NYCFC vs. Atlanta odds
|Over under||2.5 (-135 / -105)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 3 p.m. ET|
|How to look||ABC | ESPN3 | fuboTV|
|Odds through BetMGM. Here you can find current soccer odds.|
New York City FC and Atlanta United will face each other in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs on Sunday to live up to high expectations.
Hosts NYCFC were among the favorites to lift the 2021 MLS Cup when the futures markets opened. But the Cityzens never seriously fought for the Eastern Conference crown in the regular season, despite leading the MLS by +22.5 expected goals (xG) difference.
Atlanta United was not touted that highly by odds makers. But after winning two big trophies in their first three seasons, they needed a manager change and a second-half upswing to avoid being missed after the season.
New York prevailed with two games in the regular season, winning 1-0 at home in June and a 1-1 draw in Atlanta a month ago.
NYCFC is getting a big boost in the home environment
The Cityzens are entering their best form of 2021 and have been undefeated for five years after a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union on Decision Day.
And even the tie was a moral victory after Gedion Zelalem was sent off by NYCFC in the 21st minute and Kacper Przybylko gave Philly the lead five minutes later.
The 10-man hosts equalized through MLS Golden Shoe winner Valentin Castellanos, who scored his 19th and final goal eight minutes after half-time.
Pandemic scheduling conflicts forced NYCFC to play almost half of their home games across the Hudson River at Red Bull Arena in 2021.
So it is worth highlighting her record at Yankee Stadium, where it will be played.
In the Bronx that year, NYCFC outperformed their opponents by 25 to 4 and set a 6-1-2 (wld) record on their uniquely compact pitch. They were a more modest 4-2-2 with 12 goals scored and nine goals conceded at home in New Jersey.
The Cityzens received a crucial injury boost on Friday when Ronny Deila announced that center-back Alex Callens is likely to play in the international match after an injury. Zelalem will be serving his red card suspension while NYCFC also injured Keaton Parks and Anton Tinnerholm last month.
Atlanta remains less than top notch
Atlanta is now much better than it was during a turbulent start that saw manager Gabriel Heinze sidelined after 13 games.
But after a dominant August and September, October brought back the feeling that the Five Stripes are still incomplete.
They are unbeaten with three wins in their last six games. But two of the wins came against basement finishers FC Cincinnati and Toronto FC and the third against an Inter Miami club that also missed the playoffs.
They only scored two goals in their three draws and were last outplayed badly by the New York Red Bulls.
Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez have both cooled off a bit since scoring 14 goals between late July and late September.
Martinez leads Atlanta with 12 goals.
Marcelino Moreno is probably the most consistent attacker in Atlanta with nine goals and five assists without the same penetration. Still, he sometimes feels like the forgotten man behind this more ostentatious duo.
Bet analysis & tip
Some have devalued Atlanta’s postseason chances as they only won one of 15 games against the playoff qualifiers.
So it’s only fair to put NYCFC’s statistical dominance at Yankee Stadium in the same light.
They only faced four playoff teams in the Bronx, including just one of their four multi-goal wins. And that 5-0 knockout against Orlando City came when guest c -tain, former Manchester United star Nani, failed to make the trip.
The other three games were closer than their totals suggest. And the total went under 2.5 goals in all three.
Atlanta’s competitions were also tighter away and scored fewer points when faced with higher quality opponents, with the totals sinking on five out of eight occasions.
These are two highly talented offenses, both of which are slightly less than the sum of their parts. Both of them have difficulty producing against medium and higher tier enemies, and I would put everyone in the middle tier category.
That’s why I like to play the under here at Even Money-ish if you can get it. And you can currently find it at FanDuel up to +114 – with an implicit probability of 46.7%.
There’s likely some value to Atlanta too, to keep the game close, at least. But the Yankee Stadium factor makes me wary. Consider a conservative Asian handic – at +1 or +1.25 goals, depending on the price. But the sum is more solid for me.
Choose: Total under 2.5 goals (+114, FanDuell)