Los Angeles FC vs Austin FC Picks and Predictions: A Tale of Two Halves

LAFC and Austin love to attack and have shown defensive vulnerabilities lately. Find out why we expect plenty of scoring opportunities when they clash in our MLS picks and predictions.

Last Updated: May 17, 2022 10:33 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Sebastian Driussi Austin FC MLS
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night will see the top team in Major League Soccer this season square off against the most improved from 2021, as Los Angeles FC plays host to Austin FC. The visitors lost all three meetings with LAFC last season, scoring just one goal in the process, but come into this match tied with LAFC for the most goals in 2022.

Austin was able to capitalize on a very favorable early-season schedule, but now are on a two-match losing streak against sides in playoff positions. Meanwhile, LAFC are coming off just their second defeat of the season, but are riding a nine-match unbeaten run at home.

Will LAFC continue their dominance over Austin? Let’s take a look at our Los Angeles FC vs. Austin FC picks and predictions to see the answer.

Los Angeles FC vs Austin FC match odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Compare MLS odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Los Angeles FC vs Austin FC betting tips

Predictions made on 5/17/2022 at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Los Angeles FC vs Austin FC game info

Location: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
TV: KCOP 13, KBVO, DAZN

Los Angeles FC vs Austin FC betting preview

Weather

The weather in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening will be quite pleasant, with temperatures near 70 degrees at kickoff and dropping into the low 60s as the match goes along. There is zero chance of rain, and minimal wind is expected.

Injuries

Los Angeles FC: Ryan Hollingshead D (questionable), Eddie Segura D (out), Erik Duenas M (out), Brian Rodriguez FW (out), Ismael Tajouri-Shradi FW (out), Jesus Murillo D (out), Doniel Henry D (out).
Austin FC: Daniel Pereira M (suspended), Brad Stuver GK (out), Jhohan Romana D (out).

Los Angeles FC vs Austin FC predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Side analysis

LAFC did not handle the altitude very well in their road trip to Colorado, falling 2-0 on the back of giving up a pair of first-half penalties. They easily could have lost by another pair of goals if not for two shots that hit the woodwork. Manager Steve Cherundolo was critical of his team’s first half performance, especially defensively, as the defeat ended a six-match unbeaten run.

Fans of European soccer will love watching LAFC play. Their fast-paced, progressive style is very appealing to fans, as they rank third in the league in progressive carries and lead MLS with 510 progressive passes. They’re also lethal on set pieces, having scored nine goals - five coming at home - from dead ball situations, in addition to their 11 from open play. They’ve scored multiple goals in all but one match this season at home, and are outsourcing their opponents 14-5 at Banc of California Stadium. Carlos Vela continues to be one of the most exciting players in the league, leading the team with four goals this season on just nine shots on goal.

Austin enjoyed a lot of success early in the season, but are struggling as they run into tougher opposition. They've managed just five shots on goal over their past two matches, albeit playing down a man for most of the second half in their 2-1 defeat at Real Salt Lake. Sebastian Driussi’s seven goals pace an Austin attack that has already scored 23 goals this season, after managing just 35 in their inaugural campaign. Diego Fagundez has six assists as well, and is the only player to score a goal against LAFC for the club in three matches.

Like LAFC, Austin prefers to possess the ball but is noticeably more cautious with it. While both teams rank in the top three league-wide in passing success percentage, Austin’s in the lower half of the league when it comes to progressive passes. They also struggle to win the ball back against teams who can pass it well. Their 102 successful tackles are the fourth-fewest in MLS this season, and their 140 interceptions rank dead-last among all teams.

You’re going to notice a theme to these picks, and they all relate to the second half. There is not a whole lot of full-match value to be had between these two, so I dug deep into the half comparisons. The best value play I could find regarding a side is the second-half moneyline. LAFC are unbeaten at home in nine straight, and much of their success this season has been by making terrific halftime adjustments. They've scored more goals after the break than their opponent in 10 of their 11 matches this season, and have conceded just one second-half goal.

While Austin are the second-best side after the break, they’ve conceded six goals after halftime, five of those coming on the road. In addition, LAFC has won all six of their home second-halves this season, outscoring their opponents 9-1. Take Los Angeles FC to continue that trend.

Prediction: Los Angeles FC (-125 at PointsBet)

Over/Under analysis

In their first 11 matches this season, Austin have scored 10 of their 23 goals before the break, while the hosts have scored eight times. More importantly, LAFC have conceded a whopping 11 times prior to halftime, versus just once after the break.

While the hosts are unbeaten at home in their last 11 matches, it has not been a defensive fortress. Philadelphia scored early in their visit, and LAFC have conceded four times in six home matches prior to the break.

This match should be an open affair, which favors both offenses. Austin is lethal in open play, with their 14 open-play tallies currently the second-most in MLS. Los Angeles FC have shown they can be had in the first half, and if Driussi and Fagundez can get into open space on the counter, they will almost certainly link up to find the back of the net. This price is quite generous given the likelihood of a first half goal for the visitors, so jump on it now.

Prediction: Austin Over 0.5 first-half goals (+140 at DraftKings)

Best bet

Austin have kept just three clean sheets this season, none of which have taken place on the road, and they've allowed three away goals in five first halves this season. Meanwhile, LAFC have kept just two clean sheets at home through six matches, and have conceded four times prior to the break.

With how open I expect this match to be, getting better than twice my money back for both teams to find the back of the net in the opening 45 minutes is far too high a price to pass up. These two teams love to attack and love to run, and both have shown vulnerabilities in defense of late. Give me both teams to score before halftime for a very profitable return.

Pick: Both teams to score first half (+225 at DraftKings)

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