The MLS Cup playoffs rarely produce a final where the best two teams in the league meet for the title game. 2022 is an exception, which makes betting on MLS Cup odds between the Philadelphia Union and LAFC fascinating.
Here’s a breakdown of the MLS Cup Final participants, along with the best available odds and key matchups.
MLS Cup Odds
The Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia Union will travel to Los Angeles to play the Western Conference champions, LAFC. Both were the class of their conference.
However, LAFC claimed the Supporter’s Shield as regular season champions with more wins. If MLS used goal differential to determine top spot, as most other leagues do, the Union would be hosting in Chester. The last meeting in L.A. ended in a 2-2 Draw on May 7th.
How To Watch
- Teams: Philadelphia Union (19W-10D-5L, +46 GD, 1st in East) vs. LAFC (21W-4D-9L, +28 GD)
- Date/Time: Saturday, November 5th, 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT
- TV: FOX
- Location: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles
MLS Cup Odds: Key Stats For The Final
These two teams enter the final with very comparable resumes. However, one stat separates the two conference winners – goals against. Philadelphia’s back end has been very stout. Led by Goalie of the Year Andre Blake and Defender of the Year Kai Wagner, the Union conceded just 26 goals in 34 games, a league record. LAFC conceded 38 times, only second-best in the Western Conference.
Both teams recorded shutouts in one of their two home wins to reach the final. Philadelphia ground out a 1-0 win in the semifinals against Cincinnati, while LAFC sealed their hosting duties with a 3-0 win against Austin on Sunday.
The Western champs allowed two goals to crosstown rivals LA Galaxy during the “Trafico” semifinal meeting (love that rivalry name), while New York City FC scored first before the Union countered with three straight to claim the East title.
The pivotal point of the Eastern Conference final appears to be a save Blake made with the Union trailing 1-0. He blocked a shot that led to a counterpunch that set up the tying goal off a free kick. Two minutes later, Philly took the lead.
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Both teams enter with very potent offenses. Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, and Mikkel Uhre combined for 47 of the Union’s 76 goals, while LAFC got 38 of their 72 goals from Cristian Arango, Carlos Vela, Kwadwo Opoku.
Last season, only Gazdag and Vela were on their squads. These new offensive weapons spurred their club’s offensive growth this year. Both teams are capable of hanging up big numbers in games. LAFC scored three goals in both playoff games and three of the last four at home.
Home vs. Away Records
At Banc of California Stadium, LAFC went 13-2-2 in the regular season. Philadelphia had a 7-5-5 record on the road. Wins on the road are harder to come by in MLS, but the Union’s results were good enough to pair with an unbeaten home record (12 wins, 5 draws).
The Union claimed seven shutouts in the 17 road games, while LAFC had seven clean sheets at home.
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MLS Cup Same Game Parlay Strategies
For those betting, one key thing to remember: the moneyline wager displayed on the main pages on sportsbooks is for REGULAR TIME ONLY. Unlike other sports, books do not consider added extra time for grading results. Whatever the score is after 90 minutes plus any extra time will decide which of the three-way bets win.
The sportsbooks have opened with the home team as significant favorites. MLS games tend to skew towards the home team. However, I think this is a very difficult game to handicap. These two teams are evenly matched. The game in May was a back-and-forth affair where the Union scored and LAFC responded twice.
LAFC has been fairly consistent all year, while Philadelphia overcame a 2-8-3 stretch midseason, winning five straight in July to wrest control of the East.
The Union are trying to play the blue collar vs. Hollywood narrative as they travel west. Fans will be hoping to possibly celebrate two league titles this week, with the Phillies competing in the World Series just up I-95.
Here’s a same-game parlay I’ll be playing for the Saturday final.
- Union to win the MLS Cup (NOT Moneyline within regular time)
- Over 3.5 total goals
- Gazdag Anytime Goal Scorer
Want to get spicy with an in-game play? Union defender Jakob Glesnes is a sniper on long-distance free kicks. He had an otherworldly goal in LA in 2020 to secure a 3-3 draw, and scored the latest goal in MLS history (120’ +3) when he connected in last season’s playoffs and defeated rival New York Red Bulls.
If the game is close late, he might be a tasty price for Anytime Goal Scorer.