Atlanta vs. New England Odds
|New England Odds||+130|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-135 / +110)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 5 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Friday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Atlanta United welcomes the New England Revolution on Saturday in a match where the focus will be squarely on who isn’t on the field.
Gabriel Heinze revealed Thursday that his decision to make striker Josef Martinez train alone and away from the squad was not related to fitness as previously stated.
The result is speculation that the first-year manager is in a feud with the club’s all-time leading scorer that is likely to end poorly.
The Eastern Conference-leading Revolution have no such drama entering Saturday.
But they do have troubling recent defensive form, conceding 11 times in their last five games.
Where are the Goals for Atlanta?
From a need standpoint, Heinze’s rift with Martinez could not come at a worse possible time.
Atlanta has scored only 13 goals through 12 games, and their expected goals (xG) have been every bit worthy of that sparse production, ranging from 12.0 to 13.4 depending on the source.
Although the Five Stripes scored twice — both on set pieces — in a surprising 2-2 draw at Nashville on July 7, that masked a lack of chance creation.
Heinze’s squad created a season-low 0.3 xG in that contest — a factor partly of going down to 10 men after halftime — and they’ve failed to generate more than 1.1 xG in their last eight games, according to StatsBomb.
Winger Ezequiel Barco remains away with Argentina’s Olympic team. Holding midfielder Santiago Sosa is serving a yellow card suspension.
Between those absences plus other injuries and international call-ups, United has 12 players listed as out or questionable on the club’s availability report. That’s not including Martinez.
Striker Erick Torres has been given every chance to snap out of a scoring funk. He’s healthy and available, but has zero goals in eight appearances and five starts, and worse is only averaging 0.18 xG per 90 minutes.
New England Looks to End Winless Streak
The Revolution are fortunate to have most of their roster healthy and lose only goalkeeper Matt Turner (United States) and winger Tajon Buchanan (Canada) to call-ups to the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
But Turner’s importance reared itself when Brad Knighton badly misplayed the ball in the sequence leading to the opening goal in Toronto’s 3-2 win at Foxborough on July 7.
That result extended New England’s winless run to a season-long three games, though the Revolution’s ability to nearly climb out of an early 3-0 hole could be a confidence booster.
Carles Gil scored his second goal to go with his MLS-leading 10 assists during that comeback, and Adam Buksa added his team-leading fifth goal.
Despite their first home loss in six matches, the Revs’ 2.4 xG generated (according to StatsBomb) were their most since a 3-1 home win over the New York Red Bulls on May 22.
Contrary to their five home wins, New England has a decidedly more modest away record of 2W-2L-3D, and has created more xG than their opponent in only one away game — their 1-0 win at FC Cincinnati on May 29.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Heinze and Martinez episode follows a similar episode in Toronto, where a dispute with then-manager Chris Armas led TFC striker Jozy Altidore into exile.
There is a key difference, though: Unlike Toronto, Atlanta doesn’t appear to have quit on Heinze.
Atlanta may be on a seven-match winless run, just as Toronto went seven games without a win. But in Atlanta’s case, five of those matches have ended with United earning a point — a far cry from the six consecutive Toronto defeats leading to Armas’ firing.
So I think you can expect a good effort from Atlanta, even if the performance may be limited based on Heinze’s limited squad availability. And that puts a ton of value here on the draw.
Even with only two away wins, New England is a fair favorite. But realistically, there’s a much greater chance this depleted Atlanta side emerges with one point rather than three, since it’s just not clear where the goals will come from.
But at +295 odds and an implied 25.3% probability, for me the price on the straight draw is too good to ignore.
Pick: Draw ML (+295)