Major League Soccer is one of the most exciting divisions of recent years, especially with the addition of star European players. It comes with the added benefit that the regular season starts in spring and ends in fall, which is exactly the opposite of European football, making it a welcome target for punters during the Summer Break. In this article, we will discuss every aspect of MLS betting, including odds, strategy, tips, and the best betting sites to bet on this often-overlooked division.
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
New customer offer. Place 5 x £10or more bets to receive £20in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply.
18+. UK+IRE only. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first bet £5 a odds 1/2 or more. Tote and Pool excluded. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £20 credited as 2 x £10 free bets. Not valid with CashOut. Free bet valid for 7 days. Free bet stake not returned. 18+ T&Cs Apply.
Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Deposit methods, Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply.
New UK & NI customers only. promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet of £10+ in one bet transaction, at odds of Evens (2.0) +. settled within 60 days. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets credited within 48 hours of bet settlement, 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Max 60 Free Spins on Justice League Comics. 7-day expiry.Full T&Cs apply.
18+ New Customers only. Deposit, opt in and place a £5 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 2x £10 Free Sports Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater, expires in 7 days. Plus a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. PayPal and Card Payments only. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly.
18+. UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 qualifying bets. 13 bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bet must be placed within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards your average stake. One free bet offer per customer, household or IP address only. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
18+ | New UK players only | Min deposit req. £10 | Certain deposit methods excluded | Place 1 sport bet (3+ selections) | Excl Horse Racing | Min stake £10 | Max stake £20 | Min Odds 1/5 (1.5) for each selection | Max FreeBet £20 for football only | FreeBet valid for 7 days| FreeBet stake not returned | T&Cs apply
New customers only, min deposit and bet £10 (£20 if E/W bet) from UK Debit card only. Paypal not accepted. Min odds evens (1/5 per multi selection). 4x £5 Free Bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned, no cash out. T&Cs apply.
Only available to verified customers registered from 12.10.20 to 12.12.20. Place a first sports bet (min. £20; min. odds per selection - 1.8). Get £10 in free sports bets + 10 free spins on eligible NetEnt games if you lose. Get 10 free spins on eligible NetEnt games if you win. T&Cs apply. 18+. Please gamble responsibly. BeGambleAware.org
18+ | New players only | Min deposit req. £10 ; excludes deposits via PayPal | Max stake £10 | Min Odds 1/1 (2.0) | Max FreeBet £10 | Excl Horse Racing | T&Cs apply
Best MLS Betting Sites – Ranked
Based on website quality, competitive odds, customer satisfaction, customer service and quality of promotions, our top 15 best MLS betting sites are:
- Paddy Power
- William Hill
MLS Betting Odds 2020
Since the season has recently been rebooted, and the playoff fixtures are not yet known, playoff betting odds and outright betting odds are not available yet at most major bookies at the time of writing. We expect this to change after MLS releases the fixtures for the upcoming postseason early November.
2020 MLS Playoff Betting Odds
2020 MLS Outright Betting
MLS 2020 Season Overview
As we all know, Covid-19 has affected every single professional sports league in the world and the 2020 MLS season has been no exception. While the league had its regular start in February and was set to end on October 4, with the MLS Cup 2020 on November 7, Covid had other plans.
2020 MLS Regular Season
While the regular season started on February 29, 2020, it was suspended on March 12, 2020 after several matches had to be cancelled. After months of uncertainty, on June 10, MLS announced its return, with a one-of-a kind MLS Is Back Tournament. After this tournament, the regular season restarted a month later on August 12.
2020 MLS All-Star Game
The 2020 MLS All-Star Game was to be held between MLS All-Stars and Mexico's Liga MX All-Star players. It was scheduled for 30 July 2020. The game has been suspended due to Covid-19.
2020 MLS Cup Playoffs
The 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs are scheduled to start on November 8 2020. Columbus Crew SC, Orlando City SC, Toronto FC, and Philadelphia Union have already qualified.
2020 MLS Cup Championship Game
The 2020 MLS Cup Championship Game is scheduled for 12 December 2020.
MLS Betting Tips & Strategy
In terms of betting, many tips that also apply to football betting in the UK also apply to MLS. Still, there are several MLS betting tips and betting strategies we will share with you.
Where to find MLS Soccer Betting Tips and Picks
If you are looking for the latest MLS Betting Picks, there are several sites we can suggest.
- Sportbookwire.Usatoday.Com: Sportsbookwire has free MLS betting picks, as well as picks for most American sports.
- MLS Betting Reddit: The MLS Reddit has plenty of user generated information betting on MLS, as well as every other aspect of the sport. Ask your peers for advice and see which picks and strategies they have to offer.
- ESPN: ESPN’s soccer page has plenty of news, tips and analysis on American as well as European football.
MLS Betting Stats
Most Popular MLS Betting Markets
Bookies that offer MLS bets will generally offer the same or similar betting options for Major League Soccer that they do for other football leagues. That includes over/unders, draw no bet, double chance, and plenty of smaller markets you may have never even heard of. Of course, due to the structure of the league, you can bet on several unique options.
- MLS Regular Season Betting: The regular season works much like a Premier League season, though not all clubs play each other. You can bet on match outcomes, scores, goalscorer or any other bet with which you are probably already familiar.
- MLS Playoff Betting: The Playoffs see MLS teams try to eliminate each other for a chance at the Cup final. A popular bet here is which team will make it to the next round.
- MLS Outright Betting: As MLS has two outright trophies, MLS Cup championship and the Supporters' Shield, you have two options for outright bets. Read our guide on hedge betting to make the most of your outright picks.
MLS Format and Schedule
MLS has a very different format to European football.
In Europe, the most prestigious prize is usually the championship awarded to the team with the most points at the end of the season. There is also a domestic cup in which teams from all leagues battle it out in a single elimination round.
Major League Soccer first sees a regular season, after which the 14 best teams challenge each other in playoffs to see who will win the cup.
Regular Season (February to October)
The regular season of Major League Soccer usually starts in late February or Early March, and continues on to October. Teams are divided geographically, between the Eastern and Western Conferences, each with 13 teams. Each team plays 34 games. As there are currently 26 teams, each team plays two games (one home and one away) against teams in the same conference (24 games) and 10 games against teams from the other conference.
Once the regular season is complete, the team with the most points will be awarded the Supporters' Shield. While this trophy is not as prestigious as the MLS Cup, it does come with a major advantage. The team with the Supporters' Shield will receive home-field advantage for all matches in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
In the middle of the season, the league’s best players play each other for an exhibition game. The format for this has changed several times, and in 2020 the MLS All-Stars will play against Mexico's Liga MX All-Star team. While this match is irrelevant for the cup or league standings, it still comes with plenty of prestige and media attention. It is one of the most watched football (soccer) matches in the US.
MLS Cup Playoffs (October to November)
The MLS Season culminates in a postseason knockout tournament, which determines the league champion for that year. 14 teams join the MLS Cup Playoffs in October and the playoffs are concluded in November with the MLS Cup championship game.
Spring to Fall Format (Great for Summer Betting)
While football is the number one sport in Europe and Latin America, in the US, it must compete against the popularity of the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL). These leagues all have a fall to spring schedule, similar to what most sport leagues have in Europe.
In order to avoid this direct competition, Major League Soccer has opted for a spring to fall format. This has of course lead to scheduling conflicts with the FIFA World Cup calendar or CONCACAF Gold Cup scheduling. The alternative would be to schedule the league during the Winter Break, however, harsh winter weather in many US and Canada regions would force this league indoors.
While scheduling may cause issues for MLS players and teams, the schedule is actually excellent for UK punters, who have few betting options between regular seasons if there is no FIFA World Cup or UEFA Euros.
The MLS teams are (in alphabetical order):
- Atlanta United FC
- Chicago Fire
- FC Cincinnati
- Colorado Rapids
- Columbus Crew SC
- D.C. United
- FC Dallas
- Houston Dynamo
- LA Galaxy
- Los Angeles FC
- Inter Miami FC
- Minnesota United FC
- Montreal Impact
- New England Revolution
- New York City FC
- New York Red Bulls
- Orlando City SC
- Philadelphia Union
- Portland Timbers
- Real Salt Lake
- San Jose Earthquakes
- Seattle Sounders FC
- Sporting Kansas City
- Toronto FC
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Future MLS Teams
While the league currently has 24 teams, more will be added from the 2021 season:
David Beckham is probably the most famous player to ever switch to the league. In 2018, Zlatan Ibrahimović played one season for La Galaxy. The league is home to some of the best players from the US, Canada, Latin America and Europe.
Some of the best current Major League soccer players include:
- Josef Martinez: This Venezuelan striker is widely regarded as the best player in MLS. He has netted 82 goals in 92 matches.
- Carlos Vela: This left footed Mexican-born forward plays as a right-winger for Los Angeles FC. While he scores frequently, he is also frequently involved in assists.
- Javier Hernandez: Another Maexican forward. Hernandez’ early career was at Manchester United. He replaced Ibrahimović Los Angeles Galaxy after he left in 2019, and while he may have less star power, he is one of the leagues top scorers, frequently netting from inside the box.
- Nicolas Lodeiro: This Brazillian midfielder has been with Seattle Sounders FC since 2016. He already has two Major League Soccer Cups under his belt. He has excellent offensive and defensive skills and is a great set piece taker.
- Gonzalo Martinez: This Argentinian left forward recently joined Atlanta for a major price tag. Before joining MLS, he led River Plate to a Copa Libertadores championship.
Just like most American leagues (such as NHL, NBA, or NFL), teams can acquire new players through a draft process. Teams take turns to make their pick from selected college soccer players. So called Generation Adidas, and non-collegiate international players also appear in the draft. New teams and teams that did not qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs get to choose first. The first pick goes to the team with the fewest points in regular matches.
This system is of course very different to the European or UK transfer market. Of course, transfers still occur inside MLS and from other leagues as well.
History of the MLS
Major League Soccer (MLS) represents the highest level of football in the United States and Canada. Currently, there are 26 teams, 23 American and 3 Canadian teams in the league. By 2023, the league will have 30 teams.
Major League Soccer (MLS) began in 1993 and was part of the United States' bid to host 1994 FIFA World Cup. The first season took place in 1996 and had 10 teams. In its first years, the league struggled to make money, losing millions and seeing two teams fold in 2002. However, the development of soccer-specific stadiums and the Designated Player Rule, which allowed teams to sign international star players such as David Beckham (who is now part-owner of Inter Miami), gradually saw the league become profitable.
The league now has national TV contracts, major sponsors, and with an average of more than 20,000 spectators per game, it is now the third most popular league in the US in terms of attendance.
Recent MLS Winners
|2019||Seattle Sounders FC||3–1||Toronto FC|
|2018||Atlanta United FC||2–0||Portland Timbers|
|2017||Toronto FC||2–0||Seattle Sounders FC|
|2016||Seattle Sounders FC||0–0 (5–4 penalties)||Toronto FC *|
|2015||Portland Timbers||2–1||Columbus Crew SC|
|2014||Los Angeles Galaxy||2–1||New England Revolution|
|2013||Sporting Kansas City||1–1 (7–6 penalties)||Real Salt Lake|
|2012||Los Angeles Galaxy||3–1||Houston Dynamo|
|2011||Los Angeles Galaxy||1–0||Houston Dynamo|
|2010||Colorado Rapids||2–1||FC Dallas|
Most Successful MLS Teams
|Club||Finals Played||Cups Won||MLS Cup|
|LA Galaxy||9||5||1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014|
|D.C. United||5||4||1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004|
|New England Revolution||5||0||2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014|
|Houston Dynamo||4||2||2006, 2007, 2011, 2012|
|Seattle Sounders FC||3||2||2016, 2017, 2019|
The CONCACAF Champions League
While MLS teams play each other, they also participate in other international and domestic competitions. One of the most prestigious is the CONCACAF Champions League (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football). This league contains the best clubs from the CONCACAF region. While the league is structured differently, we could see it as the Americas’ answer to the UEFA Champions League.
The two teams with the highest point score from each conference (including the Supporter's Shield champion), the MLS Champion, and the winner of the U.S. Open Cup each get a spot.
Canada is allotted one spot in the CONCACAF Champions League and the spot goes to the winner of the Canadian Championship tournament between Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver and other Canadian sides.
The Campeones Cup
The Campeones Cup is a yearly match between the MLS Cup champion and the Campeón de Campeones from Liga MX. The first Cup was held on September 19, 2018 and saw Tigres UANL best Toronto FC 3–1.
The Leagues Cup
The Leagues Cup is fairly new and was established in 2019 to capitalize on inter-league rivalry between MLS and Liga MX. It is a single-elimination tournament between the best 8 clubs from each league.
MLS Betting FAQs
🎁 Where can I watch MLS in the UK?
We recommend Sky Sports and FreeSports to watch MLS live. MLS on Sky includes at least 2 regular season games each week, as well as the MLS All-Star game and all MLS Cup Play-off games and the final. FreeSports has an even better MLS coverage, with up to five regular-season games each week and complete coverage of the MLS Cup play-offs.
🏆 What is the playing style like in MLS compared to Europe?
According to Liam Ridgewell, “the quality of football is like the Championship”. Of course, there are big differences between teams with several designated players (usually high profile European players) and regular teams. Many of the players originate from Latin America, though most managers try to emulate English aggressive tactics. This make an interesting and original mix of styles.
🎰 Which team has won the most MLS Cups?
In terms of MLS Cups won and finals reached, LA Galaxy has the most awards (with 9 finals and 5 Cups). However, Seattle Sounders FC has been most successful in recent years, winning in 2017 and 2019 and reaching the final in 2016.
ThePuntersPage Final Say: Great for Summer Betting!
What is worse for a football fan or punter than a summer season without football? While the EURO and World Cup come by for two football-filled summers out of every four, that still leaves half of the summers without any football. Or so you would think…
Since Major League Soccer starts in spring and finishes in the fall, you have an excellent league to follow and bet on during those slow, football-deprived summers. You will find the same markets for on MLS as you will on any European football league. Of course, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the league first.