They may be the current holders of the MLS Cup but a poor start to the new campaign leaves Greg Vanney’s Toronto FC in need of maximum points when they make the trip to Columbus Crew in this late Saturday kick off.
They’ve only played eleven games, two less than most of their rivals, but just three wins and a draw in that time leaves Toronto in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, just one point ahead of bottom of the table DC United. In contrast, Crew are enjoying a positive campaign and sit in second ahead of this contest but despite that gap in the table, the market is very tight for this one.
Columbus Crew do start the game as favourites but Gregg Berhalter’s men are only just ahead at odds of Even Money with William Hill for the win. The draw follows at 23/10 with Betway and the same firm has 5/2 on a victory for Toronto FC.
Everything does seem to point to the favourites: Crew have the home advantage, are 15 points clear of their opponents in the table, and form is with Berhalter’s men coming into the match up.
Toronto looked to be priced more on reputation rather than actual threat but should we simply side with the favourites here?
Individual Goal Scorers
It’s a tight game to call so we’ll look now at the players who can decide the destiny of this tie: In recent years, much of Toronto’s success has been built around Sebastian Giovinco, the Italian international striker who had a modest record in his domestic leagues but has really thrived since making the switch to MLS in 2015.
Giovinco’s overall record is impressive with 71 goals in 120 matches for his Canadian side but so far he has just two in eight in the current league campaign. Injury has restricted Jozy Altidore to just three league appearances this season and the US international scored twice in those games, making him a big miss for Coach Vanney.
The pressure, on Saturday night, could therefore be on back up striker Tosaint Ricketts who may be pushed forward into an attacking role.
For Columbus Crew, Gyasi Zardes is hot property at the moment and the man who Toronto will really need to watch on Saturday night. Throughout his career, the US international’s record has been nothing to get excited about but in his first 14 MLS games since switching to Columbus from LA Galaxy, the 26 year old has found the net eight times.
Unfortunately, the prices for the individual goal scoring markets are not available at the time of writing but if he is fit and starting the match, we would definitely look to tip Zardes for an anytime goal and you may even want to be a shade braver than us and back Crew’s key striker to open the scoring.
Other Side Bets
The goalscorer markets may be quiet but we do have a number of other prop bets with which to round off this preview. Both Teams to Score is an odds on option with all bookies but neither Toronto nor Columbus Crew found the net last week and there was only one goal in their two combined games.
With Crew having home advantage and the Canadians expected to improve, we will back BTTS but would have hoped for a better price than the industry best of 8/11 from William Hill.
Sorry Toronto fans but we are backing Crew’s better form and league position to give them the win but it could be a tight one so we’ll finish this round up with a 2-1 Correct Score bet in favour of the home side which carries decent odds of 7/1 with Betway.
- Columbus Crew to win at Even Money with William Hill
- Both Teams to Score at 8/11 with William Hill
- Correct Score of Columbus Crew 2 Toronto FC 1 at 7/1 with Betway