MLS Eastern Conference 2019 Championship Preview: Predictions and Odds

2019 MLS Eastern Conference Overview

Heading into the August 17th weekend, the Eastern Conference is wide open with several contenders vying for the advantage of being the top seed heading into the playoffs.

At the moment, the Philadelphia Union are leading the pack with 45 points in 26 games. Next up is Atlanta United FC with 42 points but they’ve played one less game than Philly.

Others that could contend for the top spot before the regular season ends includes the Wayne Rooney-led D.C. United and both New York clubs, the Red Bulls and NYCFC.

Further down the list, there are five teams in the mix for the final playoff spots. Clubs like the resurgent New England Revolution, Montreal Impact, Orlando City SC, Toronto FC and finally, the Chicago Fire are all within reaching those final seven spots for the playoffs.

Unlike the Western Conference that is ruled by one team, LAFC, the Eastern Conference has 12 points of difference from the best team to the last qualifier in the playoff push.

If there is a wild card in the mix, it has to be NYCFC. The New York club has played fewer games than most of the teams at the top of the Eastern and they could make up some serious ground to assure a top-4 spot come playoff time.

None of the teams in the East want to play the first-round knockout game on the road as only three teams sit with a .500 record on the road. Most of the other teams are woefully below that break-even line.

This fact makes playing at home so important as the Eastern Conference goes down the stretch. Will Philadelphia hold off all competitors or will someone like D.C. United surprise the East and return to the MLS Cup?

Read more MLS news here: MLS Ratings and What They Say About the Future [Infographic]MLS in the Northeast: Why MLS Success Starts with the Fans

Who are the Favorites to Win the Eastern Conference in 2019?

If you are in New Jersey you can bet on the favorites to win the Eastern Conference by visiting 888Sport. Find the latest odds below.

Atlanta United FC – Odds for Finishing Position, Including Playoffs

Team888Sport NJ
Atlanta United FC+210

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If there is a team in the East that is closely attuned to the offensive and defensive strength of LAFC in the West, it has to be Atlanta.

Led by the golden foot of Josef Martinez, Atlanta has a dynamic offense that can score goals at will but also is statistically the best defensive team in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta is impossible to defeat at home as they have a record of 10-1-3 (W-L-D) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2019.

Their 33 points earned at Mercedes-Benz are tops in the MLS as they’ve played two more games than LAFC at the moment on their home pitch.

If Atlanta has an Achilles heel, it is their play on the road which ranks as one of the worst in all of the East. The club has won just nine points away from Atlanta this year.

Although they are down three points to Philly, they have one extra game to make up on them before the regular season ends.

NYCFC – Odds for Finishing Position, Including Playoffs

Team888Sport NJ
 NYCFC+250

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As NYCFC continues to make up lost games on the rest of the East, they are building a strong resume to become one of the top-3 teams in the conference..

Bookmakers agree with NYCFC’s impressive prospects and have installed them with the second-best odds to win the Eastern Conference Finals and play for the MLS title.

What NYCFC does well is preventing from losing too many points on the road and takes care of business at home. New York has just one loss at home and brought back 16 points from their 12 road games in 2019.

They have played three fewer games than Philadelphia and D.C. United and for NYCFC fans, the good news is that they have seven games left at Yankee Stadium this season and just six on the road.

If their play stays consistent over the remaining 13 matches, NYCFC will find themselves playing a home match in the opening knockout round.

D.C. United – Odds for Finishing Position, Including Playoffs

Team888Sport NJ
DC United+450

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D.C. United is six points behind Philadelphia with the same amount of games played, so they have their work cut out for them if they are going to push for the top spot in the East.

With news that Wayne Rooney is leaving the club after the season ends, D.C. United has every incentive to take advantage of their captain’s last few games with the club and try to win a title.

D.C. is one of three teams in the East that has an even record on the road with only a few losses at home. They should have a home berth in the knockout round and will be tough to defeat at Audi Field.

What’s troubling for D.C is that for every win like their 2-1 defeat of LA Galaxy last weekend, it is preceded by a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Union – Odds for Finishing Position, Including Playoffs

Team888Sport NJ
PHI Union+450

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Despite the fact that they stand atop the East standings, bookmakers don’t have a lot of confidence that the Union will be triumphant come conference finals time.

What will work in Philadelphia’s favor is how they play at home. With 27 points in 13 games on their home pitch, the Union could be tough in a one-match knockout if they slip from the top spot.

What does work well for Philly is their ability to score goals. With 48 on the year, the Union are one of three teams in the East with a positive goal-differential that is in double-digits.

New York Red Bulls – Odds for Finishing Position, Including Playoffs

Team888Sport NJ
 NY Red Bulls+550

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The Red Bulls are one of six teams to win over 10 games in the East, but their middling goal-differential could keep them on the road for the knockout stage of the playoffs.

Although the Red Bulls are in 5th at the moment in the East, they haven’t been exceptional at home or on the road. With 20 points at home and 17 on the road, the Red Bulls continue to tread water unless they can begin to play better defense wherever they may play.

New England Revolution – Odds for Finishing Position, Including Playoffs

Team888Sport NJ
 NE Revolution+800

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One of the best stories to come out of the MLS this season is the comeback of the Revolution to the playoff race in the East. After overhauling their front office and manager, New England has been on fire.

Here’s why no one is going to want to face New England in the knockout round. Since May 11th, the Revolution have scored 23 goals and allowed just 14 as they’ve surged from the last place in the East back into the playoff picture.

Toronto FC – Odds for Finishing Position, Including Playoffs

Team888Sport NJ
Toronto FC+1600

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Toronto FC is mediocre in all facets of their game. They don’t score as frequently as teams at the top of the East and when it comes to defense, they are one of five teams that have allowed over 40 goals on the year.

With a terrible road record and a middling mark at home, don’t expect Toronto FC to make a serious push, even if they get into the playoffs.

Who Will Win the Eastern Conference in the MLS?

If there are three teams that most bettors believe are the smart money it has to be the trio of Atlanta, NYCFC and D.C. United.

In the ways that Atlanta can score with even teams like LAFC, NYCFC is quite adept at holding teams down in the penalty area.

But with Wayne Rooney, most likely, ending his time in D.C., a trip to the finals would not be out of the question as United says so long to their captain.

As it stands, Atlanta is considered the favorite and for good reason. I think most MLS fans are pulling for an Atlanta versus LAFC final that would certainly bring the fireworks.

2019 MLS Eastern Conference Winner Odds

If you are in New Jersey you can bet on MLS events on 888Sport, BetStars NJ, playMGM, and DraftKings. The odds below are provided by 888Sport.

Odds for Finishing Position – Including Playoffs

Team888Sport NJ
MTL Impact+2000
ORL City SC+2800
CHI Fire+3300
Columbus Crew SC+12500
FC Cincinnati+25000

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