Familiar foes will do battle on Saturday when the Seattle Sounders play host to the Portland Timbers in the latest edition of the best rivalry in MLS.
The two Cascadia Cup members come into this match in completely different positions. The Sounders sit atop the Western Conference standings, albeit having played three matches more than St Louis City, over whom they have just a one-point lead. Their opponents are struggling at the moment, with consecutive defeats dropping them out of a playoff spot entirely as they seek to overcome a very poor start to the campaign.
All that said, statistics and records go out the window when these two teams get together, in one of the most vitriolic rivalries in all of American sports. We will help you find some value in all the action with our Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers MLS betting picks and predictions for Saturday, June 3.
Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers best odds
Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers picks and predictions
To prove how fierce this rivalry is, you simply have to look at the card numbers. The last seven meetings have seen seven bookings in the opening half, compared to just two goals. In fact, things tend to be feisty and heated early on, and then open up to a different kind of fireworks display in the second half. And that’s exactly where we look for our best bet on Saturday.
Portland must be wishing their matches could end at halftime. After all, they’ve only trailed at the intermission in three of their 15 matches so far this campaign, with nine of them being level at the break. They’ve defended much better in the opening 45, conceding just eight goals while scoring six.
After halftime has been when all the mishaps are often taking place for the Timbers. They’ve been outscored 16-13 after the break, as they’ve become more stretched. Making matters worse, they’ve dropped four points already this season in the second half. Those four points are important to a side that has just 16 after 15 matches played.
When it comes to stingy first halves of football, few teams can compete with Seattle. They’ve scored just seven goals before halftime, and only three teams have allowed fewer than their five goals against before the whistle. But they’ve woken up once coming out of the intermission, with 15 goals to their credit through 16 matches while allowing nine against.
The half-by-half performance for Portland gets even more skewed when they leave their home fans. Through eight away fixtures this season in league play, the Timbers have scored just one goal while conceding six times. But once they come out for the second half, things change. They’ve scored seven, but have allowed 11 away goals in the second half this season, second-most in the league.
Why does this data matter? Because it ties directly into how things have typically played out in this rivalry over the past few seasons. Portland beat Seattle 4-1 earlier this season at home, and all five goals in the match came in the 58th minute or later. After the Sounders opened the scoring, Portland scored four goals between the 71st and 89th minutes to run away with the win.
The last six meetings between these sides have featured just one instance where more goals were scored before the break than after. In fact, the second halves of those six outings saw a total of 18 goals scored, compared to just six in the first half. And that’s held true when playing at Lumen Field, as well. Four of the last five meetings there have seen more goals after halftime than before, with eight of 13 goals coming after the intermission.
While I’m not one to bet only on trends, this one isn’t a fluke. Both of these teams tend to open up after halftime, at both ends of the pitch, and it’s how they’ve typically played each other for some time now. As such, we’re going to keep it simple, and ride with the second half to feature the most goals in this showdown.
My best bet: Second half to have most goals (+108 at FanDuel)
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Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers side analysis
Seattle is favored substantially on the 3-way line, despite losing in their last meeting earlier this season. The Sounders lost to San Jose on Wednesday night, their third loss at home in four matches. This is after having opened the season with six straight results at Lumen Field in all competitions. They’ve also won just two of their last eight in all competitions.
The big news for Seattle is the status of Jordan Morris, who was hurt last weekend against New York Red Bulls and whose availability for Saturday is unknown. The only other injury concern is Cristian Roldan, who remains out. Seattle have gone nine straight matches without scoring multiple goals, as they’ve converted seven fewer goals than expected.
Portland have been woeful on the road this campaign, with just one win and two draws to counter five defeats. Ironically, the one victory came at St Louis, showing they can compete with some of the better teams. In addition, three of their five defeats were by a lone goal.
The biggest problem for the Timbers are injuries. David Ayala and Eryk Williamson are out for the season, while Pablo Bonilla and Tega Ikoba are close to returning. Felipe Mora is still injured, as well.
For all their dominance at home over the years, Seattle have been unable to beat Portland at home. The Timbers have shockingly won five of their last six visits to Lumen Field, with the other result being a draw. With Seattle struggling to finish and not dominating at home, and Portland having won four straight matches against Seattle, I’ll ride with the Timbers pulling off the shock result, taking the double chance at plus-odds.
Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers Over/Under analysis
The total of 2.5 sees the Over juiced up to the -130 to -140 range, depending on the book. That makes sense, considering five of the last six meetings have seen three or more goals. In fact, Portland hasn’t been held below two team goals in any of the last five meetings.
Seattle leads the league in clean sheets this season, but if they concede lately, they lose. Of their last nine MLS matches, four have seen them keep a clean sheet. The other five have all been defeats, despite six of the matches featuring two or less goals.
Portland doesn’t know quite what a clean sheet looks like. They’ve managed just three all season. Six of their last eight matches have featured three or more goals, as have five of their eight away fixtures.
All that said, I’m not touching the total in this one. Seattle’s inability to finish off chances makes it so hard to figure out if they can take advantage of Portland’s porous defense or not, and therefore wagering on this to me would be a shot in the dark.
Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers game info
|Location:||Lumen Field, Seattle, WA|
|Date:||Saturday, June 3, 2023|
|Time:||4:30 p.m. ET|
Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers key injuries
Seattle Sounders: Cristian Roldan D (Out), Jordan Morris F (Questionable).
Portland Timbers: Pablo Bonilla D (Out), Felipe Mora M (Out), Eryk Williamson M (Out).
Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers weather
A rare early afternoon kickoff for these two will see a beautiful day for all involved. There is no rain at all expected, and temperatures will be in the mid-70s with lots of sunshine and light winds.