The popularity of soccer has been on a continuous uptrend in the United States for the past decade. A sport once supported by few North American soccer fans has risen in popularity due to the progression of leagues such as the MLS (Major League Soccer).
With the U.S. men's national team consistently evolving in competitions like the World Cup and MLS teams such as L.A. Galaxy, Los Angeles FC, and New York Red Bulls housing talent from outside of the country, it's no surprise that sports betting operators have paid attention to the fan base and expanded their soccer offerings at the books.
As the most wagered-on sport globally, soccer betting lines are available every day from every inhabitable continent on the planet. But an American soccer fan doesn't have to look outside the U.S. to find excellent soccer odds and betting opportunities.
We've compiled a brief guide on odds and betting lines for MLS, the premier and professional soccer league in North America. We'll discuss the basics, such as reading and understanding MLS odds, the most popular MLS betting markets, methods you can implement to become a better MLS handicapper, as well as the most commonly asked questions.
Each sportsbook will allow customers to select between American, decimal, or fractional odds when wagering on the MLS and any other sport. For North American residents, your default betting odds setting will be American, which is the format we will discuss today.
American odds are the most simplistic betting lines to read and understand and are regularly used for this reason. The same rules apply when you're wagering on a moneyline, total, or any other MLS market.
Favored bets with a higher probability of winning, also referred to as 'favorites', will begin with a negative number (-) and tell bettors how much they need to wager to win $100. If the odds of Charlotte FC winning against Atlanta United F.C. are -150, you would need to wager $150 to win $100 (Your initial stake is also returned).
Oppositely, bets with a plus symbol (+), known as underdogs, tell you how much you'll win from placing a $100 bet. If the odds on Atlanta United F.C. to defeat the New York Red Bulls are +150, a $100 stake would return $150 and your initial stake.
With the exponential growth of soccer in North America, we've witnessed a similar extension for the available MLS betting markets. It can often become overwhelming when looking at the sheer choice of open markets to bet on, as soccer odds for one game can offer from 25-50 markets alone.
However, if you're just getting started, it can be helpful to understand the most popular MLS betting markets, as these options are great for veteran and new bettors alike.
Like many US-based professional sports leagues, handicappers love to get involved with future bets. Predictions of which team will win the MLS or which teams will qualify for the MLS cup finals can provide some excellent betting value.
Futures odds are readily available at the top online sportsbooks, whether you want to predict the MLS MVP or take a chance on your team winning the MLS Western or Eastern Conference. These futures markets are widely popular and can be accessed before a new MLS season begins or while it's taking place.
Outside of the MLS futures bets, the most popular types of bets for single-game wagers include:
MLS consensus betting can be a helpful addition to your wagering strategy regarding overall success, especially if you're a new MLS bettor and aren't optimistic about which bet to make.
Consensus wagering allows you to evaluate what other fans are wagering on. Therefore, you can use the data and make an informed decision. The volume of bets placed by customers with a sportsbook on any given game will provide these consensus percentages for markets such as moneyline, over/under totals, and spread markets. They also give you an insight into how the odds have changed over time, and if you notice the odds have lengthened on one specific game, consensus percentages will represent this shift.
Example: If 100 people wager on a game between Charlotte FC and Atlanta United FC. Eighty choose Charlotte FC, 15 choose Atlanta United FC, and 5 pick the draw (tie-game). The MLS consensus for this example would be Charlotte at 80%, Atlanta at 15% and draw at 5%.
The basic betting strategy expert bettors use is to analyze statistics, look at all of the possible angles, and compare these findings with the bookmaker's odds. Finding value in the betting odds for one game can sometimes be challenging, but with so many MLS games taking place every season, you're almost guaranteed to find value somewhere on the board.
Maintaining a steady bankroll is imperative, and just because you're an avid sports fan doesn't mean you'll be successful. Studying the MLS markets can give most bettors an edge, but nothing is guaranteed.
Here are five things to remember when jumping into the world of soccer bets.
Where can you bet on MLS?
You can bet on MLS at one of the many betting sites we review on our website. All of the providers we rank offer legal sports betting options to bettors all over the country.
Can you bet on MLS on FanDuel?
You can bet on MLS, as well as several other professional soccer leagues on FanDuel Sportsbook if you live in a state with a locally-regulated market. Offshore sports betting sites provide services all over the United States.
How old do I have to be to bet on Major League Soccer?
Each U.S. state and offshore sportsbook have different legal gambling age requirements. Most commonly, you have to be at least 18 years of age, and in some instances, 21 years or over can be the legal betting age.
What is the best way to bet on Major League Soccer?
The best way to bet on MLS is to first do plenty of research on the players, teams and sports betting providers that are available. You will want to choose a trusted site, like the ones listed in our reviews.
Is betting on MLS matches with an online sportsbook or mobile app safe?
If you stick with reputable and trustworthy sports betting operators, yes, it is completely safe.