MLS – Orlando City v Toronto FC Preview (24/8/16)


Orlando preview

Draws continue to hamper Orlando City this season and a massive 13 of their 24 fixtures have ended all square. It looks like the final Eastern Conference playoff spot will be between four teams and the Florida outfit have every chance of making them. But they simply must convert more of these draws into victories. At the weekend, they unsurprisingly picked up a point away at Colorado (0-0), although maybe this was one of the rare examples when they’d be happy not to lose away at an extremely difficult location. In that particular match they were a +1 underdog on the asian handicap, which just shows how good the result was. Kaka’s men have won 2 of their last 4 at home and it’s in these sort of matches they need to be picking up three points. They did beat Toronto here in late June thanks to a controversial 99th minute penalty, which holds the record for the joint latest goal ever scored in MLS history.

Toronto preview

Since that aforementioned defeat, TFC have actually been a very good form. They travel here having won 5 of their last 6 games and are currently second in the Eastern Conference. A win or a draw here would put them top of the pile, so the incentive is certainly there to deliver a good result. Key to Toronto's success recently has been the form of striker Sebastian Giovinco. Widely regarded as probably the best player in the entire MLS, Gio has been on fire scoring a lot of goals, some of them spectacular. He’s been aided by the recent return of strike partner Jozy Altidore. Together, they complement each other quite well and it’s a good partnership. Other parts of the team, such as the defence are often unsung heroes though and this is a side well capable of keeping things tight if they need to.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Orlando home games are usually good for overs. A total of 9 of their 12 games in Florida have end over that mark this year. There are reasons for this. The stadium is usually quite well attended and the atmosphere carnival like. It’s the sort of place which encourages attacking football and the players can get sucked into a shootout. The other factor to consider is that the franchise is still relatively new in the city and this is an entertainment business. Modern fans want to see goals, not 0-0 stalemates. Orlando know this and are encouraged to play in an attacking style. Toronto are one of those teams who have good defensive capability, but their offensive firepower is also strong. The likes of Giovinco & Altidore should be able to grab a goal or two tonight. The pick I like is over 2.75 goals. There’s always a slight risk of overs with TFC, but facing the right opponent is can also be profitable. With midweek games there’s always the half chance someone like Giovinco might be rested, but even if he didn’t play I still think there’s a strong chance this game will end over.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.89 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)

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