Thursday, October 15, 2009

MLS Handicapping and Pick of the Week: At +250, the Crew to Win Over DC is Crazy Bargain

By El Luchador
Jimmy the Greek once told El Luchador’s papa, “Don’t ever bet on your home team. It’s too close to the heart.” And most soccer wagering systems start with the premise that you should never bet the away win. Historically in the EPL, the home team wins 47 percent of the time, with some important qualifiers which we'll explain in a post later this week. Regardless, El Luchador’s MLS pick of the week violates both of these axioms; but read on fellow punters. If you want to make a bunch of dough this week: Bet on the Columbus Crew at +250 to win v DC United at RFK Stadium. Do it.

CREW +250 TIE +250 DC -117
The patented Luchametric Power Ranking statistical system, updated just this week, gives the Crew the single highest
production value of any squad at 3.81. DC are ninth in the league at .80 which amounts to one whole standard deviation of difference. That's significant, especially in this league. Given the odds, this is clearly the best deal of the week in the ML, offering a high return on what we think is an above average probability of an away win.

RECENT TRAVEL Advantage DC: United have been home for 3 weeks. The Crew flew last week to Foxboro for their gritty 1-0 win over New England and are now back east for this match, traveling a total of about 1,500 miles in 3 legs over one week.
HOME –v- AWAY FORM – Advantage CREW.
At 6-3-5, United’s home record is in the bottom half of the MLS. When 50 percent of all MLS games end in a home win, DC have managed to win just 42 percent of their home games. The Crew have a respectable 4-4-6 away record over the whole season but have lost only 1 of their last 5 on the road and are 3-1-2 on the road since the All-Star Break.
This is where we think the bookies have it all wrong. It would seem they think DC are more motivated because they sit two points out of eighth place overall and have the final wild card spot within reach with two games to play. A win for DC would place them very much in contention. But the Crew have other motivators that trump DC’s pathetic playoff hopes. First, the Crew are serious about winning back-to-back Supporters Shields. Several players have told El Luchador that in the locker room, they understand what the suits in the International House of Soccer (AKA MLS) Board Room do not: In all the rest of the World, the most prestigious domestic honour is the season total points winner. If the Crew win Saturday and Chivas lose or tie, the Crew become only the second team ever to have the best record two years in a row. Second, the Crew have a chance of doing to the Bastards in Black what they did to the Crew in three of their first four years – destroy their season. Don’t forget, in 1997, 1998 and 1999, the Crew’s season came to an end in tragic playoff losses to DC United. Robert Warzycha was there. Don’t think he has forgotten. El Luchador’s sources tell him that this history is very much present in the locker room.
HISTORY Advantage DC:
ALL-TIME (46 meetings): United 21 wins, Crew 17 wins, Ties 8. Advice: That was then, this is now.
CREW: DC – LLLWTW (7), CREW – WLWTWL (10). DC have lost 3 straight.
The Black and Gold are mostly healthy and have demonstrated that they have the depth on the bench to makeup for any injuries. CREW OUT: GK Andy Gruenebaum (R hip impingement); DF Chad Marshall (L knee MCL sprain). DC OUT: FW Santino Quaranta (ruptured plantar plate); DF Bryan Namoff (concussion); GK
Josh Wicks (dislocated shoulder/MCL sprain); DF Greg Janicki (back spasms); MF Brandon Barklage (anterior cruciate ligament surgery); FW Ange N'Silu (hamstring strain).

My Brothers and Sisters, do the math, remember the history, and lay your money on the Crew to Win this one. And to quote the great Diego Maradona: anyone who disagrees with El Luchador’s analysis can “suck it and keep on sucking it.”

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