MLS: Columbus Crew @ Atlanta United

Hi guys.

I may have found a value bet to share with you. It is from the game between Atlanta United and Columbus Crew, in the Major League Soccer.

We have two very good teams, as they are sitting in the 1st (Atlanta United) and 5th (Columbus Crew) places in a combined table of both conferences. Atlanta is also the 5th best home team in the combined table of both conferences, and Columbus occupies the 12th place in a table of away teams.
But a table of teams based on points tells us nothing, so let’s go deeper.
Atlanta United score in average 2.54 goals per home game and they concede 1.23 goals in average (in home games). Their shot conversion is 13.92% (attempts converted to goals), which is the 6th best in the league (again, in home games). But this is still not enough. Let’s see how many attempts they have, shall we?
Atlanta United in average, attempts to score 18.23 times per home game (4th best in the league), and they allow their opposition to attempt to score only 9.60 times in their stadium (2nd best in the league).

Now let’s check how Columbus Crew are fairing from the same point of view.
Columbus Crew score in average 0.55 goals per game away from home, and concede 1.09 goals per game in an average away game. However, if we look at the shot conversion, we see how abysmal their scoring efficiency is – only 3.85% of attempts end with goals, this is the worst shot conversion in the whole league (talking about away games, just reminding you all). I expect this number to go up, because teams can’t have “bad luck” all the time. My reason for this expectation is, that other than shot conversion, Columbus is playing very well away from home, if we look at it from this statistical point of view – in an average game away from home, they attempt to score 14.18 times (2nd best in the league) and allow their opposition to score only 12.50 times (3rd best in the league, the lower the number the better, of course).

There is also some speculation about how teams will set up for this game. Atlanta might experiment with 3 defenders at the back again.
Let’s look at the injuries and suspensions on both sides. Columbus Crew will be missing Eduardo Sosa (only 275 minutes played, 1 goal). On the other side, Atlanta might be missing Ezequiel Barco (midfielder, 1237 minutes played in 15 starting appearances, 4 goals 1 assist) and some other players like Greg Garza (defender, 865 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist), Darlington Nagbe (midfielder, 1465 minutes, 1 assist), Mikey Ambrose (defender, 731 minutes, 1 assist) and Sal Zizzo (defender/midfielder, 157 minutes, 0 goals, 0 assists).
With that many (left) defender injured, no wonder Atlanta might be playing with 3 at the back. I don’t want to get into any bold predictions, but if I was the coach, I would not order my team to all-out-attack, but play it safely, with such holes in the defense, Columbus might be getting some chances to score.

Anyway, I have created a (not that) simple model in excel sheets, that will calculate the winning percentages from the number of expected goals, which also is calculated by some input stats, that I shall not reveal. Based on these stats, my expected goals for these teams are:

Atlanta United: 1.825
Columbus Crew: 0.580

From these numbers, we can calculate various things. The one where I found value was Total Goals. My percentages:

Under 2.5: 56.81% (which gets us to odds of 1.76)
Over 2.5: 43.10% (which gets us to odds of 2.32)

Bookies odds:

Under 2.5: 2.60
Over 2.5: 1.48


Play Under 2.5 Total Goals

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