MLS Odds, Picks, Prediction: Toronto FC vs. Orlando City Betting Preview (July 17)

Ira L. Black – Corbis/Getty Images. Pictured: Ayo Akinola.

Toronto FC vs. Orlando City Odds

Toronto FC Odds +140
Orlando City Odds +170
Draw +290
Over/Under 2.5 (-180 / +145)
Day | Time Saturday | 7:30 p.m. ET
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Odds updated Friday night via DraftKings.

Toronto FC will play its first true home game since March of 2020 when it welcomes Orlando City SC to BMO Field on Saturday night.

Major League Soccer secured approval from government authorities allowing both Toronto and Montreal to host their first home games since the pandemic this weekend. Toronto had played its previous home matches in 2021 at Orlando City’s Exploria Stadium.

Orlando previously defeated Toronto 3-2 in what was officially an “away” game at its own venue back on June 16.

But that may feel like long ago for City, which has lost two in a row after surrendering an early lead in a 3-1 loss at the Chicago Fire on July 7.

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Toronto FC Moves Home

The Reds began life after the firing of manager Chris Armas with a surprising 3-2 victory at the Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution in their last match.

But in some ways it was an offensive performance that had been coming.

Toronto had already scored two goals twice during a six-match losing run that eventually cost Armas his job.

And against New England, the Reds had 2020 MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo, 2021 acquisition Yeferson Soteldo and first-choice striker Ayo Akinola on the field at the same time for the first time this season.

Akinola has since departed to join the Canada national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Toronto has also lost fullbacks Richie Laryea to Canada’s squad and Kemar Lawrence to the Jamaican side.

However, striker Jozy Altidore — once the top option ahead of Akinola — has rejoined full team activities. He was training on his own for nearly two months following a dispute with Armas in late May.

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Orlando City has Rested Stars

Orlando fell victim to a suddenly resurgent Chicago Fire side its last time out, but it’s fair to note the Lions were extremely shorthanded for most of the evening.

Manager Oscar Pareja chose to rest team-leading scorer Nani and midfield playmaker Mauricio Pereyra for the first 75 minutes of the encounter.

Coming into the midweek contest, the 34-year-old Nani had made four previous starts, and the 31-year-old Pereyra had started three of the last four. By the time the duo saw the field, Orlando’s lead had turned to a deficit.

Striker Daryl Dike (United States) is still on Gold Cup duty, but former Brazil national team striker Alexandre Pato has been upgraded to questionable for the first time since suffering a knee injury in his MLS debut back in April.

Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has also returned from international duty with Peru at the 2021 Copa America.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Entering this weekend, the average goals per MLS game has risen by 0.13 to 2.64 since late May. The play of these two sides has been a big driver.

Toronto’s 29 goals conceded and 3.75 goals scored and conceded per game are both MLS highs. More recently, there have been five combined goals scored in four of Toronto’s last five matches.

The Reds remain nonathletic and older at centerback and holding midfield, and now have to deal with the absences of Laryea and Lawrence.

Orlando began the season as one of league’s best defensive teams before slipping considerably since, conceding twice in four of their last six matches. In each case, the expected goals allowed were also in the neighborhood of 2.0.

By now you know where I’m going. But I see more value betting the total at 3.5 goals rather than 2.5, with +135 odds that connote a 42.6% implied probability.

That’s because I see two probable scenarios here.

  1. Toronto rides the momentum of their return home to an early goal and then forces Orlando to play a wide-open encounter.
  2. The Reds fail to score early but continue to dominate play, leading to a tightly decided contest where Orlando picks its spots to mount a counterattack.

In the former case, there’s at least four goals. In the latter, likely no more than two.

Pick: Total over 3.5 goals (+135)


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