The Beginner's Guide To MLS Betting

The Beginner’s Guide To MLS Betting

Thomas Viola
February 29, 2024

An LA Galaxy player dribbles the ball up the field

Major League Soccer kicks off its season this weekend, and with it comes MLS betting. We’ve heard from one or two or 50 people who swear up and down that baseball is too fickle and they’re not going anywhere near the diamond. (We get it. You can only suffer through so many closer meltdowns in your life.) 

To those people, it might be the right time to give the U.S.A.’s Other Football a shot. Here’s what you should know to get started.


What Books Carry MLS Betting Lines?

MLS lines can be found at every major sportsbook. Their betting menus can be almost as robust as what you’ll see in the European soccer markets. Retail sportsbooks including DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill/Caesars, and BetRivers all go nearly as deep as they might on the Euro leagues. Market-maker books like SuperBook and Circa also have lines up as well. If you want to get down on Inter Miami CF, you’ll have no shortage of places to do it.


What Bets Are Available in MLS? 

MLS Betting corner kicks

With retail books, you can bet virtually any prop you would also find on a Premier League matchup. These include alternate spreads and Asian handicaps, first goal scoring markets, and even more niche props like corner kicks and cards issued. The menu is going to have more corners than an F1 race.

However, your options get more limited in the futures market. Where books typically offer a wide Premier League menu, MLS futures betting tends to be more restricted to simple markets like league winner and top scorer. 


Who Are Some Of The Sharper Books for MLS Betting?

As with many other markets, Pinnacle is seen as the top market-making book when it comes to MLS betting. Many U.S.-based books will copy their lines when setting prices, thanks to a combination of lower volume and a lack of detailed league knowledge behind the counter in most shops. 


Do Lines Move Much From Opening to Closing? 

MLS Betting Underdogs

Yes. Due to low liquidity in the market, as well as the league’s niche nature among bettors, small bets can move lines much faster than in other markets. 

Saturdays are the big slate for MLS betting. Lines tend to move in the hour before kickoff after teams release the starting lineups and confirm who’s playing. Timing in life, is everything.


How Does MLS Betting Differ From European Soccer? 

The biggest difference between MLS and top European leagues from a statistical standpoint is in goal scoring. MLS features an average of an entire extra goal per game vs. the EPL (3.64 points per game vs 2.65 PPG). 

Scoring is much more prevalent in MLS, and the totals market reflects that. By midseason totals are often in the 3 to 4 goal range, vs. the EPL’s standard 2 to 2.5. 

Home-field advantage is also much more prevalent in MLS than in other leagues. Home teams win matches 53 percent of the time in MLS, compared to 46 percent of the time in the EPL. (Clearly there’s a direct correlation between serving beer cold and being able to win at home.) As a result, you will often see home teams more heavily juiced in MLS markets. 

What’s New in MLS for 2024?

There’s nothing so drastic this year as last year’s playoff format shakeup, but there is one wrinkle MLS bettors should keep in mind.
Part of the season will be running simultaneously with international competitions like the Copa America, Euros, and the Olympics.
During these tournaments, league play doesn’t stop. Teams will lose key players who leave to play for their national teams.
Several of whom, including Lionel Messi, will be absent from their clubs for decent portions of the summer. Keep that in mind when considering futures, and when betting on games in June, July, and August.
Copa America runs June 20-July 14. The UEFA European Football Championship is June 14-July 14. The soccer portion of the Paris Games will be July 24-Aug. 10.

Where Can I Find MLS Stats and Info?

There is no shortage of data available on MLS teams. In-depth stats like expected goals allowed and home/road expected goals can help paint a clearer picture when handicapping. Just a few sources are:

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