincinnati following on at around +300.
Portland finished top of their group with two wins and a draw from their three matches, scoring exactly twice in each of those games. FC Cincinnati recovered from a 0-4 home defeat at the hands of Columbus Crew to qualify from Group E in second place. Immediate form is, therefore, comparable and Tuesday’s match could be even tighter than the sportsbooks’ betting market suggests.
Remember, those are prices for the result in 90 minutes only. The game must be settled on the night and there is the potential to go into overtime. This means that there is a separate ‘to qualify’ market. For this bet, the prices change quite dramatically with the Timbers dropping as low as -200.
We feel that the indicators are right but we would avoid the ‘to qualify’ bet. The better value is in the normal-time market but who are the men who could settle this tie in 90 minutes?
Which Prop Bets Catch The Eye?
The key man for the Timbers has been Jeremy Ebobisse who scored in each of their three group matches. The French born, USMNT striker has a relatively modest return for Portland overall but he is clearly in good touch and is a player to consider in the individual goal scorer markets.
FC Cincinnati haven’t been as prolific in front of goal, having found the net just three times in their three qualification matches. Japanese striker Kubo notched the winner in their crucial final game against New York Red Bulls in only his second match for the club so he may be the better option from a Cincinnati point of view.
‘Both teams to score’ looks a little short for this match and the indicators suggest that at least one side should complete a shutout. BTTS would have paid out for each of Portland Timbers’ three group games but it would not have delivered for any of FC Cincinnati’s three fixtures. With those stats in mind, punters may want to consider wagering ‘no’ on ‘both teams to score’ which will take the odds above +100 (evens) with most offshore bookies.
The scoring statistics also suggest that we could be in for a low scoring game overall so let’s switch to the ‘total goals’ betting. A common pick for any game is to bet over the 2.5 goals line and, for Timbers vs Cincinnati, this is quoted at a best of -137. The value may lie in betting under this line where the prices edge to odds-against (+ numbers) once again.
Other potential props will include the winning margin bet. You may not agree with our suggestion that Portland will win the game but it should be tight, no matter who progresses to the quarter finals. Depending on your preference for either team, a one-goal winning margin looks to be the pick here.
For those who want a longer-priced bet in the correct score markets, there may be just one goal in it. A 1-0 victory in favor of Portland Timbers is generally available at +700 (7/1) while the same outcome for FC Cincinnati is out as high as +1500 (15/1).
Remember, with the exception of the ‘to qualify’ bet, all of the odds here are for the result in 90 minutes, excluding any overtime.
Our Preview’s Portland Timbers vs Cincinnati Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
Trends are there to be broken but all of the indicators are pointing towards a low scoring game. While both sides have progressed to this knockout stage, neither has really stood out in qualification and we wouldn’t look to back either in the outright tournament markets.
There has also been something of a subdued atmosphere during the MLS is back competition. With the regular season interrupted, some of the games have resembled pre-season friendlies and that has had a bearing on certain results.
Taking all of these points into consideration, USAbetting will be backing Portland Timbers to claim a narrow win. They have been the better of the two teams during qualification and while knockout games can often see the form book overturned, comparative results should see the favorites edge through.
As a final reminder, please keep in mind that the following picks are for the result in 90 minutes (ie: normal time) and excluding any overtime. These are our three Portland Timbers vs Cincinnati predictions for this game:
- The first of the picks is to take Portland Timbers to win @ best odds of -134 with BetOnline.
- Bet ‘no’ on the both teams to score market @ +105 with Bovada.
- Go under 2.5 goals @ +115 with Intertops. It is +110 with Bovada.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.