Hudson River Derby Has Playoff Implications
The Major League Soccer playoff race takes center stage during this weekend’s Hudson River Derby between New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls. Both teams are fighting for one of the last few playoff spots and are separated by just three points with six games left to play. This will be the third time the teams have met in less than a month, with one match ending in a draw and another ending in a 1-0 win for NYRB.
According to BetUS, the betting odds are razor-thin for Sunday’s game, with the Red Bulls a slight favorite at +165 while NYCFC has a moneyline of +175. The moneyline for a draw is listed at +225. There is also an over/under of 2.5 total goals in the match.
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In the Race
Heading into the weekend, New York City FC is in possession of one of the last few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Pigeons sit on 40 points, putting them in a tie for spots five through seven with DC United and CF Montreal. However, there are three teams within six points of them with six matches left, so there is still work to do.
Meanwhile, the Red Bulls are currently in ninth place with 37 points. That puts them three points out of the seventh and final playoff spot. It’s also worth noting that just eight points separate the fourth-place team from the tenth-place team, which means a lot can change over the next month.
The Bulls Are Running
The Red Bulls have become one of the hottest teams in MLS coming down the stretch. They are unbeaten in their last six matches, with four wins and two draws during that stretch. The key for the Red Bulls has been staying organized defensively, as they’ve conceded just two goals in those six matches, giving them the fifth-best defensive record in MLS.
On the other side of the coin, the Red Bulls aren’t blowing anyone away with their attacking prowess. NYRB has scored exactly one goal in each of the team’s last five matches, forcing the Red Bulls to keep a clean sheet if they hope to win. They’ve become overly reliant on Patryk Klimala to be their talisman and provide all of the team’s goals.
While the Red Bulls are surging, NYCFC is barely hanging on. The Pigeons have two losses, and two draws over their last four matches, making it difficult to maintain their hold on a playoff spot. Much like their New York brethren, the Pigeons are struggling to find the back of the net, going scoreless in three consecutive matches.
The funny thing is that New York City FC undoubtedly has the personnel, as they still rank eighth in the league in goals this season. Maxi Moralez is one of the best playmakers in the league with nine assists, while Valentin Castellanos has scored 13 goals in 26 matches this season. However, those players haven’t produced lately, and the Pigeons haven’t found other players to step up and fill the void.
The best betting advice for this game might be to take the under on total goals. Given the recent form of both of these teams, not to mention NYRB’s defensive prowess all season, it’d be surprising to see either team score more than one goal in this game. Keep in mind they have combined for just three total goals over two previous head-to-head matches this season.
In fact, a 1-1 draw might be the best bet on this game. The Red Bulls are good for one goal but not more, while NYCFC has too much attacking talent to get shut out for a fourth consecutive game. With the moneyline for a draw being the most lucrative, this is where bettors can find the most value.