There's no doubt in my mind that this is the most challenging week to date. Three of the five matchups this weekend are between the top six teams in the league -- all of which are within four points of the top of the table. Predicting outcomes and finding value is rarely more difficult than when the best teams are all playing each other, leaving the worst teams to face off as well.
You know the drill: each betting line is assigned a star (★) rating. For the purposes of ROI calculation, each star corresponds to a single unit.
Let's make this our eighth net-positive weekend on the season.
Week 7 Results: 3-1-1 (29-13-3 OVR / +32.23% ROI / +22.72 units)
Minnesota United First Half Draw No Bet (-125, ★★): You'll notice that this has some synergy with my (completely for fun) "Flier of the Week".
Indy has neither trailed nor led at the halftime whistle in any of their games in 2016, but Minnesota thrives on a fast start. That being said, this match being tied at halftime wouldn't surprise me at all (and a first half draw at +105, might be worth a look if you're leaning that direction), but based on everything we've seen in 2016, I certainly wouldn't expect Indy to go into half with the lead.
Rayo OKC vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers Under 2.5 (-115, ★★): There are several matchups this week that I think lend themselves to low-scoring battles, and this is one of them.
Given their recent uptick in form, I think there's also value to be had in Fort Lauderdale Draw No Bet (+130, ★★). They've looked like a completely different team since their loss to the Rowdies, and would be coming off of two straight wins if it weren't for little bad luck and one of the greatest goalkeeping performances in NASL history by Indy's Jon Busch.
Ottawa Fury to Win (-105, ★★): While the Fury almost blew a 3-0 aggregate lead in the Amway Cup at home against FC Edmonton midweek, the Armada continue their free fall. Jacksonville hasn't scored since April 23rd against the Strikers -- and their historical road woes are well documented.
Ottawa's defense has struggled at times this season, but in a battle of incompetence Jacksonville's final-third play has the edge. This one also stays Under 2.5 (-115, ★★).
FC Edmonton Draw No Bet (-165, ★★★): While not the flashiest squad in the NASL, Edmonton is one of the hottest teams in the league. Unbeaten in four league games, the Eddies will be coming coming off an impressive victory against the Cosmos.
Edmonton's defense can be stifling, and Carolina's goals have all but evaporated in the last month (one goal in their last three matches). A draw wouldn't surprise me, but it will be tough for Carolina to earn all three points on the road.
Flier of the Week:
Minnesota United vs. Indy Eleven Half Time / Full Time Result (combination bet): Here are the facts: Minnesota United is the best first half team in the league. They've scored first in all six of their games, and have scored in the first half in five of them.
Indy Eleven, however, have shown a knack for late drama -- leading the league in goals scored after the 75th minute (4).
The thought here is to put a half-unit each on Indy to reverse a halftime deficit into either a draw or an Indy win. If this were to happen, the net profit would be five units if a draw, or 10.5 units if Indy were to complete a second-half comeback and win outright.
Here are the lines: Minnesota United / Draw (+1100, ½ ★), Minnesota United / Indy Eleven (+2200, ½ ★)
For what it's worth, these two teams have played six times. The first team to score has won all six.
Note: the "Flier of the Week" pick will not be considered part of the weekly "Bets of the Week" for Win/Loss record or ROI calculation (regardless of result).
We are 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: 64 points
Seth: 71 points
Caleb: 75 points
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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James and Seth (@SoccerBits) can also be found on Twitter.