Who: Portland Timbers vs New York Red Bulls
When: Wednesday, September 18th @ 10:30 pm ET
Line: Portland Timbers -110 | Draw +270 | New York Red Bull +265
Losers of three in a row, the New York Red Bulls find themselves battling to hold onto a playoff spot, when not so long ago the 2018 Supporter’s Shield winners were in with a chance to secure a top-four Eastern Conference finish.
After appearing in the 2018 MLS Cup Final, the Portland Timbers have had a somewhat similar season to the Red Bulls. The Timbers find themselves in a battle for a playoff position in the tightly bunched Western Conference.
The one big caveat in Portland’s 2019 campaign is that the Timbers opened the season with an astounding 12 game road trip while Providence Park underwent the finishing touches of an extreme makeover.
Gio Savarese’s team did not do too badly under those difficult circumstances, compiling 4 wins, 6 losses, and 2 ties on that season-opening walkabout.
Both of these teams are coming off of disappointing losses. New York’s 4-2 defeat at Seattle came after the Bulls had erased a 2-0 deficit. Sunday’s 1-0 home loss to DC United ended a brief two-match win streak for Portland.
Portland Timbers vs New York Red Bulls Match Preview
Wednesday night’s match is the Timbers game in hand on most of their Western Conference playoff rivals, with the exception of FC Dallas and the Sounders, who meet in Seattle (also a 10:30 ET kickoff).
Of course, games in hand mean nothing if you do not win them.
Portland boss Savarese is hopeful that key men Brian Fernandez and Sebastian Blanco will be available. The return of his top striker, Fernandez (stomach bug) and influential midfielder Banco would surely be a boon to the playoff-chasing Timbers.
The Red Bulls list center back Amro Tarek as doubtful, with Bran White and Cristian Casseres down as questionable. Tarek has been playing a larger role than expected after being acquired for depth by the Red Bulls from Orlando in the offseason. Aaron Long’s frequent international absences (expected) and injuries and poor play from Tim Parker (unexpected) have seen Tarek pressed into service. Parker relieved Tarek at Seattle and will be ready to go Wednesday night.
Casseres can be replaced in the center of the park by a couple of different teammates but White will continue to be missed until (if) Bradley Wright-Phillips regains his goal-scoring touch.
Both teams have a lot to play for at Providence Park tonight and with the usual 25,000 plus on hand, the atmosphere should be intense. Thanks to that epic opening road trip, the Timers have 11 of their final 12 matches at home, and four of the final five from here on out. So far the Timbers are 4-3 on the run-in. If they can improve that home winning percentage in their final five games, Savarese and co. will be safely in the playoffs.
Red Bulls coach Chris Armas has come under fire from the Red Bulls faithful and his predecessor Jesse Marsch’s Champions League success with Red Bull Salzburg hasn’t doused the flames. Armas’ charges will split its final four matches evenly, beginning tonight in Portland. Four points above the playoff line and the same amount out of fourth place the Red Bulls are perched between hosting a home playoff match and missing out on the postseason altogether.
After the up and down season, the New York originals have endured the former would signify progress, the latter could see the Red Bulls front office contemplating a change behind the bench.
Seven Premier League teams play European soccer this week. However, only two of those teams play each other this weekend.
All eyes will be on Sunday’s showdown between Chelsea and Liverpool. However, there are plenty of intriguing matches this weekend. Here’s a look at the lines.
2019-20 Premier League Matchday 6 Lines
|Friday, September 20th|
|Southampton +100||Draw +265||Bournemouth +265|
|Saturday, September 21st|
|Leicester +205||Draw +250||Tottenham +130|
|Everton -155||Draw +275||Sheffield United +475|
|Burnley -106||Draw +285||Norwich City +260|
|Manchester City -835||Draw +800||Watford +1800|
|Newcastle +150||Draw +215||Brighton +200|
|Sunday, September 22nd|
|West Ham +235||Draw +265||Manchester United +110|
|Crystal Palace +185||Draw +225||Wolves +155|
|Arsenal -265||Draw +400||Aston Villa +700|
|Chelsea +270||Draw +260||Liverpool +100|
Odds & Ends
- Tottenham visits Leicester on Saturday. Both teams are sitting at 8 points in the table, though Spurs lead on goal differential. Spurs haven’t lost on the road this season. Leicester hasn’t lost at home. Obviously, they’ll draw 2-2.
- We already did a West Ham vs Manchester United preview, so we’ll try not to get repetitive here. If Man U is fully fit, they should have enough to scrape by with a win and sole possession of third place.
- Wolves will be desperate for a win Sunday on the road at Palace. That +155 oddly feels like one of the better bets of the week.
- And finally, Chelsea vs Liverpool. Both squads were unfortunate not to come away with a point in their opening Champions League matches. Expect both squads to come out lively. Liverpool has more quality. They’ll gut out a road win.
Where to Bet Premier League in the US
In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Who: West Ham vs Manchester United
When: Sunday, September 22nd @ 09:00 am ET
Line: West Ham +235 | Draw +265 | Manchester United +110
Normal service resumed at Manchester United after ousting Leicester City, but the Premier League grind continues. As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side aims to pick up back-to-back wins for the first time this season, the intimidating West Ham United lie in their path.
The London Stadium won’t be at all sympathetic to their struggles, with Manuel Pellegrini’s side desperate to get back to winning ways themselves. While United did look a much stronger unit keeping a clean-sheet against Leicester, the Hammers attack is a different beast altogether. Indeed, the colossal Sebastien Haller has taken the league by storm with three goals already, and with his creative midfielders help, could be a massive thorn in United’s quest to successive victories.
West Ham United Predicted Starting XI
Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Lanzini, Anderson, Yarmolenko, Haller
West Ham have no injuries, but will miss left-back Arthur Masuaku after he was sent-off in the game against Aston Villa. Aaron Cresswell should replace him, as Pellegrini will opt an attacking lineup to take the fight to United.
Manchester United Predicted Starting XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young, McTominay, Matic, Pogba, James, Rashford, Martial
Thankfully for Manchester United, their injury crisis is closing to an end. OGS confirmed last week that Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial should return against West Ham, but Shaw is still recovering from his knock. Daniel James picked up a knock against Leicester, but should recover by Sunday.
West Ham United vs Manchester United Match Preview
Manchester United need consistency to maintain a top-four spot over rivals Arsenal & Chelsea. They’re flying high on confidence, but could come crashing down against an unpredictable side like West Ham.
Pogba and Martial’s impending returns, for me, is crucial towards a positive result, with the French duo being quintessential towards amplifying their attacking vigour. After failing to impress going forward against Leicester, OGS is quite desperate to get his side playing the fiery, attractive style which brought him popularity.
The last time they defeated West Ham at the London Stadium was in 2017. After the humiliating 3-1 romping suffered last season, United are out for blood. They’ll look to destabilize West Ham’s topsy-turvy defence with their sleek link-up play, while the Rashford-Martial-James electric combination, I think, must click to get something done.
The Hammers also possess some ruthless attacking players, but United look a side reformed defensively. Considering that David De Gea matched his clean-sheet record from last season in only five games this season, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s solid work is already being exemplified.
West Ham, meanwhile, have been big overachievers picking up 8 points despite only having expected points of 5.63. Sebastien Haller is bound to be United’s biggest threat, as the record signing from Eintracht Frankfurt’s blended in with ease.
The Frenchman’s like a cunning fox with his smart movement, while his hold-up play and physical attributes can even trouble the slab head Maguire. Moreover, the dribbling ability of Felipe Anderson mixed with the majestic playmaker Manuel Lanzini as well as the opportunistic Andriy Yarmolenko will pose big questions of United’s backline.
With sturdy England international Declan Rice protecting their backline led by summer United target Issa Diop, breaking the Hammers won’t be an easy task. United must run their socks off, take their chances and outwit the Hammers to come out on top.
West Ham away is no joke. United’s solidity could be questioned throughout with West Ham’s persistent attacks. But I think the Red Devils will weather the storm pick up a hard-fought 2-1 win.
So Liverpool lose on the road to a good Napoli team because of a phantom foul called on Andy Robertson when José Callejón launched himself into the Scot on as flagrant of a dive as you’ll ever see, and they’re no longer favorites to win Group E?
According to DraftKings Sportsbook NJ, that’s right!
Napoli are now odds-on favorites to win Group E, priced at -125. Liverpool drop to +125. Red Bull Salzburg, who obliterated Genk 6-2, jump from +1700 to +1100.
Nothing that happened today changes this: Liverpool will win Group E. Salzburg will also advance. Napoli will join the Europa League (again) and play with Manchester United and Arsenal👍.
Other oddsmaking overreactions
Chelsea lost 1-0 to team-turmoil Valencia. Naturally, Chelsea have dropped from Group H favorites to third at +300. Valencia, whose management makes the Trump White House look sane and steady, are favorites at +120. Ajax, who were the absolute class of the group today, are +200.
Chelsea and Ajax will advance.
Erling Braut Haland, who we wrote about earlier today as a breakout player, literally broke the fuck out. The 19 year-old recorded a first-half hat-trick in RBS’ aforementioned depantsing of Genk. Haland went from not listed as a potential top goal scorer to THIRD FAVORITE AHEAD OF SERGIO AGUERO at +900.
Finally, Napoli, who will be playing in the Europa League come January, is now 9th favorite to win the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League at +2500. They were +6000 before Callejón projectiled himself into Andy Robertson’s leg and belly flopped like Joe Gatto from Impractical Jokers into a pool on a cruise.