One of the reasons Major League Soccer (MLS) is so popular is due to its exciting playoff format. In most countries, the team with the best regular season record wins the title and the season ends with teams being relegated from the division, or promoted to the next highest division, but the MLS, like most American professional leagues, does not have a promotion/relegation model. Instead, the MLS adopts a playoff system where the top six teams from the Western and Eastern Conference compete in a series of matches that end with two teams locking horns for the coveted MLS Cup.
The top two teams receive a bye into the next round, leaving third through sixth place teams to fight it out.
Playoffs are high-pressure games. There is so much at stake. Every MLS team and its fans wants to win the MLS Cup, not only for the glory, but also because doing so awards a place in the CONCACAF Champions League.
As of December 2015, LA Galaxy have the best playoff record, winning 40 games, drawing six, and losing 23, resulting in nine MLS Cup appearances, of which they have won five.
Some teams seem to fall apart when they reach the playoffs, particularly New England Revolution. The Revs have been to five MLS Cup finals and lost all five. They have a 17-17-7 record in the other playoff matches. The Red Bulls and FC Dallas also have losing records in the playoffs.
Who do you think will reach the MLS playoffs this season? Who is your choice for winning the MLS Cup? Will you be betting money on the MLS Cup winner?
MLS Playoffs Betting Lines Today
One crucial element to a sound betting strategy is making sure you’re not only aware of the betting lines, but that you on top of any alterations or deviations.
MLS Playoff Standings Right Now
Which teams look certain to reach the playoffs, and which ones need to go on a solid run to make it? The table below shows the current MLS standings. Who is your money on?
How To Win At MLS Finals Betting
We mentioned earlier that some teams handle high pressure environments of the playoffs better than others, so make sure you research each playoff team’s past records at this stage of the MLS. Current form also plays a major role in MLS playoff success. Some teams end the regular season on a high note, while others stutter into the playoff places. Choose your teams wisely.
A prime example of this is the 2016 Seattle Sounders. The Sounders had a miserable first half of the season but entered the playoffs as one of the in-form teams. That matched with the fact that they qualified as the fourth seed, meaning a first round home playoff game.
It’s crucial to get one of those home playoff berths – either third or fourth in the conference. Teams across the league perform markedly better at home. Confidence is one of the main factors in the MLS playoffs, so tracking form is crucial for MLS bettors.
Home teams have won four of the previous six MLS Cup matches. Since the MLS changed formats – allowing the team with the best record in the final to host it – away teams have found life very difficult. However, away teams have won the last two MLS Cups so maybe the trend is shifting. Previously, home teams won four in a row, more of what you’d expect from a league whose home teams are signifcantly more proficient.
Seattle and Portland are the only away teams to have won the MLS Cup since the league changed the format of the final. Keep form in mind and also check which team is more sound defensively as those are the most crucial elements of a final. Injuries also play a key role.
Another way to win at MLS finals betting is to lock up a bonus from a major online sportsbook. The table below shows some of the bonuses you can claim, which you could use to boost your MLS finals betting.