Predictions of the COVID-19-related demise of DC soccer for the summer of 2020 appear to have been overstated. Both DC United and the Washington Spirit are in action.
Seeding play in the NWSL Challenge Cup is already in action. Group play started in the MLS is Back tournament on Wednesday, July 8. For soccer bettors in and around DC, it’s a welcome diversion.
DC soccer lines on upcoming matches at GambetDC
DC United begins group play in the MLS tournament on Sunday, July 12, against Toronto FC. GambetDC, the DC Lottery’s online sportsbook, has a wide array of markets available for the match.
The lottery’s sports betting site has DC United as a considerable “home” underdog in its three-way moneyline market. Taking United to win would pay out +280 if they pull off the upset. The sportsbook seems very confident in a Toronto win, as the odds on a draw in the match are exactly the same.
The book’s line on the goal total is similarly optimistic. The standard line sits at 3.5 goals right now, with the sportsbook offering +130 on the over. Based on diminished scoring in other men’s club leagues like Bundesliga and the English Premier League upon restart, the under might be a wiser bet.
The sportsbook entices bettors with a range of alternate totals, spreads, variant moneylines, and props on the United match as well. That range consists of wagers like predicting whether United will score more goals in the first half (+255), the second half (+155), or both halves equally (+123).
Handicapping this match asks bettors to quantify several unknowns. People considering wagers on this match need to ask themselves how playing on a neutral pitch with zero spectators and a three-month layoff will affect both sides.
Further complicating the task is that there is not much recent data to go on. Both Toronto and United only played two matches before MLS suspended its season. In those two matches, there was little statistical separation between the clubs.
For example, the goal differential for Toronto was +3, while for United the same measurement was +2. Toronto mustered 28 shots against its two opponents while United totaled 21.
Fortunately for people who want to bet on soccer in DC, there is more recent data on Washington. The Spirit has already taken the pitch this month.
Also appearing on the pitch on Sunday: DC’s NWSL club
Washington has already played three of its four matches in the seeding round of the Challenge Cup tourney. The Spirit has a final opportunity to grab points toward its position for knockouts on Sunday against the Houston Dash.
The Spirit opened betting Thursday morning as a +160 underdog in GambetDC’s three-way moneyline. Of the 80 other markets on Sunday’s match, there are a few that stand out.
The sportsbook offers a potential payout of +130 on Washington scoring more than 1.5 goals and plus +200 for bettors who are willing to pair that outcome with the Spirit winning the match.
Washington has had one of the best-looking offensive sets of the tourney so far. Only the North Carolina Courage and Utah Royals FC have more shots on goal.
Despite that success creating chances, the Spirit has only a +2 goal differential. While keeper Aubrey Bledsoe has only yielded one goal so far, Washington has only cashed in on three of its 23 shots.
They will face a Dash squad that has scored a league-leading five times, albeit on a mere 17 shots. It’s also worth noting that Houston has allowed more goals than any other team in the tourney so far.
While you’re waiting for GambetDC to post those markets, the app has futures markets on the MLS is Back tournament for your consideration. Just like with the United odds for Sunday’s match, the sportsbook isn’t high on the club.
Group and tournament outright markets on DC United
Currently, the unwanted distinction of being the club with the longest odds to win Group C in the MLS is Back tourney is up for grabs. GambetDC has both United and the Montreal Impact at +330 to win the group.
United will probably have to defeat not only Montreal but likely the New England Revolution as well in order to qualify for consideration for the next futures market at the sportsbook. Only the top two clubs in Group C will advance to knockouts.
Right now, GambetDC doesn’t have a market on whether United will advance to knockouts. It does have odds on DC United to win the entire tournament, however.
Currently, DC sits even with five other clubs at +3,400 to win the event. Only five of MLS’ 26 clubs have longer odds right now. In its group, United shares the +3,400 line with New England.
When considering all these markets, fans should note that all elements of both tournaments are based on clubs’ health and safety. MLS has already had to adjust the schedule once after FC Dallas’ withdrawal because of positive tests for COVID-19. In a similar fashion, the NWSL had to tweak its format when the Orlando Pride withdrew from the Challenge Cup for the same reason.
If everything goes well, however, DC soccer could dominate the betting conversation for the rest of this month. That’s partially dependent on how far both the Spirit and United progress, but right now might be the best time to get those wagers in.