Understanding MLS Fixtures & Matchups
In Major League Soccer, each team typically plays 34 games with a home and away fixture versus every other team in their conference and eight inter-conference matchups. That means there are over 475 MLS fixtures and matchups to bet on during the regular season. There are also 13 fixtures for MLS Playoffs betting, as the seven top teams from each conference make the single-elimination tournament. The top team in each conference gets a first-round bye.
Like other American sports, the three most popular MLS lines are point spreads, called goal-lines in soccer, moneylines and totals. Matches don’t go into extra time in the regular season, so three-way moneylines with options to bet on both sides and a draw are offered.
For betting on MLS it’s crucial to know, contrary to other American sports, that the sportsbook lists the home club first and lists the away club second. The home and away clubs are an obvious consideration for betting but just as important is the head-to-head record, absences due to international duty, injuries and/or suspensions and form in all competitions.
MLS fixtures and matchup history is practical to know, but there are other aspects to consider. Is one team’s record against the goal line much better than the other this season or in the matchup? What is each team’s play style? Do they like to sit back and invite pressure or play free-flowing and take part in goalfests?
If there’s been a U.S. Open Cup or MLS Cup playoff matchup between two teams more recent than a league game, the cup/playoff match may also be wise to consider. Turnover in player and coaching personnel on a every yearly basis could limit the utility of the matchup history, though.