FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union Predictions and Picks: Upset Brewing

In the second of two MLS Cup quarterfinals, Supporter's Shield winners FC Cincinnati hosts Philadelphia Union in what should be a cagey affair. Our MLS betting picks expect a nail-biter and one that may go the way of the visitors.

Nov 24, 2023 • 20:47 ET • 4 min read
Philadelphia Union MLS
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

FC Cincinnati will have revenge on their mind Saturday night when they welcome the Philadelphia Union to TQL Stadium for an MLS playoff match.

A place in the Eastern Conference final will be on the line, and the Orange and Blue will not have forgotten losing to the Union in this same spot one season ago. But that match was played in Philadelphia, and FC Cincinnati will hope playing in front of their fans will be the edge they need to exact revenge. But they’ll do so without Matt Miazga, the MLS Defender of the Year, who will miss with suspension. 

For the Union, a key player will be missing but they have enough depth to overcome it. More important is the return of star defender Jakob Glesnes, who has passed a fitness test and will be available for the match. It’s a huge boost to a side that has just one defeat in their last 11 matches and are looking to return to the MLS Cup final.

Our MLS picks and predictions for FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union on Saturday, November 25 explain why the MLS odds market is putting too much faith in one side and giving bettors some value. 

FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union best odds

FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union picks and predictions

Our best bet for Saturday’s fixture isn’t so much a “we’re sure this is going to hit” play as it is a “this price is wrong” play. 

There are a few reasons why we are backing the Philadelphia Union to escape FC Cincinnati with a playoff spot, despite being on the road. The first is the playoff pedigree the Union possesses. Jim Curtin’s side have been terrific in the postseason the past few years, reaching the MLS Cup last season. The season before, they made it to the conference finals, losing to eventual champions NYC FC. 

Second is the injury and suspension situations for both sides. Kai Wagner’s suspension for racial abuse will continue, robbing the Union of a key piece to their left-sided attack. 

But the return of Glesnes will solidify a backline that blanked New England on the road to advance to this point of the playoffs and has conceded just four goals over their last four matches. It’s also important given the presence of likely MLS MVP winner Luciano Acosta. 

On the other side, Miazga isn’t the only player missing for FC Cincinnati. They’ll be without two key defenders, and possibly a third depending if Nick Hagglund can be ready for his first match in a month. 

Third is the men in goal. Roman Celentano isn’t a bad keeper, helping Cincinnati achieve the third-most clean sheets in league play this season. But Andre Blake’s a veteran with a history of stepping up in big matches, and his save percentage of 76.8% was fifth-best in the league this season. In a match that could easily come down to a penalty shootout, that experience and shot-stopping ability is a serious edge.

Finally, the form of both teams is important. The Union had a stretch where they were getting draws quite often, but they’ve turned it on of late. They’ve won three of their last five in regulation, including each of the last two against a very good New England side with the third-most points at home this season.

Philadelphia went into Foxboro, in a winner-takes-all situation, and walked out with a 1-0 victory. They were aided by a first-half red card, but they looked the better side even before that incident. 

Meanwhile, Cincinnati has won in regulation just twice in the past five matches. One came in a 1-0 win at Inter Miami, a match where none of Miami’s big names started and Lionel Messi was ineffective upon entering. 

The other was a 3-0 win over a NY Red Bulls side that, quite frankly, has been very inconsistent this season. They were able to defeat NYRB to advance in the playoffs, but the second win came via a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw. Cincinnati simply hasn't looked like the side that ran away with the East early on. 

At a price of +155 to advance, TonyBet is giving Philadelphia less credit than they deserve. The Union have a strong chance to make it through to the conference finals, and the price is too good for me to pass up. You shouldn’t, either. 

My best bet: Philadelphia Union to qualify (+155 at TonyBet)

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FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union same-game parlay

Philadelphia Union to qualify

Under 3 goals

For our same game parlay, we visit bet365 and get +375 odds on a two-leg wager.

In addition to the Union qualifying, we’re backing a low-scoring affair. Four of the last six meetings between these sides have seen no more than two goals, as have three of their five meetings at TQL. In addition, five of Philly’s last eight have gone Under 2.5 goals.

With Miazga out, Cincinnati is also going to be a bit conservative compared to their usual playstyle, which should help keep the score down as well

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union side and Over/Under analysis

FC Cincinnati is favored with a price of -120 the best you can get heading into the weekend. The Union are the third choice on the 3-way line, available for as much as +300. The Draw is priced around +280.

We’ve discussed being on the Union to advance, but there’s good value on the draw. This match could easily be a stalemate heading into the closing minutes, especially with how defensive Philly will be. Acosta won’t have as much support as usual either, with the Miazga absence needing to be covered. 

As for the total, we already discussed why we’re backing the Under, but there’s also value in betting it straight up. Currently, it’s getting plus odds, available for up to +105. 

That price has been coming down as the week has gone along, showing the public is in tune with our thoughts. The Over is still priced at minus-odds, but down significantly from the -150 it cost early in the week. 

FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union game info

Location: TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Date: Saturday, November 25, 2023
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: Apple TV
Weather: 35F, POP: 0%

FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union key injuries

FC Cincinnati: Matt Miazga D (Out), Nick Hagglund D (Doubtful), Alvas Powell D (Out).
Philadelphia Union: Jakob Glesnes D (Out), Kai Wagner D (Out).

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