MLS stands for Major League Soccer and is the sport’s highest level in America and Canada. The league comprises 27 teams – 24 in the US and 3 in Canada – and plans to expand to 30 teams by the 2023 season.
The MLS regular season typically starts in late February or early March and runs through mid-October, with each team playing 34 games. Fourteen teams compete in the postseason MLS Cup Playoffs in late October and November, culminating in the league’s championship game, the MLS Cup.
ESPN and FOX own the TV rights and will be showing most of the games live across their platforms. To find out how you can watch all the action check out High Press Soccer‘s guide on How To Stream MLS In The US.
If you’re looking to Bet On MLS, here’s what you need to know.
For each game, most sportsbooks will offer three markets; Moneyline, Spread / Goal Line, and Total Goals / Over/Under. Other online sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel offer multiple markets on every game.
All legal US sportsbooks have valuable FAQs and customer service, so if you have lingering questions, contact them directly, or you can hit me up on Twitter @Regista_Alex.
Below is a guide to some of the most popular betting markets available to help you understand how to bet on soccer and some tips.
HOW TO BET THE MONEYLINE
There are three possible outcomes to bet on the Moneyline; home team win, draw, and away team win. Soccer is different from other American sports in that the home team appears on the left side of the line.
Moneyline bets are settled on the result at the end of Regular Time (90 minutes plus injury time), which is the duration of every MLS game. Be aware that MLS Cup Playoff games can go to extra time and penalties. Whatever the outcome, all Moneyline bets will be settled on the result at the end of Regular Time.
Below, LAFC (-175), are the home team and the favorites. You need to stake $175 to win $100 on LAFC. Minnesota United (+525) are the away team and the underdogs. You would win $525 if you placed $100 on Minnesota United, and they won. If you placed a $100 wager on the Draw (+320), you would win $320.
HOW TO BET DRAW NO BET
Draw No Bet is the Moneyline with the draw option removed. You would need to stake $500 on LAFC (-500) to win $100. A $100 wager on Minnesota United (+350) would win you $350 if they won. If the game finishes in a draw, your bet becomes a push, and your wagered money is refunded to you.
HOW TO BET DOUBLE CHANCE
Double Chance allows you to combine two of the Moneyline outcomes into one bet. If you think an underdog will pull off a shock result against a big favorite, this is a safer option to bet than just backing them to win on the Moneyline.
HOW TO BET THE SPREAD / GOAL LINE
The Spread / Goal Line in soccer is similar to Point Spreads in football or basketball and Puck Lines in ice hockey. Most sportsbooks will offer one goal line for games, and it can be +/- 0.5, 1, or 1.5 all the way up to 3 or 3.5 goals.
Below, if you backed LAFC -2.5 Goals (+310), your bet would cash if they beat Minnesota United by 3 goals or more. If you backed Minnesota United +1.5 Goals (-215) your bet would cash if Minnesota United won, the game ended in a draw, or LAFC failed to beat them by 2 goals or more at the end of Regular Time.
Sometimes sportsbooks Spread / Goal Line offer will be even like +/- 2 goals. If you backed LAFC -2 Goals and they won 2-0, your bet becomes a push, and your wagered money is refunded to you.
The Asian Handicap is a betting system originating in Indonesia and introduces fractions of 0.25 and 0.75 to the spread. If you select one of these options, your bet is split between the two closest half numbers with the same odds.
If you wagered $100 on Minnesota United +0.75 Goals (+125), you’re actually wagering $50 on Minnesota United +0.5 Goals (+125) and $50 on Minnesota United +1 Goals (+125). If Minnesota United won or the game ended in a draw, you would win $125. If LAFC won by a goal, you would get a push on Minnesota United +1 Goal and lose on Minnesota United +0.5 Goals leaving you with a $50 loss. If LAFC won by 2 goals or more, you would lose both bets.
If you wagered $100 on LAFC -0.75 Goals (-140), you’re actually wagering $50 on LAFC -0.5 Goals (-140) and $50 on LAFC -1 Goal (-140). If LAFC won by two goals or more, both bets would cash, and you would win $71.42. If LAFC won 1-0, you would win on LAFC -0.5 Goals and push on LAFC -1 Goal winning you $35.71. If Minnesota United won or the game ended in a draw, you would lose both bets.
If you wagered $100 on LAFC -1.25 Goals (+120), you’re actually wagering $50 on LAFC -1 Goal (+120) and $50 on LAFC -1.5 Goals (+120). If LAFC won by two goals or more, both bets would cash, and you would win $120. If LAFC won 1-0, you would push on LAFC -1 Goal and lose on LAFC -1.5 Goals leaving you with a $50 loss. If Minnesota United won or the game ended in a draw, you would lose both bets.
HOW TO BET TOTAL GOALS / OVER/UNDER
Total Goals / Over/Under in soccer betting is the number of goals you think will be scored in the game. Most sportsbooks will offer one goal line for games, and it can be Over/Under 0.5, 1, or 1.5 all the way up to 3.5, 4, or 4.5 goals.
If you wagered $100 on Over 2.5 Goals (-185) and the game finished LAFC 2-1 Minnesota United, you would win $54.05. If the game finished LAFC 2-0 Minnesota United, you would lose your bet.
If you wagered $100 on Under 2.5 Goals (+145) and the game finished LAFC 1-1 Minnesota United, you would win $145. If the game finished LAFC 3-0 Minnesota United, you would lose your bet.
Sometimes sportsbooks Total Goals / Over/Under offer will be even like 3 goals. If the game finished LAFC 2-1 Minnesota United, it doesn’t matter if you back Over or Under 3 Goals both bets becomes a push, and your wagered money is refunded to you.
HOW TO BET TOTAL TEAM GOALS
Total Team Goals in soccer betting is the number of goals you think a team will score in the game.
If you backed LAFC Over 2.5 Goals (+135) and they scored three goals or more you would win. If you backed Minnesota United Under 1.5 Goals (-270) and they scored two goals or more you would lose.
HOW TO BET HALFTIME/FULLTIME
Halftime/Fulltime betting is where you bet on what the result will be at half-time and what the result will be at full-time.
If you picked Minnesota United/Minnesota United (+1100) you would need Minnesota United to be winning at half-time and at full-time to win your bet. If you picked Tie/Minnesota United (+1100) you would need the result at half-time to be a draw and Minnesota United winning at full-time to win your bet. If you picked LAFC/Minnesota United (+4000) you would need LAFC to be winning at half-time and Minnesota United winning at full-time to win your bet.
This is a good option if you think a heavy favorite like LAFC will dominate Minnesota United, score early in the game and run out winners. Or if you have a heavy favorite playing against a defensively strong team and you think they will break them down in the second half.
TO WIN IN SHUTOUT / WIN TO NIL
The To Win In Shoutout / Win To Nil soccer bet is when you think a team will win a game without conceding a goal. For example, if you backed LAFC (+195), your bet would cash if they won the game 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, etc.
This bet offers better odds than the Moneyline and is a good option if a heavy favorite is playing an underdog who plays defensively and doesn’t score many goals. A good example would be New England Revolution playing Inter Miami at the Gillette Stadium.
MLS BETTING TIPS
Learning how to bet on MLS is easy. Picking winners consistently is the hard part. There’s no substitute for good research. Learn everything you can about the game, teams, and players, then try these three tips:
DO THE WORK: Don’t bet randomly or guess. Research MLS games you want to bet on before you place a bet and make educated guesses and informed picks. Research can lead to success, but you have to do the work.
FIND A GRIND: When starting out, don’t bet on everything. Focus your research on one or a few teams, and bet on them exclusively. There are 27 teams in MLS, and it’s simply too much for you to become an expert on all of them straight away.
SHOP AROUND: Look around for the best price on a bet. Different online sportsbooks in your state might have it differently. Or they may have moved the line because of betting. Finding better odds on a bet might not help you win it, but it will increase your profits when you do.
BE AWARE! If you see odds that are significantly off across sportsbooks, chances are YOU missed something, so go back and double and triple-check!
For sportsbooks like Draftkings and Fandual, which offer multiple betting markets, I recommend looking through all the available options. There are bets presented differently and have different odds but are the same.
For example, First Team To Score: No Goals (+1000), Under 0.5 Goals (+1000), and a Correct Score of 0-0 (+1300) all need the game to end 0-0 to payout. But the odds for Correct Score 0-0 are better, and if you wagered $100, you would win $300 more.
WHERE TO BET MLS IN THE US
In the US, you can legally bet on soccer in more than two dozen states. You can bet online in some states, but only in-person betting is allowed in most of them.
DraftKings Sportsbook is available in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
FanDuel Sportsbook is available in Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.