MLS 2023 season preview, futures, predictions, odds and best bets: Union can deliver for Philly
LAFC dominated the 2022 MLS soccer season, winning the Supporters’ Shield and going on to lift the MLS Cup after an epic win over the Philadelphia Union in the final.
The 2023 season starts on Saturday with a new look after the addition of a 29th team in St. Louis City, who will play in the Western Conference, with Nashville returning to the Eastern Conference.
Our soccer experts have analyzed the Major League Soccer lineup and made their predictions for the 2023 season including a championship pick, a best longshot and a top goalscorer best bet. Let’s dive in.
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MLS Cup winner best bet: Philadelphia Union (+850)
LAFC is the favorite to retain the MLS Cup, but the Philadelphia Union was only a fraction away last year and could get the job done this time. The Union led the Eastern Conference standings with 67 points and only 5 losses in 34 games. The Philly team won the same number of points as LAFC but lost the Supporters’ Shield tiebreaker due to Los Angeles having 2 more wins.
Philadelphia had also made it to the conference finals in 2021 and after knocking on the door for the last two seasons, this could finally be the year the Union lands the MLS Cup. The Philly roster from last season is mostly back to try again and has been boosted by the arrival of winger Joaquin Torres from CF Montreal.
Philadelphia and Montreal finished well clear of New York City in the Eastern Conference last season, so by signing Torres, Philly has been able to weaken its biggest rival as well as getting stronger itself. Other players have left the Canadian club too, so Philly could have the Eastern Conference at its mercy.
Over in the West, Los Angeles does not look quite as strong this season, so Philadelphia looks the best bet to win the MLS Cup this season.
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MLS Cup best longshot bet: Minnesota United (+5000)
The Western Conference looks the best place to find a longshot for the MLS Cup as 4 of the first 6 teams in the betting come from the East and the low odds for LAFC means there is better value further down the list.
Austin (+1700) has improved and would not be the worst ticket to have, but at +5000 with DraftKings Sportsbook, Minnesota United looks the most lively longshot after a solid season in 2022.
United finished in 6th in the West last season and lost in a shootout against Dallas in the first round of the playoffs. The team has recruited well for 2023, with Mexican defender Miguel Tapias coming in, while Zarek Valentin is an experienced performer who has been signed from the Houston Dynamo. Young players Mikael Marques and Cameron Dunbar also have the potential to improve further and Minnesota looks too far down the odds list for the MLS Cup.
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MLS regular-season top goalscorer best bet: Lorenzo Insigne (+1800)
Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar scored the most MLS goals last season and he goes into the season as DraftKings’ favorite to finish as the top scorer again at +500 odds, although FanDuel has Javier Hernandez of LA Galaxy as its +650 favorite.
Mukhtar can be expected to be in the mix again after scoring 43 goals in 79 games, but Toronto FC’s international star Lorenzo Insigne makes more appeal. The former Napoli striker is a tempting pick at +1800 with DraftKings.
The 31-year-old made a promising start in MLS last season with 6 goals in 11 games and if he keeps up that kind of strike-rate over a full season he should be in contention to be the top goalscorer.
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