The halfway point of the MLS season is upon us, and there isn't a whole lot separating all of the teams. There isn't such a thing as a club that is more than six points out of the playoffs at this point, and there isn't a team that is more than nine points clear of the postseason drop either.
The leader of the pack is the team that finished second best in the MLS last season, Toronto FC. The Reds feel like the best team in the Eastern Conference for a second straight campaign by a relatively healthy margin. They're sitting on 29 points after 15 matches. Technically, the Chicago Fire hold the upper hand right now with 24 points in 13 fixtures, but it's going to be hard to run down Toronto. TFC already has three wins on the road and five at home, and the fact that it's only been beaten in two of its 15 matches.
Toronto FC sits as the 7 to 1 favorite to win the MLS Cup.
Chicago is an interesting decision. The Fire are 11 to 1, the second favorites to win the East. They've really gotten a lot this year from Nemanja Nikolic, who leads the league with 11 goals, including three of which that have been game-winners. Bastian Schweinsteiger is also helping out as a designated player to turn around a franchise that has been off the tracks over the course of the last several seasons.
Out West, things are even closer. The difference between first place Sporting Kansas City and last place Colorado Rapids is just 12 points. SKC probably isn't going to ultimately win the West this season. The club just doesn't feel like it's the best team in the conference even though the team is 6-1-0 at home.
Instead, it seems like FC Dallas is the best team in the West. The danger with the Hoops is that they haven't been great in the postseason in their history. But they've got the most points per match in the conference at 1.77 and have the best pedigree of all of the teams in the conference. That's why they're +1000.
The team that might be the most interesting right now is the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders were in far worse shape than this last season at this time before rallying to get into the MLS Cup Playoffs. Every year when they get there, the Sounders are incredibly dangerous. They won the MLS Cup last season without Clint Dempsey. Now, Dempsey is back in the fold. He isn't playing his best soccer of his career, but he's still one of the elite strikers in the MLS.
Atlanta United could end up being a sneaky team as well. Sure, expansion teams don't ultimately win championships often, but the Five Stripes have 18 points in 13 matches. It's a pace good enough to put them in the playoffs, and that might be good enough for them to at least have a shot to contend. The price on Atlanta United matches that of Seattle at 16 to 1.
Odds To Win the MLS Cup 2017-18
Toronto FC +700
FC Dallas +1000
Chicago Fire +1100
New York City FC +1100
LA Galaxy +1200
New York Red Bulls +1400
Houston Dynamo +1400
Atlanta United +1600
Seattle Sounders +1600
Orlando City SC +1600
Portland Timbers +1600
Sporting Kansas City +1600
Montreal Impact +2000
Vancouver Whitecaps +2000
Columbus Crew +2000
New England Revolution +2500
San Jose Earthquakes +2500
Philadelphia Union +3300
Colorado Rapids +6600
Minnesota United +8000
D.C. United +8000
Real Salt Lake +8000
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