The number of global superstars plying their trade in Major League Soccer has skyrocketed in recent years and that has seen the league’s popularity soar. Soccer fans in New Jersey were lucky enough to witness the legendary Thierry Henry turn out for the New York Red Bulls on a regular basis. The franchise plays its home games in Harrison, New Jersey, and it continues to attract superb players. Local soccer enthusiasts are spoilt for choice, with Philadelphia Union and New York City FC also on their doorsteps.
World Cup winner David Villa captains New York City FC, while the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Kaka and Bastian Schweinsteiger are among the visiting stars in big games. The league’s popularity is sure to continue to snowball in the months and year’s ahead, so the Garden State’s new legal sportsbooks are offering a healthy range of betting markets on MLS. It is an exciting new world for soccer fans, and here are the main betting categories to familiarize yourself with:
This involves betting on an on-going, long-term competition and the most popular option is predicting who will win the MLS Cup. New York City FC is among the favorites to seize glory this year, vying with teams like Atlanta Utd, FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City. The odds change on a rolling basis depending on the various teams’ form, injury list and transfer dealings, but New York City FC is priced at around +700. This tells you that you will win $700 for every $100 you stake. You might also see +700 rendered as either 7/1 (fractional odds) or 8.0 (decimal odds). You do not have to bet $100: a $10 stake at +700 would give you a profit of $70, while a $25 stake would give you a profit of $175.
This is the most popular type of wager when it comes to soccer. You simply bet on whether the home team will win, the away team will win or the game will finish in a draw. It differs to moneyline betting on major US sports like basketball, football and hockey because there are three potential outcomes, rather than two. In most sports, the game goes to overtime and you get a winner, but soccer matches can end in a tie, which makes moneyline betting more complex. But it also allows for more attractive odds on each outcome, and that is one reason for its popularity. Here is an example of a moneyline bet:
When the New York Red Bulls recently hosted FC Dallas, and New York was the -149 (0.67/1 or 1.67) favorite. FC Dallas was the +320 (3.2/1 or 4.2) underdog and the draw was priced at +260 (2.6/1 or 3.6). When you see a minus in the odds, that tells you how much you must lay down in order to win $100. Odds of -149 (0.67/1 or 1.67) indicate that you need to stake $149 in order to win $100. That shows the Red Bulls to be the clear favorites to secure victory, as the odds are a lot shorter (less attractive/profitable) on them.
Many sportsbooks accept special bets that allow you to cover yourself in the event of a draw. One option is called “draw no bet”. You receive less attractive odds, but if the game finishes all-square you get your stake back. Another option is double chance, where you get even less attractive odds, but you are paid out if your selection wins or the game finishes in a draw.
This is really popular in high scoring sports like basketball and football, but less prevalent in soccer. It essentially gives one team a handicap and invites you to predict whether or not either team can cover it. Let’s stick with the FC Dallas v Red Bulls example. New York was the favorite to win, but you could also back the Red Bulls -1 at far more attractive odds of +210 (2.1/1 or 3.1). However, that would require the Red Bulls to win by two clear goals in order for you to be paid out. The alternative was to back FC Dallas +1 at odds of +100 (1/1 or 2.0). That reduces your potential winnings on Dallas, but gives you a higher chance of success. You might also see spread options like New York -0.75, New York -1.25 or FC Dallas +1.50. These are also known as Asian handicaps, and they generally offer less attractive odds, but allow you to mitigate against potential losses.
This is a very popular option and it allows you predict the exact final score of the game. Each score has a different set of odds pertaining to how likely the sportsbook thinks it is to come in. The most common scores in soccer are 1-1, 1-0, 0-0 and 2-1, so these typically command the shortest odds, but it can vary depending on the game. For example, if it involves a strong team hosting a struggling team, the shortest odds might be on it finishing 3-0 to the home side. Many bettors like to cover a few different correct scores as an insurance policy. When the Red Bulls took on FC Dallas, 1-1 was +600 (6/1 or 7.0, 1-0 and 2-1 to the Red Bulls were both +700 (7/1 or 8.0), 0-0 was +1200 (12/1 or 13.0) and 1-0 to FC Dallas was +1400 (14/1 or 15.0).
The sportsbooks set a line, typically of 2.5 goals, and you have to guess whether there will be more or less goals than that in the game. You can often also bet on under/over 0.5 goals, 1.5 goals, 3.5 goals and 4.5 goals, and the odds vary accordingly. At the 2018 World Cup group stage, under 2.5 goals would have been a very successful bet as most of the game were low-scoring encounters.
This is a good option when you want to get more value out of a game in which there is a clear favorite. For example, the Red Bulls were -149 (0.67 or 1.67) to beat FC Dallas, but that shot up to +180 (1.79/1 or 2.8) if you backed them to be winning the game at half-time and at full-time. This meant your profit on a $100 stake would have gone up from $51 to $180. It is a more difficult bet to pull off, but it is often a lot more lucrative.
Soccer is a very mature sport from a betting perspective, as it is extremely popular in European markets, where sports wagering has been legal for centuries. For that reason, it typically offers the widest array of prop bets. These are special betting options that do not necessarily affect the outcome of the match. For example, you can bet on a particular player to score a hat-trick, to score the first goal, the last goal or at any time, both teams to score, both teams not to score, the score at half-time, the number of cards (under/over), the number of corners (under/over), whether there will be a penalty or a red card and many more options.
Parlays are extremely popular in soccer, as they allow you to accumulate more attractive odds by adding multiple selections to the same bet. For example, you could bet on the Red Bulls, Philadelphia, Houston and Chicago all to win on the same weekend. They all have to secure victory in order for you to be paid out, and if any one of them lets you down your best will be a loser, but the rewards can be huge. It is much more lucrative than betting on all four teams individually, and the more you add, the greater the payouts.
Now you can legally place your sports bets in New Jersey there will be plenty of opportunities to bet on MLS games. Check back on New Jersey Sports Betting Sites for all the best places to jump in on the MLS wagering action.