As the league schedule moves to decision day, FC Cincinnati and St Louis CITY FC are the surprise conference winners. Both clubs matched their strong starts with ongoing results in league play and earned their conference titles and home-field advantage through the Audi MLS Playoffs.
Last year’s finalists, LAFC and Philadelphia are joined by Orlando, Seattle, Columbus, and others behind the leaders as decision day results determine match-ups and home fields.
Houston is riding a hot streak, having lost only once in their last 11 and having their own US Open Cup silverware as proof of their competitiveness. Columbus is betting on their league’s best offense to push them through the playoff rounds, while Nashville is hoping their league’s best defense can drive a reversal of their recent run of poor league results.
Let’s look at the odds of these and other teams winning the MLS Cup and review some of the best bets.
MLS Cup Odds 2023
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Odds for the MLS Cup are current as of Oct. 15th, at 11 am ET via bet365 Sportsbook.
- FC Cincinnati (+333)
- Los Angeles FC (+600)
- Saint Louis City SC (+800)
- Orlando City SC (+1000)
- Columbus Crew (+1100)
- Philadelphia Union (+1100)
- New England Revolution (+1200)
- Seattle Sounders (+1600)
- Nashville SC (+1800)
- Real Salt Lake (+1800)
- Atlanta United FC (+2500)
- Houston Dynamo (+2500)
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC (+2500)
- Portland Timbers (+4000)
- CF Montreal (+5000)
- Charlotte FC (+5000)
- FC Dallas (+5000)
- San Jose Earthquakes (+5000)
- Chicago Fire (+6600)
- New York Red Bulls (+6600)
- Sporting Kansas City (+8000)
- Minnesota United FC (+10000)
MLS Cup Winner Best Bet
Los Angeles FC (+600)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The defending MLS Cup champions have placed themselves in a position to defend their title with a good deal of home-field advantage through the playoffs depending on their decision-day result versus Vancouver.
This team played a significant number of games across multiple tournaments, and despite coming off disappointing defeats to Liga MX teams in the Leagues Cup (Monterrey) and Champions League (Leon), they will be fired up to defend their own silverware.
LAFC led MLS with an xGD of 17.9 across the season and combines a sturdy defense that was 4th best in MLS in GA (38) with a dangerous offense (53 GS), including likely Golden Boot winner Denis Bouanga.
They have only lost one in their last six, including two scoreless road draws (Philadelphia and St Louis) and three goals where they scored four or more goals. This team can play both ends of the field, and with their recent form and experience, they are our MLS bet of the day
MLS Cup Winner Contenders
Philadelphia Union (+1100)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Union sit 4th in MLS with 55 points and are unbeaten in their last eight games. They have actually only lost once in their last 12, and that was when they were ambushed 3-1 visiting basement-dwelling Toronto many weeks ago, so this is a team in fine form heading into the Audi MLS playoffs.
They are nearly unbeatable at home with a 10-1-6 record so their decision-day match result versus New England will affect their playoff schedule difficulty.
The Union’s combination of experience in big games (e.g. Last year’s MLS Cup and League’s Cup semi-finalist), roster consistency, and their ability at both ends of the pitch make them a serious contender.
[pick id= “154505"]
FC Cincinnati (+333)
FC Cincinnati proved the skeptics wrong and comfortably won the Supporter’s Shield by several points. They have only lost five games all season and were strong at home (13-2-1), making their well-earned home-field advantage very significant in the playoffs.
The team’s +18 goal differential is only slightly better than their expected goal differential (+15) but both numbers emphasize the team’s strength on both sides of the ball.
Cincinnati has actually only won three of their last seven matches, however, and all of those wins were against teams not likely in the playoffs, so there is some concern about the team’s form.
Orlando City SC (+1000)
Orlando City is one of the hottest teams in the league as the season comes to an end. They have only lost one game in 11 and two games in 16. They have won their last three games against playoff teams including Montreal, Nashville, and New England so they appear ready to be competitive.
Some concerns creep in when the team’s actual goal difference of +14 is compared to their xGD of +1.6, and a regression to expectations may be realized unless the team can find a new level on goal scoring. The good news is this squad has found results both at home and on the road this season, so they will be ready for all environments if they advance past the first rounds.
St Louis CITY FC (+1000)
St Louis surprised everyone this year and stayed on top of the Western Conference for the entire season. While they won their first five league games to start the season, you would need to go back through their last 11 games of the season [excluding decision-day] to find their final five wins.
It’s also worth noting that their season xGD ended up being negative over the course of season (-6.9) compared to their Western Conference-leading +19 actual goal differential. A regression here should be expected, so wagering requires a bit of faith that this exceptional goal rate continues.
MLS Cup Winner Sleeper
Houston Dynamo (+2500)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Dynamo are one of the hottest teams in MLS over the final weeks of the season. Not only did Houston win the US Opens Cup with a decisive 2-1 victory over Inter Miami, but they have only lost a single game in their last 11. And to be fair, that loss (to Sporting Kansas City) was four days before their US Open match, so some benefit of the doubt may be granted.
While Houston has moved into the top half of the Western Conference, their xGD on the season is only +4.6, which doesn’t compare well to their actual goal difference of +11. The reason for optimism, however, is that during their final 11 games of the season, they earned six shutouts and were a decisive +6.6 in xGD. Houston is an exciting dark horse to back.
[pick id= “154506"]
Seattle Sounders FC (+1600)
Seattle is unbeaten in their last eight games and has only lost two in their last 14 matches. In their last eight games, they have not conceded more than a single goal in any of the games and have earned two clean sheets. They lead the West in goals allowed (32), and their season-long xGD of +15.4 suggests they have been the recipients of some unfortunate luck.
Going into their decision-day match visiting St Louis, Seattle has a chance of moving into second place in the Western Conference. While this game will surely be important to the team, Seattle is one of the few teams in the league that have a winning record on the road (6-5-5), so they will be ready to surprise all-comers in the Audi MLS playoffs.