None of the Saturday lines have been posted as of yet, so at the time of initial publication, only Miami vs. Jacksonville will be discussed. I'll be updating this post early on Saturday once the global oddsmakers give me something to work with.
Week 2 Results: 3-2-1 (9-4-1 OVR / +36% ROI)
Miami FC +.5 (-110): Miami would join Carolina and New York atop the league standings after two games if they could simply avoid conceding penalties in the final five minutes of their games. As a whole, Miami's matches have been riddled with fouls (they currently lead the league in Fouls Won and Fouls Conceded), leading to choppy games without much flow.
Nesta's defense is one of two in the league (along with New York) to have played in two games and to have not yet concede from open play. While Jacksonville appears to have improved from last season -- and actually out-possessed the Cosmos last week -- they still need to improve in many areas. They continue to play very far forward (almost every player on their team had an average position last Sunday at or beyond the halfway line), leading to vulnerabilities behind the midfield. Less-than-stellar goalkeeping also remains a weakness.
I was surprised when I first saw Jacksonville as such a heavy favorite, and if you're willing to accept a bit more risk than the suggested line, there's value to be had in Miami to win (+330). The home crowd won't be enough to propel the Armada past a stout defense, and Cvitanich makes it three goals in three games as Miami grinds out an ugly 1-0 victory.
Carolina Railhawks vs Ottawa Fury Over 2.5 (-135): Carolina leads the league in goals scored through two (5), while Ottawa is tied for the lead in goals conceded (4), with Carolina one behind (3).
The Railhawks deadly attack -- spearheaded by Tiyi Shipalane, Austin Da Luz, and Nazmi Abadawi -- might currently be getting the glory, but it's also worth noting that goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald leads the league in saves (9). Fitzgerald has faced more shots on target than any keeper in the NASL this season.
Neither team has shown the ability to keep a clean sheet, so both teams to score (-160) is also a solid play here. I also like Carolina to win (+110).
Tampa Bay Rowdies to win (-125): Tampa Bay is somewhat of an enigma this season. They've yet to score from open play (their only goal coming from a late penalty against Miami), but they boast two of the top three players in the league in "Chances Created" - Eric Avila (8) and Kalif Alhassan (5), and midfielder Michael Nanchoff leads the league in total crosses and is tied for the league lead in passes completed.
These teams have played eight times and the Rowdies have only won once, but I've seen nothing from FC Edmonton which makes me believe they can go to Al Lang and leave with a point. If I had to stake my life on one line this week, this is it.
Tampa Bay to score first (-160) is also worth a look.
Indy Eleven vs New York Cosmos: 1-1 Final Score (+500): The history between these two teams is pretty well established: six games, six draws. While past trends are not indicative of future results, and the factoid will certainly be broken eventually, these odds are certainly tempting. Odds for a draw (with any score) is +245, but four of the six matches between these sides have ended with this scoreline. If you're looking for a flier play this week, this has to be it.
Alternatively, I like the Indy Eleven +.5 (-130) -- it might be a bit of a homer pick, but it keeps the draw in play while also allowing an upset by a talented home team.
Minnesota United to win (Half Time / Full Time) (+145): This is the home opener for a Minnesota side who have scored in the first 20 minutes of both of their matches in 2016. While Minnesota to win (-135) and Minnesota to score first (-170) are the safer plays here (and I do like both), I don't have any reason to doubt that Minnesota won't be leading at the end of both halves.
We will be tracking these predictions in a points-based system throughout the season: 3 points for correct game result, 1 point for each correct score (by team), and 1 additional point for a perfect game.
James continues to dominate the standings, correctly predicting the exact result and scoreline of Minnesota vs. Edmonton and New York vs. Jacksonville in week 2.
Have any questions about any of the numbers or terminology found in this post? Reach out to @CalebRamp on Twitter.
Remember: All gambling and betting line discussion is for entertainment purposes only. If you do choose to gamble, be sure to do so legally and responsibly.
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