They meet again. The Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers have a little bit of history heading into their semifinal game Wednesday in the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando. And that history hasn’t been too kind to Philadelphia.
According to Major League Soccer’s preview, Portland has won six of the 10 meetings between the two teams, including four in a row. The Union’s only victory was a 3-0 triumph in 2015. And there have been three ties as well.
But in a tournament bracket, the next game is the only one that matters. And Philadelphia is entering with plenty of momentum after beating Sporting KC 3-1 last week. Portland took down New York City FC by the same 3-1 score.
And now, the old foes meet again, with only two wins standing between them and the MLS is Back tournament title. Let’s take a look at the MLS betting odds and available wagers at PA sports betting apps to get you ready for the game.
Philadelphia Union has underdog odds in Wednesday’s semifinal
BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse and DraftKings Sportsbook have the Philadelphia Union at +170 in Wednesday night’s game, which will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on FS1. The Timbers are +140, and a tie is +255. The game’s total is set at 2.5.
If you’re interested in other wagers, BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse have more than 230 bets available for the game, providing plenty of avenues into the action. Players can wager on alternate over/unders, the game’s exact score, halftime/full-time lines and a number of other options.
Goal scorer bets offer extra returns
Most of the region’s sportsbooks are also offering bets on the game’s goal scorers, which can bring much better returns than a traditional wager on a specific team or total. Portland’s Jaroslaw Niezgoda is the favorite to be the game’s first goal scorer at +440.
Union forward Kacper Przybylko follows closely behind at +450, along with veteran Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri (+450). Pricing is the same for each of those players to be the game’s last goal scorer. Other players and their first/last goal-scoring odds are as follows:
- Andrew Wooten (Union): +600
- Sergio Santos (Union): +600
- Sebastian Blanco (Timbers): +650
- Jeremy Ebobisse (Timbers): +650
- Yimmy Chara (Timbers): +800
- Michee Ngalina (Union): +800
- Ilsinho (Union): +800
Odds are available on a number of other players if you’re seeking an even bigger return. BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse also has pricing for players to score at any point in the game. And with the Union and Timbers combining for six goals in their quarterfinal games, there’s some potential for a high-scoring contest.
Showdown contests should be posted on DraftKings soon
Daily fantasy players should also have plenty of options for showdown contests available on DraftKings. DraftKings has been posting single-game showdowns throughout the MLS is Back Tournament and should have Wednesday night’s offerings posted closer to kickoff.
In a showdown, players select a captain who earns 1.5 times their fantasy points and then five other players who earn traditional values. Rosters must also fit under the prescribed salary cap, which provides an added degree of difficulty.
Orlando, Minnesota meet in the other semifinal Thursday
After Philadelphia and Portland face off Wednesday, Orlando City FC and Minnesota United meet a day later on ESPN2. BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse and DraftKings Sportsbook have Orlando City as the favorite at +148.
Minnesota is +165. A tie is +250, and the game’s over/under total is 2.5.
That game should have a variety of wagers available beyond the moneyline as well.
MLS return provides hope for other sports, betting opportunities
As one of the first major sports in America to return from the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Soccer faced a number of challenges in restarting its season. There were positive tests, and disrupted schedules too.
But the MLS is Back tournament stayed on track, making it through pool play and now advancing to the tournament’s semifinal stage. It’s a positive sign for the other sports leagues that are playing now (MLB, NBA, NHL) and perhaps a hopeful indicator for our future betting opportunities.
More of those arrive Wednesday night, when the Timbers and Union face off in the MLS Final Four.
There’s history between them, but all of that is irrelevant now.
The next game is the only one that matters.