MLS Matchday 18 Previews: Bet on Defense in Toronto vs Nashville

It was an eventful week of games last week with St Louis jumping over Seattle to take the lead in the Western Conference, Philadelphia maintaining their best-in-MLS form and continuing their nine-game unbeaten streak, and the powerhouse LAFC losing a tough Champions League final to Mexico’s León. 

There was also some late-breaking news about a potential new designated player coming to Miami, so a lot is happening. Matchday 18 promises more excitement with lots of interesting matches.

This is Neil FitzGerald repping The Game Day and taking a spin around the action for this coming weekend. 

The MLS odds I use for my betting picks are current as of Thursday, June 8, at 10 a.m. ET with the indicated sportsbook. 

Atlanta vs DC Preview 

Coming off the midweek game vs LAFC, Atlanta will look to come home and continue their strong run of play. Atlanta was unbeaten in four league games prior to their midweek clash versus LAFC, and they’ve only lost once at home all year. 

They are second in the league in goals scoring with 32 but also match that ranking in goals conceded (28). Look for an entertaining match here with tired legs potentially playing a role. 

Coming off a decisive 2-1 win in Miami, D.C. United has now only lost two league matches in their last 10 games. On the flip side, they’ve only won two in their last seven, so it's a bit premature to invest too much just yet. 

Look for Wayne Rooney’s team to establish some forward momentum on the road with a solid game versus a tough Atlanta team. 

  • ATLANTA vs D.C. UNITED PICK: Total Goals Over 3.5 (+158) • FanDuel Sportsbook: With Atlanta’s offense combined with tired legs on the back end, look for an explosive match. 

Charlotte vs Seattle Preview 

Charlotte will be happy to return home after a three-game road trip including some bad luck versus Philadelphia and a difficult 4-2 loss to Columbus last week. Before those two losses, they had four wins in their last five league matches, so they will want to keep that run of strong play going as they take on a Seattle squad looking to find their own consistent form. 

The Sounders have won only three times in their last 10 league games and just lost top spot in the West last week. Seattle struggled to create offense in a tough 0-0 draw with Portland last weekend despite dominating possession in the game. 

They only managed a single shot on net and five shot attempts total versus the Timbers and will look to get the results back on track versus Charlotte this week. This match is a difficult one to call, so it’s better to lay off here. 

Montréal vs Minnesota Preview

This Montréal squad followed up a comeback result in DC with a disappointing 3-0 loss in Philadelphia last weekend. Fortunately for Montréal, they are playing at home this week where they have a 5-1 record and a four game unbeaten streak.

With the team’s struggles to score consistently, it’s best to observe this game from the betting sidelines this week.

Minnesota salvaged a 1-1 tie at home to Toronto last weekend with a last-minute goal from Honduran midfielder Kervin Arriaga. Minnesota has now only lost once in their last five league games, and they have earned four road wins this season.

Look for Minnesota to build on their momentum and leverage the return of their talisman Emanuel Reynoso to make this a tough game for Montréal.

New England vs Inter Miami Preview

Bruce Arena’s Revolution have not won a league game in their last five after being unbeaten in their previous eight. They did manage 17 shot attempts in their 0-0 game against NYCFC but still couldn’t find the scoreboard.

The Revs have a good opportunity to correct course this week versus a Miami team holding their place at the foot of the table.

Miami are now suffering through a five-game losing streak, including their latest loss at home to D.C. United where they were outshot 23-4. They will now look to change their luck versus a New England squad that hasn’t lost at home all year.

Don’t be tempted by the long odds on this team until they can show signs of salvaging their season and/or until a certain new designated player arrives.

  • NEW ENGLAND vs MIAMI PICK: New England to Win (-180) • PointsBet Sportsbook: New England’s unbeaten home record and Miami’s struggles make this an obvious pick

Orlando vs Colorado Preview

Orlando has only lost once in their last seven league games and are coming off a strong 3-0 victory on the road versus the Red Bulls. Uruguayan midfielder Facundo Torres scored his first two goals since April to lead the team in New York.

Look for the team to play with momentum as they return home and attempt to push their way up the playoff standings.

With a 0-0 tie versus San Jose, Colorado remains winless in their last six matches and are having a difficult time finding the scoresheet with only 14 goals scored to date. Previous to this run of poor form, the Rapids had been unbeaten in seven league games, so they will hope this recent draw is a new streak beginning.

It’s not a good idea, however, to speculate on this with your own money.

Toronto vs Nashville Preview

Don’t look now, but injury-riddled Toronto is unbeaten in three and have only lost once in their last five. On the negative side, the Reds’ offense is struggling and have only found the scoresheet in two of their last seven games.

Look for Bob Bradley to keep searching for the magic goal elixir in an effort to maintain their strong home record against Nashville.

Nashville leads MLS having conceded only 11 goals all season and they will look to this strength on the road against a Toronto team that doesn’t concede much at home. This squad has not lost a league game in their last eight, so it should be a grinding battle with the safer bets being on a low-scoring affair and a higher odds bet being on a road win or tie.

  • TORONTO vs NASHVILLE PICK: Total Goals Under 2.5 (-120) • PointsBet Sportsbook: Nashville’s defense against a Toronto team that is tough at home leads to minimal scoring.

Chicago vs Columbus Preview

Coming off a difficult 4-1 U.S. Open loss at home versus Houston, Chicago will look to recapture their league momentum on the road vs the Crew this weekend. Previous to the U.S. Open match, Chicago had three ties in their previous four games with only a 1-0 loss to Cincinnati to mark their streak.

They are unbeaten at home (2-0-6), so betting against them is difficult.

Coming off back-to-back wins, Columbus now leads MLS in goals scored with 33. They are a dangerous team on the attack, and Chicago’s defense does provide opportunities.

Look for The Crew to build continued momentum versus Chicago on the road this week.

Houston vs Los Angeles FC Preview

Coming off a midweek 4-1 victory in Chicago for the U.S. Open, Houston will look to stay positive against LAFC this weekend. Before that match, they had lost two league games and conceded nine goals in those two games.

Before those two league matches, Houston had only conceded 12 goals all season. It remains to be seen whether Houston can get their defensive mojo back but they will need it versus a top team in LAFC.

Coming off the midweek draw vs Atlanta and their disappointing loss in the Champion’s league, LAFC will look to restart their super strong run of performance in the league on the road in Houston. With tired legs from all of the team’s non-league matches, this may be a good game to bet against LAFC, but do so at your own peril.

Kansas City vs Austin Preview

After a strong 2-1 victory over Dallas midweek and a road draw in Vancouver, Kansas City has now only lost once in their last seven league matches. They will look to continue their strong run of play at home versus an inconsistent Austin squad.

Look for an exciting match and lots of action around the nets.

Austin survived a 22 shot onslaught by Minnesota last week and came away with a well-battled 2-1 win at home. They then exchanged 15 shots with Salt Lake and came up short, 2-1.

Look for Austin to build on the positives but be careful about investing too much now.

Salt Lake vs New York FC Preview

After a strong 2-1 road win against Austin, Salt Lake has lost only twice in their previous nine league matches. On the other side of that equation, they’ve only won three times in those same games, so it’s a difficult team to invest in just yet but they are worth watching.

Their home record is not impressive (2-4-2), so despite their struggling opponent, this is not the time to wager.

NYCFC’s struggles continue as they tied the Revolution 0-0 last week despite lobbying 17 shots toward the New England goal. With New York being winless in seven now, including five losses, it will be difficult to imagine them getting a result on the road against Salt Lake.

San Jose vs Philadelphia Preview

The Earthquakes won their first road game of the season midweek in a fortunate 1-0 victory in Seattle. They find themselves on the road again this week and could find more hurdles ahead.

The Union are the hottest team in MLS now remaining unbeaten in their last nine league games with seven wins and two draws. Argentinian forward Julián Carranza led the way last week with two goals versus Montréal in a dominating performance.

San Jose could keep things close but feels like a long shot to win outright here.

Vancouver vs Cincinnati Preview

The Whitecaps followed a massive 6-2 result hosting usually stingy Houston with a solid 1-1 draw versus Kansas City on the weekend. They also won the Canadian Championship, 2-1, over Montréal on Wednesday.

As this team begins to find consistency, they can be dangerous for opponents and exciting to watch for fans. Look for a motivated Vancouver to keep their strong home play going versus a Cincinnati team that has only lost once all season.

Coming off a midweek 3-1 U.S. Open victory at home versus Pittsburgh, Cincinnati will look to stay positive on the road vs the Whitecaps. They are also pulling away in the Supporter’s Shield race with only one loss after 15 games.

While Cincinnati has been a slam-dunk bet recently, the Whitecaps have been showing a lot of spark at home so this may be the week to lay off here.

St. Louis vs LA Galaxy Preview

St. Louis currently has moved into the Western Conference lead and has games in hand on chasing Seattle. This impressive squad was unbeaten in their last four before Wednesday’s make-up game versus Dallas and will look to push visiting Los Angeles around with their conference-leading offense with 32 goals scored.

While the Galaxy are still buried in the Western conference basement, Greg Vanney’s squad did triumph 3-2 over Salt Lake in their last league game, so there are still signs of fight here. Los Angeles has only won once on the road this year though and their offense has not been able to move into higher gears yet, so betting for a result here would be a longshot.

  • ST LOUIS vs LA GALAXY PICK: St Louis to Win (-107) • PointsBet Sportsbook: Betting on St Louis’ continued momentum and their strong offense.

Portland vs Dallas Preview

After fighting for a 0-0 tie versus Cascadia rival Seattle, Portland has won only once in their last six league games. Hopefully the trip home combined with their relatively fresh legs - having not played mid-week - will provide them with a renewed spark.

The Timbers are just on the outside of the playoff picture in the West, but they are too inconsistent right now to bet on a turnaround this week.

The Dallas defense continues to be stingy having conceded only 18 goals to date. They are coming off a 2-0 win versus St. Louis and a strong performance against a top-tier Nashville team.

They lost to Nashville 2-1 with an own goal being the difference but as they outshot Nashville 14-7, they may have deserved better. Look for FC Dallas to make it difficult for Portland, yet struggle to get the single goal that will likely lead to points.