The 2022 MLS season is now well under way with teams fighting for position early on in the campaign. LAFC and Philadelphia Union lead the way in the Western and Eastern conferences respectively, with Austin FC being the surprise package so far as they keep pace with LAFC in the west. Vancouver Whitecaps and Chicago Fire are the sides struggling in each conference, picking up just 11 points each from a possible 39.
Teams are beginning to find their places within the table but how has the betting market reacted to the first few weeks of the season?
The Latest MLS winner odds* for 2022
|Team||Bet365||Sky Bet||William Hill|
|New England Revolution||50/1||25/1||50/1|
|Seattle Sounders FC||25/1||28/1||33/1|
|Los Angeles FC||2/1||9/4||9/4|
|New York City||7/1||7/1||4/1|
|Sporting Kansas City||250/1||150/1||250/1|
*You have to be 18+ to gamble. All odds within this article are accurate at the time of most recent update (16:50, 25/02/2022). BeGambleAware.
Who are the favourites to win MLS?
LAFC certainly look the team to beat at the moment, the Western Conference club are on a run of seven wins in their last eight matches putting them six points clear at the top of the overall table. The addition of Gareth Bale has made them even more dangerous, with the ex-Real Madrid winger already having a huge impact.
Austin FC and Philadelphia Union are the closest clubs to LAFC in terms of points and New York City are lurking just behind the leading trio with a game in hand and a three point deficit. CF Montreal have been the surprise package of the season so far and, if they continue their good form, could make a run deep in the MLS Cup.
There were managerial changes at six clubs during the off season, the biggest coming when Bob Bradley made the switch from Los Angeles to Toronto, becoming the new head coach and sporting director at The Reds, and plenty of players coming and going. Daryl Dike left Orlando SC for a fee believed to be around £7m, whilst Richard Pepe and Justin Che joined the growing North American presence in Germany, signing for Augsburg and Hoffenheim respectively.
As usual though, there were big signings coming into the league. Xherdan Shaqiri joined Chicago Fire from Lyon, Douglas Costa now partners Javier Hernandez in attack for LA Galaxy and Toronto FC have added an Italian trio to their ranks with Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Bernardeschi and Domenico Criscito all joining the club this season.
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Los Angeles FC odds to Win the 2022 MLS Cup (2/1 with bet365)
Los Angeles FC entered the new season with an increase in pressure following a poor campaign in 2021. They stumbled to a ninth placed finish in the Western Conference, missing out on playoff football as a result and their poor season cost Bob Bradley his job, with the two parties ending their association by mutual consent.
Steve Cherundolo was the man chosen to lead The Black and Gold into the new season and he’s made some sensible, albeit not very exciting, decisions when it comes to playing personnel. Kellyn Acosta joins from Colorado Rapids to add some craft to the middle of the pitch, whilst adding Franco Escobar and Doneil Henry to the backline should help improve LAFC’s poor defensive record from last season.
That was, of course, until this summer when Gareth Bale joined the club, adding some class to the frontline and putting fear into the hearts of defences across the league. LAFC are in pole position to win the Supporter’s Shield but will they also win the MLS Cup?
New England Revolution odds to Win the 2022 MLS Cup (50/1 with bet365)
New England Revolution were, far and away, the best side in the league last season. They won the Eastern Conference by 19 points, the Supporters Shield by 12 and tasted defeat just five times. Expectations were high for Bruce Arena’s side and he responded by trying to keep the bulk of his squad together for the new campaign. Tajon Buchanan was the subject of a $7m move to Belgium, when Club Brugge signed the player in December. Arena has replaced him by moving for Jozy Altidore though, the striker moving from Toronto FC but that move, like much of the Revs season, hasn’t worked out.
New England are now 50/1 to win the MLS Cup, highlighting just how poor their season has been so far.
Seattle Sounders odds to Win the 2022 MLS Cup (25/1 with bet365)
Seattle Sounders came within touching distance of the Western Conference last season, finishing just one point behind Colorado Rapids. They were unable to make a mark on the playoffs either, losing out to Real Salt Lake on penalties in the first round. Brian Schmetzer continued at the helm though and he identified Albert Rusnak as the man to make the difference at Lumen Field.
It hasn’t quite gone to plan for the Sounders though and they’ve struggled to keep pace with the sides at the top of the Western Conference and are just outside of the playoff places. Seattle should never be counted out though and can still be found at 25/1 to win the MLS Cup this season.
New York City FC odds to Win the 2022 MLS Cup (7/1 with bet365)
New York City FC won their first ever MLS Cup last season, beating Portland Timbers on penalties in the final. It’s been 10 years since a side retained the MLS Cup; LA Galaxy won back to back titles in 2011 and 2012 but head coach, Ronny Delia, believes that his side can add another trophy to their collection. The side had a good, but fairly unspectacular, regular season with a fourth placed finish in the Eastern Conference but they have retained last season’s top scorer Valentín Castellanos, who scored 19 times.
Delia has only added one player to his squad so far in the off season, bringing Thiago Martins to the club from Yokohama Marinos in Japan but he’s seen six players leave the side, including influential midfielder James Sands, who joined Rangers in their bid for another SPL title.
Are There any Dark Horses in the MLS Cup?
There are several other sides who will believe they stand a good chance of glory this season. In the Western Conference, Colorado Rapids (50/1 with bet365) will point to their league title, and run to the conference semi-finals, as an indication that they could do well but things haven’t followed the same path this season. LA Galaxy (33/1 with bet365) will also be hoping to return to glory and adding Douglas Costa to the ranks will certainly help with that, as long as the rapid Brazilian can remain injury free.
The Eastern Conference also has plenty of contenders for the MLS Cup with Philadelphia Union (7/1 with bet365) looking in really good shape, especially after adding Mikael Uhre from Brondby, as a new designated player. Toronto FC (25/1 with bet365) will also fancy their chances after Bob Bradley joined the club. The addition of Lorenzo Insigne will also provide a spark for the Canadian side as they look to bounce back from a very disappointing 2021.
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How does MLS work?
MLS works with a slightly different schedule to European leagues, this year running from February 26th 2022 until October 9th 2022. The league is split into two, the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference, with the two leagues combining to form and overall table with the team finishing in first place winning the Supporters’ Shield. The sides that finish in the top seven in each conference qualify for the post season playoff tournament, with the winner of the knockout competition lifting the MLS Cup.