With ten games of the regular MLS season behind us we can start wondering about the cup final. Already a couple of sides, Dallas and Toronto, look well equipped to go all the way.
If you’re up for a bet on the MLS Playoff Final we’ll talk you through the favourites and offer some food for thought.
The team turning heads this season is FC Dallas. With eight games under their belt, Óscar Pareja’s team are yet to lose a match.
They don’t have the European star names of LA Galaxy or New York City FC in the east, but neither did Seattle Sounders last year when they lifted the trophy.
Dallas have been dominant for a few years now, finishing top of the Western Conference in 2015 and 2016, but falling at the semis last year.
At the time of writing, last year’s beaten playoff finalists are on a six-game win streak and just behind Dallas in the betting.
Toronto have opened up a gap at the top of the Eastern Conference, and unlike Dallas do have a household name.
Sebastian Giovinco is still only 30, and left Juve in 2015 when he was at the peak of his powers, and has never looked back. The little Italian has hit 51 in 81 games stateside, and is as good as ever this season.
Others to Consider
Patrick Vieira’s New York City FC have two of the all-time greats in David Villa and Andrea Pirlo.
Their best days are behind them but they can call on experience when it counts.
Their cross-town rivals New York City Red Bulls have fewer big names but are always in the reckoning, spurred on by Bradley Wright-Phillips and USMNT star Sacha Kljestan.
Something to take into account when betting on the MLS playoff final is that the no Eastern Conference team has won it since Columbus Crew in 2008.
This may well be a coincidence, and Toronto from the east lost out on penalties in last year’s final, but year after year a Western franchise takes the crown.
Betting on the MLS Playoff Final – How It Works
The identities of the twelve teams in the playoffs is decided in October at the end of the regular season.
And from there you have a two-legged knockout competition, which the conference winners enter at the semi-final stage.
So, FC Dallas and Toronto FC are flying at the moment. But as the MLS Cup is decided with a knockout competition, consistency over a season will only take you so far.
Bear in mind that Seattle were 4th in the West and only 7th overall in 2016. But that didn’t stop them surprising everyone the playoffs and grinding out a playoff win.
And Toronto made the final after finishing third in the Eastern Conference.
Fancy a Bet on the MLS Playoff Final?
Those are a few of the teams in the running for the MLS Cup, but with two thirds of the regular season left to play everything is still up in the air.
Keep an eye on Paddy Power for the odds to emerge as we get closer to the playoffs in October and the big game in December.