MLS Odds, Picks, Prediction for Portland Timbers vs. Los Angeles FC: Fade Overvalued LAFC (July 21)

Maciek Gudrymowicz/ISI Photos for Getty Images. Pictured: Portland Timbers standout Jeremy Ebobisse.

Portland vs. LAFC Odds

Portland Odds +275
LAFC Odds -120
Draw +340
Over/Under 2.5 (-175 / +128)
Day | Time Wednesday | 10:30 p.m. ET
How To Watch FS1 | fuboTV
Odds updated Wednesday morning via DraftKings.

The Portland Timbers look to win back-to-back games for only the second time this season on Wednesday night when they host an LAFC side that might be the hottest in Major League Soccer.

Portland needed Jeremy Ebobisse’s late goal to emerge with a 1-0 home win on Saturday against FC Dallas, which sits last in the Western Conference.

They’ll be stepping up in class against LAFC, which has won three in a row and four of its last five to climb to fifth place in the West.

In LAFC’s last time out, Carlos Vela scored a brilliant game-winner in the 79th minute of a 2-1 home win over Real Salt Lake.

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Portland Finally Getting Healthy

The first third of the 2021 season has been a war of attrition for the Timbers. They were routinely without six to eight regulars and at times had a double-digit count of players on the injury report.

Some like midfielder Andy Polo and goalkeeper Jeff Attinella won’t be back this year. Forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda has yet to return from the ACL tear he suffered late last season.

But this moment is the healthiest the Timbers have been.

Attacking midfielder Sebastien Blanco (ACL surgery and knee soreness) played off the bench in Saturday’s win, his third appearance of 2021.

Midfielder Cristhian Paredes (quad strain) has been upgraded to questionable after having last appeared in Week 2 back in late April.

Ebobisse has overcome his own injury issues from earlier this season to score the last three Timbers goals. He’s the only Portland player to find the net in the last 310 minutes.

The Timbers have created equal or fewer expected goals (xG) compared to their opponents in nine of their last 10 matches, according to StatsBomb, but have posted a respectable 4-5-1 record (W-L-D) in that stretch.

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Can Carlos Vela and LAFC Stay Hot?

After an uneven start, LAFC’s resurgence may be as simple as Carlos Vela’s match fitness.

The 2019 MLS MVP suffered a knee injury on opening weekend that has limited him to just 10 matches and eight starts.

LAFC’s three-game winning streak has coincided with his first three consecutive 90-minute shifts of 2021.

Unlike 2019, when Vela scored a league-record 34 goals, he has more often played provider this year. However, his stunning volley against RSL proved the 32-year-old can still conjure a perfect finish at the perfect moment.

That said, manager Bob Bradley may rotate his squad as he did the last time LAFC had a midweek game sandwiched by matches on the weekend. That would reduce Vela’s role potentially to a second-half sub.

If that is Bradley’s wish, he has most of his squad to choose from. Of four availability report absences, the most notable is midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, who is with Canada’s Concacaf Gold Cup squad.


Betting Analysis & Pick

For starters, I’ll be betting alternative total under 3.5 goals at -215 odds and a 68.3% implied probability.

Both these clubs are consistently playing more conservatively than in years past and also lagging their xG totals.

In Portland’s case that may owe to their injury carousel. In LAFC’s, it could reflect an increased emphasis on managing games.

Either way, LAFC has yet to play a game all season where the total has gone over 3.5. Portland hasn’t played one at home. The quick turnaround also probably skews things toward the defense a little.

But this has been my running play on LAFC for several weeks now, so it feels like cheating a little to offer it as my main call here.

So I’ll say this: the visitors are getting too much love.

Portland has won four of six at home, and LAFC’s last two road wins were also their first of the year.

The short turnaround combined with how hard LAFC had to work for their win over RSL gives me pause betting on a team that relies so heavily on a 32-year-old playmaker. The Timbers’ cleaner bill of health gives them more diverse options than LAFC, if none as elite as Vela or his sidekick Diego Rossi.

Taking LAFC to win at this price — -120 odds and a 54.5% implied probability — reflects the belief that this team that has played tight matches all season goes to Portland in midweek and earns three points half the time. That’s .. really optimistic, even if you’re LAFC play-by-play man Max Bretos.

I’ll go the other way and lean on a Portland-or-draw double chance wager at -125 odds and a 55.6% implied probability. I like it as low as -160 or so. The Timbers have earned 12 points from 18 at home, including wins over Sporting Kansas City and the LA Galaxy, two teams above LAFC in the standings.

Pick: Portland or draw, double chance (-125)

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