Philadelphia Union versus New York Red Bulls
Philadelphia has performed much better in crucial times on the road this season than has New York. Though Philadelphia isn't playing on the road, that fact still encourages the model that the Union is the better team. Plus Philadelphia is playing at home.
Spread: 0.80 (PHI)
New England Revolution versus Montreal Impact
Past shot data show these two teams to be fairly equal, though the standings don't reflect that. Jermaine Jones throws a big wrench into the model because he hasn't played enough to start affecting the Revs' stats. The following probabilities are likely underselling New England a bit.
Spread: 0.49 (NE)
Chicago Fire versus Toronto FC
The stats show Toronto to be the superior team, but the game is not in Toronto, and home field advantage is a big deal. The following probabilities can't possibly account for Toronto's recent mess, but that likely has a smaller immediate effect on the field than pundits would have you believe.
Spread: 0.25 (CHI)
FC Dallas versus Vancouver Whitecaps
Earlier in the season I raved about Vancouver's excellent start to the season in the Expected Goals department. I jumped the gun, and that is no longer the case. The stats say Dallas is a legitimate #3/4 seed in the West, posting a top-five xGD when tied at home. Vancouver, on the other hand, has produced the single worst xGD when trailing by a goal on a road--a situation in which away teams are actually playing out.
Spread: 0.99 (FCD)
Houston Dynamo versus Columbus Crew
Houston has played well at home this season during even gamestates, and Columbus gives the model reason to believe it can come back and draw on the road by playing well while facing one-goal deficits. The probabilities below reflect that, with relatively high chances of a Houston win or draw.
Spread: 0.68 (HOU)
Colorado Rapids versus Portland Timbers
The Timbers have not produced the quality or quantity of shots that they did last season, and have allowed opponents too many good looks. Though Colorado is in a free fall, and coming off a record-setting 6-0 loss to LA, the model still favors Colorado for its season-long performance. The Rapids have produced a respectable xGD during even gamestates at home, and about the only thing Portland does well is force draws after giving up early leads. Unsurprisingly, the probabilities below look like those of the Houston game.
Spread: 0.82 (COL)
San Jose Earthquakes versus Los Angeles Galaxy
Our model drools over the Galaxy, but the probabilities below might seem a little conservative. Past data shows that, even in the most lopsided of matchups, home underdogs find ways. In fact, we don't need to look back too far to find a pertinent example.
Spread: 0.06 (LA)