Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Odds
|Orlando City Odds||-117|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-165 / +123)|
|Day | Time||Thursday | 7:30 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Thursday morning via DraftKings.|
Orlando City and Philadelphia will aim to keep pace in a tight race in the upper half of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference when they meet Thursday in central Florida.
Fourth-place Orlando City enters winless in its last three games, though its best performance during that stretch was its most recent outing via a 1-1 draw at Toronto FC.
Second-place Philadelphia snapped its own three-match winless spurt with a 2-1 home victory over D.C. United last Saturday.
Both teams will probably need to avoid any inconsistency from here on out to make a run at East-leading New England, which sits seven points ahead of Philadelphia and eight clear of Orlando City.
Orlando City Offense Missing Standout Dike
At age 34, former Manchester United and Portugal star Nani remains Orlando City’s most productive player.
However, it might be that striker Daryl Dike, currently on duty with the U.S. national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, is the Lions’ most important.
Nani has seven goals and three primary assists, most recently adding to that total with the equalizer from the penalty spot in Toronto. Yet, Orlando City’s most explosive performances — and three of its four games scoring multiple goals — have come when it also had the threat of Dike to offer.
If the 22-year-old’s strength and athleticism opens up more space for Nani and others, that would make sense. And if the Lions seem too Nani-reliant without Dike, it’s worth remembering that wasn’t the original plan.
Manager Oscar Pareja has spoken publicly of his desire to see more from attacking central midfielder Mauricio Pereyra in his second MLS season. And former Brazil national team forward Alexandre Pato still hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury in April during his MLS debut.
Pato has been upgraded to questionable for this contest, though he was also questionable against Toronto and didn’t play. Center back Antonio Carlos has also been upgraded. He has missed two games with an adductor injury.
Santos, Przybylko Guiding Talented Philadelphia
The resurgence of Brazilian forward Sergio Santos has come just in time.
Santos scored and assisted Kacper Przybylko’s game-winning goal in the victory over D.C. United, plus he also scored the late leveler in a 1-1 draw at the New York Red Bulls.
Both games were the first two since Union striker Cory Burke departed for Jamaica’s Gold Cup squad. Przybylko is tied with Burke for the club lead with four goals this campaign, but the Union’s high-press philosophy requires a forward-by-committee approach.
Goalkeeper Andre Blake is also playing with the Reggae Boyz, but manager Jim Curtin has more choices in midfield than in recent memory.
Alejandro Moreno, Jamiro Monteiro, Brujo Martinez, Daniel Gazdag and Leon Flach are all fit enough to start. And there’s an outside chance Insinho (groin) or Anthony Fontana (concussion protocol) figure in off the bench after both were upgraded to questionable.
With Blake out, Joe Bendik is likely to start against his former side. He played 91 games in goal for Orlando City between 2016 and 2018.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Home-field advantage is a big deal in MLS, but not big enough for this particular Orlando City offense to be an odds-on favorite.
As mentioned above, the Lions’ last three multi-goal games came while Dike was available. And all four of their multi-goal efforts came against opponents that were in deep struggles.
Orlando City scored three on Cincinnati in Week 3 after Cincinnati allowed seven goals across Weeks 1 and 2. The Lions drubbed San Jose, 5-0, amid the Earthquakes’ 10-match winless run.
And their wins over Toronto FC and Inter Miami came while said opponent was in the middle of losing six in a row (and still counting in Miami’s case.)
Are the Union a lot more explosive? Absolutely not. They’re also not odds-on favorites. And they’re stylistically similar to a New York Red Bulls team that has given Orlando City absolute Hell in a pair of 2-1 RBNY wins.
I usually like the underdog-or-draw wager in these situations to blunt my risk a little. However, there’s just too much value on Philadelphia, the defending Supporters’ Shield winner and loser of exactly one match since May 8. I’m taking the Union to win outright.
At +310 odds and an implied 24.4% implied probability, if you hit this kind of wager only three out of 10 times you’re still coming out well ahead.
Pick: Philadelphia ML (+310)