Every time a Major League Soccer head coach gets a chance to preach about home-field advantage, he lets it be known how crucial it is to regular-season success.
All you have to do is look at the 2020 versions of the Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew as to how vital home success is. The Union went 9-0-0 at home, but only managed a 3-4-4 mark on the road in their Supporters' Shield winning season. Columbus was 9-0-1 at its home ground and 0-5-5 away from it. It won MLS Cup partly because it did not have to leave Ohio in the playoffs.
The top six playoff qualifiers from each conference in 2020 had a home record above .500 and most of them faced a significant drop off in results on their travels.
Even though home-field advantage plays a massive role in determining playoff squads, only two teams playing in their own dwelling in Week 2 are above -200 on the money line.
The Union, LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers and Atlanta United are all listed at even money or better at DraftKings Sportsbook.
In Week 1, six home teams came out on top and five settled for draws. Inter Miami and the New York Red Bulls, who both are not expected to reach the top of the Eastern Conference this season, fell on home soil to the Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City.
Because things work out perfectly for us sometimes, the Galaxy and Sporting KC carry some of the best home value across the betting board.
Below is a look at the top value plays as well as the best bets from myself, Sean Brace and Kevin Kinkead, the Union beat's super team, who can be heard on the Union Postgame Show after every match.
The Union Pregame Show presented by DraftKings goes off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday with myself and Sean Brace running the show. J.P. Dellacamera and Danny Higginbotham will be on the match call for Union-Inter Miami.
Sporting Kansas City (-120) vs. Orlando City (+265)
They don't call Children's Mercy Park "Blue Hell" just because it's a fun nickname.
Sporting KC went 5-1-3 inside its home park on the way to winning the top seed in the Western Conference last season. Even when the club struggled in 2019, it still pieced together a 7-4-6 home record.
Orlando City historically does not start well. The Lions are 1-0-6 all-time in season openers and failed to score in Week 1 against Atlanta United. Oscar Pareja's team managed to put three of its 11 shots on target in the scoreless draw.
Alexandre Pato is out for Friday's trip to Kansas City, which allows the SKC defense to focus more on shutting down Tesho Akindele and Chris Mueller.
Add on the emotional factor of getting a win in Peter Vermes' 600th career game as a player and manager and you have the right combination to cash in on Sporting KC at -120.
Philadelphia Union (+114) vs. Inter Miami (+220)
The Union were perfect at home in 2020 and controlled their home Concacaf Champions League match with Saprissa at Subaru Park.
Inter Miami comes in with plenty of firepower, but the second-year side is very much still a work in progress under first-year boss Phil Neville.
The Union's center backs have experience playing against Gonzalo Higuain, Rodolfo Pizarro and Blaise Matuidi from the 3-0 win in Chester on September 27, 2020.
Philadelphia's defense has three clean sheets in a row and Sergio Santos is getting healthier to join Kacper Przybylko up top.
The combination of a strong defense, healthier attack and tremendous home form makes the Union an incredible value pick as a home favorite above plus money.
Atlanta United (+108) vs. Chicago Fire (+235)
You have to throw away the 2020 results between Atlanta United and the Chicago Fire when evaluating this matchup.
Josef Martinez was out for the season and the Five Stripes were set back by some incredibly poor managing from Frank De Boer. The team did not fully recover from the funk the Dutchman put it in.
Martinez is now back. New manager Gabriel Heinze has installed a new system. And a fresh batch of South American talent is ready to wreak havoc on MLS.
In 2019, Atlanta United was 12-3-2 inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium and they have never lost to the Fire on home soil.
If the Five Stripes win this match in comfortable fashion, we should expect an adjustment the next time we see Atlanta at home.
Joe Tansey: LA Galaxy (+118) vs. New York Red Bulls)
You're going to give me the LA Galaxy above plus money after what we saw in Week 1? Thank you for the cash I will earn on Sunday.
Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez looks like a reinvigorated player up top after scoring twice in Week 1 and the New York Red Bulls are a bit of a mess right now.
This is a biased pick because I gave out Chicharito to win the Golden Boot at +2200 before the season began, but it also seems like the best spot on the board this week.
Sean Brace: Seattle Sounders Team Total Over 1.5 (+128)
"I like Seattle to upset LAFC"
Sean Brace is never one to stay chalky. He loves the underdogs and I can't hate on his strategy here.
I mean, did you see how the Sounders ripped through Minnesota United? I'd take them at plus money to score two goals too.
Seattle is one of the few teams that can go head-to-head with LAFC's attack for 90 minutes and the Sounders scored seven goals in their last three games versus Bob Bradley's squad.
Kevin Kinkead: Nashville SC-CF Montreal Both Teams To Score (-137)
Oh like you thought Kevin was going to give you a square money line pick here.
From the mind that brought you countless stressful hours betting on the eighth-place team in Serie A comes a BTTS selection from an obscure game on the Week 2 slate.
Nashville SC let up two goals to FC Cincinnati (who might actually not be awful this year?) and the club formerly known as the Montreal Impact conceded twice to Toronto FC.