MLS – Columbus Crew v Philadelphia Union Preview (24/8/16)

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Columbus preview

The Crew surprised everyone by beating New England 2-0 away from home at the weekend. In a year of poor results for them, especially on the road, nobody really thought they would go to Foxboro and obtain victory. It was their first away win of 2016 and only the second time they kept a clean sheet on their travels. It was also just the second time they won a match since April 24th! So they bucked all sorts of trends in that match and can now maybe look upwards. The Crew have generally played some better football in recent weeks and were perhaps unlucky not to win certain home fixtures. Incredibly, they’ve drawn 8 out of 12 home games this term. Despite only losing once, they have the worst statistical home record in the entire MLS! With all of their key attackers fit again, confidence will be improving though and they are only five points off a playoff spot with a game in hand.

Philadelphia preview

Similar to their opponents, Philly also beat New England away from home recently, albeit by a much bigger scoreline of 4-0. They followed that up with a disappointing home loss to Toronto though (1-3). Philly are still well situated in the Eastern Conference table, but there’s no doubt that their form has declined a little bit in recent weeks. Victories haven’t been as commonplace and whilst their participation in the playoffs is unlikely to come under that much threat, they would dearly love to end the season strongly to obtain a high seeding position. On the road their general results have been quite poor, only winning twice all year. Philly are one of those teams who seem to be constantly involved in high scoring matches. A whopping 11 of their last 12 encounters have ended with over 2.5 goals in them!

Conclusion & betting analysis

Philadelphia Union matches are almost an automatic over bet every week at the moment! Their style is so open and their defence so vulnerable that it makes sense to keep backing the overs until they dry up. This looks set to be a wide open attacking fixture in which both teams go for the win. Despite their poor year, the Crew are still somehow in playoff contention but must be winning matches like this one. The three points obtained at the weekend is sure to give them a real boost and re-ignite their confidence. They certainly won’t be settling for any draw here and push hard for victory. I’m not sure who will win but surely at least three goals will be scored as a bare minimum. With that in mind, backing the over 3 goal line looks like a smart move. I said at the weekend, sooner or later these Philly overs will dry up, but this doesn’t look like the fixture in which it’ll happen. In terms of match betting, Columbus are around 1.85 on a -0.5 asian handicap which looks too skinny, so I prefer just to stick with the over pick.

Prediction: 3-2
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 3 goals @ 1.91 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)