Soccer is a global sport played in many countries around the world. The way in which the beatiful game is played is different between countries. You’re off to an excellent start if you are familiar with betting on some of the top European soccer leagues. Although, if you’re looking to bet on the “beautiful game” right here in your own yard, there are a number of differences you should be wary of before you get started.

Major League Soccer Betting Interest Is on the Rise

As the popularity of soccer gradually continues to increase in the United States, MLS is growing with it. The league currently includes popular teams such as LA Galaxy and more, with six more hoping to join.

Not only is the game of soccer growing in popularity, but also interest in it as an option for wagering. This has been attributed to the reason being that scoring in Major League Soccer has been on the rise, and this translates into higher-scoring games than elsewhere in the world.

MLS, the United States’ domestic league, begins its regular season in March, with its players just beginning to prepare for it in February. At the same time, European leagues are finishing up their seasons. It is, therefore, likely that many of them will have no meaningful matches left to play as May begins.

Betting on the MLS planned Season

As you get up to bet on the Major League Soccer season, it’s essential to understand its unique structure. Compared with European soccer leagues, the MLS has a unique set of rules pertaining to roster size, player movement, and officiating.

Unlike most of the world’s leagues, which are based within individual countries, Major League Soccer features teams from both the United States of America and Canada. American sports bettors derive little-to-no difference in betting on these games compared to the NFL, NBA, or MLB. A similar online betting experience also applies to those betting in Canada.

MLS Betting: Travel and Conferences

Like other North American professional sports leagues, Major League Soccer is divided into Eastern and Western conferences.

Teams will play more of their games against teams in their own conference in the MLS format. They will play fewer games against teams from other conferences. In European leagues and others worldwide, all teams usually face off twice in a season.

The length and nature of a typical Major League Soccer (MLS) season present some unique challenges for players. For example, teams that play in warm-weather climates like Los Angeles and Orlando could be playing against local rivals in frigid Minnesota or Toronto. Some fields are outside only, so games could be interrupted by heat-related stoppages for hydration breaks. For other teams, matches may have to be played at a higher altitude; such an example would be The Colorado Rapids at Commerce City.

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New York City FC plays host to MLS opponents on a smaller field at the Yankee Stadium; the limited space and congestion of players forces NYCFC to adapt their style of play for these home matches.

Handicappers must consider the players and coaches and the venues, travel schedules, and weather patterns for each MLS match.

Futures Bets on MLS

Futures wagering options in Major League Soccer are limited compared to other leagues. While the league’s popularity has grown, the futures betting menu remains limited.

Most sportsbooks will offer a straight prediction for which team will win the MLS Cup. Because there is a salary cap and quite a few teams qualify for the playoffs, it’s important to keep up with futures odds when they are released closely. As hot and cold streaks occur, and teams vie for playoff positioning, odds can change quickly.

MLS has a salary cap, which helps teams stay competitive. Teams may sign up to three Designated Players outside the cap; however, they also provide extra funds in other ways. Major League Soccer (MLS) has two types of allocation funds available to teams—GAM, which is distributed based on performance, and TAM, which can be used to sign new players or retain existing ones.

Major European football leagues typically conclude their seasons in May or June, leaving a brief period of time for the transfer market to open and teams to find new talent to fill their rosters, an opportunity for big stars to add value to MLS teams within the playoffs period.

MLS Cup Playoffs System

MLS does not determine the champion by the team with the most points at the end of the regular season; instead, it uses a playoff system similar to that of other American sports.

The team that finishes with the most points at the end of the regular season wins the Supporters’ Shield, a trophy named after soccer fans. You can’t bet on who will win the Shield, but you can bet on which team will prevail as MLS Cup winners at its conclusion.

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The MLS playoffs consist of a four-round tournament with seven teams from each conference qualifying. The top seed in each conference will bypass the first round and hold home-field advantage through their conference playoffs.

A one-game, winner-take-all final will be hosted by the highest overall seed remaining from the regular season. The top seven teams from each conference will face off in single-elimination matches hosted by the higher seed until one team from either side of the conference stays. The highest overall seed that has stayed from the regular season between these two winners will host the MLS Cup Final.

No Promotion & No Relegation

Although promotion and relegation are standard in many other countries, Major League Soccer has never adopted this format.

Unlike significant soccer leagues in other countries, Major League Soccer does not punish teams that finish at the bottom of their division. Instead, they keep the same standings as the previous season and compete in the same league.

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Because of this, teams that have fallen out of playoff contention may be less interested in competing at the same level as the final weeks pass on. Be sure to keep up with these teams closely before placing a wager to determine their fortitude in the match to come and to see what their lineup may look like.

Soccer betting in the MLS is a natural fit for Americans who are passionate about sports. And it’s no different from other Major League sports in North America, which continues to grow every season.

North American Tournaments are full of Action!

The MLS standard season is hardly the only competition that MLS teams need to face. The 16-team tournament called the CONCACAF Champions League; this is similar to the European version of the champions league. The CCL features North America, Central America, and the Caribbean teams. It begins in mid-February and runs until early May.

When you come to the CONCACAF Champions League, don’t count out Mexican teams from Liga MX. Not only do they have are the favorites due to past achievements, but they already have momentum and are in midseason form by February of the following year. On the other hand, MLS teams have only just begun preseason after taking a break following their own season in late fall. This means that MLS teams may not yet be thoroughly familiar with their new coach or new players and may not hit their stride until the tournament progresses further.

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Before selecting a team to support in the Concacaf Champions League, consider that a Mexican club has never failed to reach the final since 2019.

Qualification for the CONCACAF Champions League follows a variety of paths, including winning the MLS Cup, winning the Supporters’ Shield, finishing first in your conference, and winning the US Open Cup or Canadian Championship.

Other competitions run throughout the MLS regular season, just as the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, Coppa Italia, and others would run during European soccer’s seasons.

These competitions draw teams from multiple leagues and divisions, including both the MLS and lower leagues. Additional betting opportunities are available on some of these lower-division games.

Ready to wager on Your Local Team?

If you’re not interested in betting on the English Premier League, Major League Soccer might be right for you. Most of the league’s teams are based in the US and Canada, so that you can watch games at a more convenient time. We even have resources to help you become a better soccer bettor if you haven’t tried it before.

After reading this guide, you’ll be prepared to learn more about betting on soccer.

Need to learn more about Betting?

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