Chicago Fire v Atlanta United – MLS Betting Preview and Prediction
On Thursday, July 4th, we will get to see an Eastern Conference match between Chicago Fire and Atlanta United, who will meet each other for the 2nd time this season following their clash at the start of June.
Chicago Fire looking to improve their form
As it stands now, Chicago Fire sit at 10th spot in the Eastern Conference with a rather mediocre record of 4-7-7 and no wins to their name in the last 7 matches. In the last 5 fixtures, Chicago FIre had to admit defeat to Atlanta United (2:0), Sant Luis FC in US Open Cup (2:1) and most recently against New York Red Bulls (3:1). On a slightly more positive note, Chicago did take a point from DC United and Real Salt Lake, drawing both fixtures at 1:1. Looking solely at their last 5 league matches, Chicago’s biggest concern is their defense, which conceded 10 goals in the span of 5 games, which is a problem that becomes much more obvious when we look at their away record (12 goals). On the other side, Chicago Fire perform much better at home. Out of their last 5 home matches, Chicago fire won 3 and drew 2. In addition, they scored 13 goals and conceded only 3, clearly showing their home record is on a whole another level compared to their road games.
MLS and home ground advantage
We have established Chicago Fire hold a much better record at home (3-2-0) compared to their away record (0-2-3), however, Chicago are not the only team that has the same pattern. Looking at MLS overall, over half of home matches end in a win for the home side (approx 52%), whereas only one fourth (approx 24%) of the MLS teams get to win all 3 points on their road games. The home court advantage is clearly a big thing, which is also something we have to consider in the upcoming match. Bookmakers seemingly already caught up to the trend and recognized Chicago are the favorites to win and revenge their defeat against Atlanta from the start of June. While we can agree that home advantage does play a rather big role this season, the odds offered on this match seem to be a bit exaggerated.
Atlanta United’s climb to the top of Eastern Conference
Sitting at 4th place with a 9-2-6 record, Atlanta United hope they can regain their no.1 spot in the East. Considering they are 3 points behind leading Philadelphia and still have 2 more fixtures to play to catch up with the pack, United’s chances to regain the #1 spot look very good. As far as their form goes, Atlanta United are 3-0-2 in the last 5 league matches. They have lost to Real Salt Lake (2:1) and Toronto FC (3:2) but managed to win against Minnesota United (3:0), Chicago Fire (2:0) and Montreal Impact (2:1). Their away record, however, shows 3 consecutive defeats, which is something we need to address ahead of the upcoming fixture. Looking back at their last two away defeats, we could say Atlanta were somewhat unlucky, considering both Toronto and Salt Lake scored the game-winning goals in the added time, not to mention Atlanta missed a penalty against Toronto in 90’+6 minute. With that in mind, their 3 away games losing streak does not hold as much weight as it could.
Verdict & Prediction
As we have mentioned, we believe the odds offered on Atlanta to win are simply too high. Yes, they have lost all of their last 3 away games and yes, MLS matches heavily favour the home sides, however, we can’t forget Atlanta are playing against Chicago Fire, who hold a decent record on the paper, but not as inspiring when looked at closely. Not only have Chicago not won a single match since May 12th, but their 1:1 home draws against New York City and Real Salt Lake failed to amaze me. All things considered, we do not believe the home ground advantage will be enough to keep Chicago Fire’s boat afloat as they face off against US Open Cup quarter-finalists Atlanta United.
Prediction: Atlanta United +0.50 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.83 Sportmarket