Earlier this month, the MLS announced its return with a one-off tournament titled MLS is Back. The sporting competition will not be a continuation of the season, but an independent tournament. However, it’s a fantastic opportunity to bet on the MLS.
This revolutionary event contains new rules, regulations and prizes at stake. From July 8 to August 11th, teams have the opportunity to fight for regular-season points, a Concacaf Champions League spot, and prize money.
MLS Return Future Odds
|LOS ANGELES FC
|SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
|NEW YORK CITY FC
|NEW YORK RED BULLS
|REAL SALT LAKE
|SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
|NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTIO
|SPORTING KANSAS CITY
|INTER MIAMI CF
|ORLANDO CITY SC
MLS Return Odds Breakdown
Los Angeles FC has the best odds to emerge as Champions of the tournament given their successful 2019 season, at +400. Last year, LAFC surfaced as the Western Conference winners and beat out several competitive candidates.
Though the club is merely 3-years old, they have established themselves as true contenders to become one of the most successful teams in the league. Their forward, Carlos Vela, has proved unstoppable recently. After beating records and outshining opponents, he adds to the reason that LAFC is the clear favorite.
Atlanta United is tied for second in the rank with +700 after a very dominating arrival to the MLS. The 2018 MLS Cup champions continue to remain competitive, winning some of the toughest battles on the field during the 2019 season.
The up and coming club boasts a youthful roaster that is bound to make an impact in Orlando. Within their three years in the league, Atlanta United has managed to win the MLS Cup, the U.S. Open Cup, and the Campeones Cup.
The Seattle Sounders
The Seattle Sounders also make an appearance with a +1000 odds to win the tournament. They arrive at Orlando as the reigning MLS Cup champions, having defeating Toronto FC in the 2019 final. The Sounders feature a fit squad that may intimidate opponents in this tournament. Despite a setback with training, the Seattle Sounders have reported minimal injuries in their star-studded roaster.
Rounding out the top five most favorable teams are NYCFC and Toronto FC with +1400 and +850 odds to win, respectively. The New York based club is known for some of the MLS’ best players but struggled a bit before this tournament. Nevertheless, head coach Ronny Deila promises an impressive appearance in this one time only tournament.
Toronto, on the other hand, have less to prove as the second-best team in the MLS during the 2019. Despite coming up short in the final, the Canadian side displayed optimal strength that may serve useful when comforting the clubs in group C.
Though the top five favorites are set, the crowd loves a good underdog story.
The LA Galaxy currently boast +2000 odds, but they might fail to consider the introduction of Chicharito into the squad. The beloved Mexican player is relatively new to the squad, minimizing his impact on the field.
He is known to be quick and precise when on the ball, creating problems for opponents. After his stint in Europe, Chicharito Hernandez exclaimed his excitement to dominate the MLS. LA Galaxy could have a fairytale ending to this tournament.
Next on the list is Sporting Kansas City at +1400 odds. Despite their ranking on the table, Kansas City are strong side. Alan Pulido, one of their star players, has been tabbed an MLS is Back Tournament MVP contender.
Pulido performed admirably and consistently for the club, serving as a dependable player. Known as a dark horse candidate for MVP, Pulido might serve as Kansas City’s Cinderella story.
Lastly, D.C. United serves as the longshot to win with +3300 odds. Though their numbers are not ideal, the D.C. based team are not getting enough respect from oddsmakers.
After the departure of Wayne Rooney, United struggled. However, they are fast-tracked to the perfect rhythm conducted by longtime coach, Ben Olsen. The addition of Julian Gressel to the squad adds a level of spice and dependability that may serve as their ticket to victory. It may be a longshot, but it would be foolish to dismiss D.C. United chances.
MLS Tournament Explained
There will be 54 games in total, 39 in the group stage, and 15 during the knockout round. The format is quite simple.
The 26 MLS clubs are split into six groups. The Eastern Conference contains three groups, one of six teams and two of four teams each.
The Western Conference contains three groups, each consisting of four teams. Every club will play three group stage matches over the course of 16 consecutive days for 39 games.
- New York City
- Philadelphia Union
- Inter Miami, Orlando City
- Chicago Fire
- Nashville SC
- Seattle Sounders
- FC Dallas
- San Jose Earthquakes
- Vancouver Whitecaps
- Toronto FC
- Montreal Impact
- D.C. United
- New England Revolution
- Minnesota United
- Sporting Kansas City
- Real Salt Lake
- Colorado Rapids
- Atlanta United
- Columbus Crew
- New York Red Bulls
- FC Cincinnati
- LA FC
- LA Galaxy
- Houston Dynamo
- Portland Timbers
The two highest ranked teams from each group will progress to the knockout stage. Since group A contains six contenders instead of four, the three highest ranking clubs will progress.
Draws in ranking will be determined by regular season tie-breaking procedures.
Prizes and Rules
The winner from each knockout match will progress further in hopes of reaching the finals on August 11th. Should a match finish in a draw at the end of regulation, players will proceed directly to a penalty kick shootout.
Regular season points will be awarded at each of the 39 group-stage games, counting toward the 2020 regular-season standings. The winner of the tournament will earn a spot in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. The competition will also award players the chance to earn additional bonuses as part of the $1.1 million prize pool.
The rules for this tournament are different. For starters, each team can make up to five substitutions per match instead of the usual three. Clubs will also be able to announce a match day roaster featuring up to 23 players.
The Professional Referees Organization will have full access to Video Review for all games.
All disciplinary calls received during the first two matches of the 2020 regular season will carry over to the tournament.
Though much of the regular season was cancelled due to COVID-19, the MLS is Back tournament continues to have certain favorites going into the action on July 8th.