22MLS_BettingOdds-CLT

You can't win MLS Cup in March, but there are clearly some who believe you can lose it that early.

At least that's what the latest MLS Cup 2022 odds from BetMGM indicate, with 10 teams already listed at 33-to-1 or longer to win the biggest trophy in American and Canadian top-flight men's club soccer, and four as 100-to-1 longshots.

The betting market isn't always 100% rational. So if you're a fan of one of these clubs, don't throw in the towel just yet. That said, there are underlying reasons why all 10 clubs below find themselves here.

Remember, the odds below reflect how much profit a bettor would make from a $100 bet. For example, such a wager at +3300 odds would pay out $3,400, including $3,300 in profit.

Let's take a closer look heading into Week 4.

Austin FC's odds have shortened considerably since the MLS Cup 2022 market first opened. But even after scoring an MLS record 10 goals in their first two games of the season, there's still a sense manager Josh Wolff's side needs to prove they can earn results against more seasoned MLS Cup contenders. Los Verdes failed to register a shot on target in their first such match, a 1-0 loss at the Portland Timbers.

For better or for worse, FC Dallas are among MLS clubs that fly somewhat under the radar outside of exporting homegrown players. And after missing the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs last season, their roster revamp includes quality additions like United States international Paul Arriola and Argentine teenage sensation Alan Velasco, but no Big Brand Names that would appeal to the broader betting public. They might be a bit underrated here in the Nico Estevez era, but time will tell.

Chicago Fire FC are sort of similar to Dallas, although since their move back to Soldier Field and more recent signing of Xherdan Shaqiri (and May 1 arrival of Jairo Torres), they clearly have ambitions of making a big splash in the Ezra Hendrickson era. The Fire's record of one playoff appearance in nine seasons was always going to start them off as betting longshots, and even though they're unbeaten entering Week 4 behind goalkeeper Gaga Slonina, two goals in three matches is another talking point.

As magical as Vancouver Whitecaps FC's run to the postseason under then-interim manager Vanni Sartini felt last fall, there was always a slight lightning-in-a-bottle feeling, the kind that can be hard to recapture after you break for the offseason. In 2022, Vancouver only have one point and one goal from their three matches so far, and the analytics suggest they've been good value for those results: They trail their opponents in expected goals (xG) 7.5 to 2.5.

It's never viewed as a good thing by oddsmakers when you're entering a season shouldering the burden of roster sanctions. That's where Inter Miami CF started, and so far they've struggled to overcome them, scoring just once and earning one point through three games – including two at home. The potential friction between manager Phil Neville and star forward Gonzalo Higuain also isn't helpful. The Herons have much to prove with a revamped roster orchestrated by sporting director Chris Henderson.

Perhaps when Montréal went through their rebrand they should've considered "FC Dallas – Canada" as an option. Because in terms of oddsmakers' and bettors' perceptions, there are similarities between the two clubs. Like Arriola, Djordje Mihailovic is an underrated American attacker. And when your star name is a holding midfielder – i.e. former Tottenham man Victor Wanyama – you're likely not going to generate title buzz. Their early league performances (where they are without a point) are heavily impacted by early Concacaf Champions League burdens.

Even though manager Matias Almeyda is in Year 4, speculation seems to have surrounded the Argentine's potential departure since his arrival. The Quakes' unique style of play has also made them one of the streakiest teams in MLS under Almeyda, and this year it has started with a bad run. When you concede eight goals in your opening three games – including two at home – doubts of a playoff push will surface, even after bringing in Jamiro Monteiro and Jan Gregus to strengthen the midfield.

Charlotte FC are one of only two teams yet to earn a point this season (along with Montréal), although they were unlucky in their 2-1 loss at Atlanta United in Week 3. And the record on expansion teams is clear – only one has ever won MLS Cup, and that was the 1998 Chicago Fire, back when MLS was a very different league. Manager Miguel Angel Ramirez also hasn't been shy about expressing doubts in the early roster build, suggesting Year One might include on-field struggles amid boisterous (and record-setting) crowds.

FC Cincinnati recorded their first win of the season in Week 3 with a 2-1 triumph over Orlando City SC, snapping a 14-game losing streak stretching back to the 2021 campaign. But it took exceptional goalkeeping from Alec Kann and some good fortune to do so. Incoming GM Chris Albright and manager Pat Noonan seem to be mostly evaluating the roster they inherited before moving forward with big changes, and while there's buy-in for their project, there's also an understanding it will take time.

Like Chicago, Houston Dynamo FC have ambitions of ascending to a far higher profile than they currently enjoy, as shown by their signing of Mexican international Hector Herrera to a pre-contract. Yet even though Houston are under new ownership, a new front office and a new manager, the reputation of the previous regime(s) lingers. Of the four teams at +10000 odds, they might be the best suited to take major steps forward this season, but it's hard to know until Herrera arrives this summer from La Liga's Atletico Madrid. Oddsmakers and bettors are probably also waiting.