The popularity of soccer in the United States continues to grow by the year as it inches its way toward being considered among the top sports in the country. Like all sports, the interest in soccer and the MLS is expected to increase as sports betting continues to become legalized across the US. Virginia has no major professional sports teams but with the legalization of sports betting in the state, soccer can be among the most thrilling sports to bet on.
In this article, you will learn more about betting on soccer including where it can be done, terms you should know, understanding odds, basic info on the MLS, and more, to get you started on your way to potentially getting into the MLS betting landscape.
While it is legal to bet on sports in Virginia, sports betting just launched in 2021. It has yet to be announced which sportsbooks will be featured in the state, which mandated there be a minimum of four sportsbook apps, with a maximum of 12. While Virginia sports bettors are not required to be residents of the state, they must be physically located inside the state when placing bets using online VA sportsbooks or apps.
Here are a few of the more popular sportsbooks that could be a part of the operation when Virginia sports betting officially launches.
In case you’re not familiar with some of the language used when betting a soccer game, here’s a look at some of the key terms you should know before you place your first wager:
Understanding how odds work, no matter what sport you are betting on, is crucial for success. For the majority of bettors in the US, they used — you guessed it — American odds.
Whether you are somebody who is familiar with sports betting or not, it’s likely you have seen the pluses and minuses next to teams as the mainstream sports media continue to bring their audiences betting information. So what does it all mean? We’ll explain it all here.
American odds are also referred to as moneyline odds, and the easiest way to explain them is to relate everything to $100. The plus sign typically means the underdog, while the minus is usually referring to the favorite in a matchup.
When a team has a minus in front of its number, for example if the Columbus Crew SC is expected to win their match, it might show Columbus Crew SC -150. That means you would need to wager $150 to win $100 back as profit. Because the outcome is expected to occur, there is less of a payout.
However if you want to bet on the underdog in a bet, you might see a team like the LA Galaxy coming in with soccer betting odds of+175. In this scenario with the plus sign in front of the number, the way you would calculate that is a $100 bet would land a $175 payout.
As you will see in examples below, the standard odds across all sports in terms of point spread and point total is -110. For those types of bets, oddsmakers are doing their best to attempt to get action on both sides of the wager. Regardless of what side you choose, you would need to wager $110 to gain $100 when betting point spreads or point totals.
Soccer offers many of the same betting options the major sports in the US provide, with the three main categories of the moneyline, point spread, and point total. Below are examples and definitions of those wagers, as well as other bets available for MLS bettors.
Moneyline bets simply take into account which team will win the match and do not consider the amount of goals won by or the total number of goals. In soccer, there are a few different types of moneyline bets.
Typical moneyline wagers in soccer will include three betting options with both teams listed and their odds of winning, along with the opportunity to predict a draw.
A potential MLS matchup between the Toronto FC and Nashville SC could look something like this:
Additionally, here’s another type of moneyline bet called a draw, no bet, with just two options, and does not include a draw.
If you felt comfortable one of these sides would win, you’d choose to bet on their side of the moneyline. As we know, some teams are better than others heading into a given matchup, so betting on a team the oddsmakers fully expect to win will have a lesser payout than if you were able to predict an underdog to pull off the upset victory.
When betting the point spread, also referred to as the goal spread, oddsmakers essentially even the playing field by giving the lesser opponent a head start before the match even gets started.
Here’s what the point spread might look like with Philadelphia Union favored by 1.5 goals against the New England Revolution in an MLS matchup:
If you look at this game and after your analysis and breakdown of the outcome of what might happen, you decide Philadelphia Union will win by more than 1.5 goals, you would take their side. If not, you would side with New England. Oddsmakers try to set lines to be as accurate as possible in an attempt to attract wagers to both sides of the bet.
Point totals, which can also be referred to as the over/under, is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of worrying about who wins or how many goals a team wins by, those who bet on the total are only concerned with how many combined goals are scored between the two teams. Styles of play are often factored in more heavily when trying to predict how many total goals will be scored in a given match.
In this example, let’s pair up Orlando City SC with New York City FC and set the total goals at 3.5. Here’s what this wager would look like:
If you believe there will be more than 3.5 goals scored in this match, you would take the over. Otherwise, you’d be siding with the under. Just like the point spread, oddsmakers set the number at a spot where it is most likely to get as even as possible toward both sides in the point total.
While the first three examples referred to an individual game, futures bets offer gamblers to place a wager on an outcome that could be months away from occurring. One of the most popular futures bets on MLS is predicting which team will win the MLS Cup.
Here’s an example of what MLS Cup futures odds would look like looking at just the top five teams.
So much can happen between the time you place your futures bet and when the MLS Cup is handed out at the end of the playoffs, with injuries and simply the ebbs and flows of a sport’s season. Futures bets generally pay out quite well because of this and because there are so many different possible outcomes. We only listed the top five, but the further down the list you go, the higher the payout because of the very slim chance the underdog has to win the title.
Prop betting can be looked at as side bets during a game because these wagers do not necessarily impact the direct outcome of a particular match. There are a ton of examples of prop bets for a soccer game, but let’s use first goal scorer for a match between the LA Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders as our example.
If there is a particular player you believe will score the first goal of the game, bet on him. Keep in mind, these are also very difficult to predict correctly as there are so many combinations that can occur, but the payouts are rather large if you predict the correct outcome.
Live betting, which can also be referred to in-game betting, is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of making sure you get your wager in prior to the start of a match, you have the ability to place a bet while it is going on. Bettors have the opportunity to bet the moneyline, point spread, and point total during the game.
Live betting has been a popular innovation in the sports betting community and is useful for bettors who have developed in-game strategies. One area to look for is if there is a coaching mismatch, you can take the better coach at halftime assuming they will make the better adjustment leading into the second half.
Odds and lines move rapidly during a match with the momentum swinging each way. So live bettors need to get their wagers in quickly to get the best live soccer odds, which could change by the second.
Major League Soccer is the highest level of pro soccer in the United States, and it features a total of 26 teams including 23 from the U.S. and three from Canada. The regular season traditionally runs from February/March through October. Each team plays 34 games in the regular season including 17 road games and 17 home games. There are two conferences with the Eastern Conference and Western Conference.
MLS teams compete for the Supporters’ Shield, which goes to the team that finished with the best overall record during the regular season. Fourteen teams advance to the playoffs as they vie for the MLS Cup, which is awarded to the team that runs through the playoffs and wins the sport’s championship in December. The top team in each conference receives a bye in the first round of the single-elimination tournament.
In the past five seasons, there have been four different organizations to win the MLS Cup, with FC Dallas taking the title in 2015 and 2016, Seattle Sounders in 2017, Sporting KC in 2018, and last year’s champion Los Angeles FC.
It is legal to bet on soccer games, but sports betting is not live and is set to launch early in 2021.
The MLS season typically starts in February or March and ends in December with the MLS Cup.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been the highest-paid player before parting ways with the LA Galaxy. Gonzalo Higuain is currently the highest paid player in the MLS, signing with Inter Miami FC for $7 million per year.
MLS matches can be streamed at a variety of locations including ESPN+, ESPN App, Fox Sports App, and Twitter.
There are 26 teams that compete in the MLS.