Orlando City vs. Montreal MLS Odds, Picks, Prediction: Neither Side Has Edge in Eastern Conference Tilt (Sept. 15)

Alex Menendez/Getty Images. Pictured: Orlando City star Nani.

Orlando City vs. Montreal Odds

Orlando City Odds -135
Montreal Odds +360
Draw +300
Over/Under 2.5 (-140 / +115)
Day | Time Wednesday | 7:30 p.m. ET
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Orlando City look to rebound from their most embarrassing defeat of the season when they host a CF Montreal side that just suffered its first true home defeat of 2021.

Orlando had their full complement of players on the pitch over the weekend, but nonetheless were clearly second best in a 3-0 defeat at Atlanta United.

Meanwhile, Montreal became the latest team to succumb to a Nashville SC team that is barreling toward the upper end of the Eastern Conference in a 1-0 home defeat.

It’s the first of three meetings between these sides, with a second in Central Florida set for Oct. 20 before they meet in Montreal on the final day of the regular season in early November.

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Orlando Could Rest Key Attackers

The Lions’ loss in Atlanta wasn’t their largest in terms of margin, but it was more painful than a 5-0 demolition at New York City FC because of who manager Oscar Pareja selected for his squad.

The NYCFC fixture was one of several where Pareja rested veteran playmakers Nani and Mauricio Pereyra amid fixture congestion.

But both were in the Lions’ XI in Atlanta, a game that finished as just Orlando’s third loss in Nani’s 16 starts.

With Pereyra playing the full 90 minutes, he’s almost certain to be rotated to the subs bench for the Montreal clash. The same could happen to Nani, though the 34-year-old has a better chance to start after coming off with 15 minutes remaining in Atlanta.

The Lions should get first-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese back in net. The Peru international wasn’t able to return in time from World Cup qualifying duty to take his place in the team on Saturday.

Montreal Struggling Away From Home

Manager Wilfried Nancy’s side appeared to be understandably re-invigorated when pandemic travel restrictions were eased and they were able to stage home matches in Montreal beginning in late July.

Previously, they’d staged those games at neutral locations in the U.S., mainly in Florida.

And last weekend’s loss to Nashville was the first in five games this year at Stade Saputo. Although Walker Zimmerman scored the only goal off a set piece, the visitors were arguably the better side.

Montreal’s away form has gotten worse since returning to Canada, in the way of four defeats and two draws.

But those draws have come on the Canadian side’s last two away trips, 0-0 against FC Cincinnati and 1-1 at the Philadelphia Union.

Honduras international forward Romell Quioto should be in line to start after he came off the bench in the second half of Saturday’s loss. Montreal leading scorer Mason Toye remains out injured.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

I like the straight draw here, for several reasons.

The first is Pareja’s history of rotating his squad in midweek games, with an eye toward keeping Nani healthy for the long haul.

The second is Orlando’s home performances and Montreal’s away track record: All but two of the Lions’ 12 home games have been decided by one goal or fewer, including the last seven. The same holds true of all but two of Montreal’s

The third is the trends in MLS midweek games, where away wins are slightly less common and draws are slightly more common.

And the fourth is the price of +300, a 25% implied probability, quite low for a game between teams who are more or less even in terms of expected goals. Orlando’s seven-point lead in the standings is at least partly explained by the fact Montreal played without any true home-field advantage for the first three months of the season.

There’s other ways you could leverage the draw, maybe in an Away no bet wager on books that offer that market, or maybe taking the visitors +0.5 goals. But playing this one to finish even is the best value. This is an estimate and not a projection, but in my view the real probability of a draw is closer to the 30-33% range.

Pick: Draw (+300)

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