MLS Bets: Bank on Cucho Hernandez, Columbus Crew During Rivalry Week

Hell is Real.

That is the best rivalry name in all of Major League Soccer and it also describes how defenders will feel playing against Cucho Hernandez of the Columbus Crew for the rest of the season.

The 23-year-old forward was signed from Watford this summer and he has taken MLS by storm in two brief appearances for the Crew.

Hernandez has three goals in 74 minutes and he gets a chance to make his mark on the all-Ohio rivalry with FC Cincinnati on Sunday.

Hernandez still has some favorable numbers attached to him on the prop board at DraftKings Sportsbook, and I am more than willing to bet his goal-scorer prop at plus-money or higher for the rest of the season.

As for the match itself, it should be a good national showcase of how much FC Cincinnati has improved and the potential that the Crew have in the second half of the season.

Hell is Real is one of the many rivalry games on tap for the weekend slate, which is nicely split between Saturday and Sunday. FC Dallas and Austin FC play for the second time in a month, the Hudson River Derby is back in our lives and a reinvigorated Atlanta United play host to Orlando City.

There are also a few non-rivalry matches that have my attention, including one in south Florida that could serve as a statement of intent from Inter Miami.

MLS Weekend Bets

Overall Record: 30-28

Columbus Crew (-130) vs. FC Cincinnati (Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET, FS1)

Cucho Hernandez to Score (+180)

Cucho Hernandez scored twice in a 45-minute substitute appearance on Wednesday against D.C. United.

That performance came a few days after he scored in his debut against the Chicago Fire.

The Columbus Crew struck gold with the signing of the Colombian attacker and he has a chance to make his mark on the Hell is Real rivalry on Sunday.

Hernandez and the Crew face a FC Cincinnati defense that has the third-worst expected goals against on the road in the Eastern Conference at 17.2.

Cincinnati kept a single clean sheet in the last nine games and its expected goals against was 1.5 or higher in three of the last four matches.

The defensive play has not matched the attacking firepower lately for FC Cincinnati and it will be at a disadvantage with Luciano Acosta suspended for the match.

While all the talk will be about Cucho, it is worth mentioning Columbus' defense as well. The Crew have the second-lowest xGA in the East at 7.9 and they are one of four teams in the East to allow a single-total goal total in home games.

Inter Miami (+120) vs. Charlotte FC (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Inter Miami is about to unleash the beast.

Alejandro Pozuelo should be playing with something to prove after Toronto FC shipped him to south Florida so it could go full bore with its Italian experiment.

Pozuelo is scheduled to make his Inter Miami debut against Charlotte FC on Saturday and that match could feature a handful of goals created by the No. 10.

Charlotte is 1-2-7 on the road with a -9 goal differential. That is the worst road GD of any top 10 team in the East.

Seven of Charlotte's 10 road contests featured multiple goal concessions, while Inter Miami scored multiple goals in six of its last seven home games.

FC Dallas vs. Austin FC (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Over 2.5 Goals (-135)

FC Dallas and Austin FC played to a 2-2 draw back on June 25.

Not much has changed between both sides since that result.

Austin comes into Saturday's match in Frisco with three straight games with three goals scored. FC Dallas has not held a clean sheet since May 7.

FC Dallas' four-game Over streak came to an end at the hands of New York City FC on Wednesday, but do not think that trend is about to go away.

FCD's expected goals total has been over one in every home game this season. It conceded six times in its last four home contests.

Do not rule out the affect of the Texas heat on this game. Both teams are playing their third games in eight days and that could make the defenses shaky at best and allow the likes of Jesus Ferreira and Sebastian Driussi to score on more opportunities.

San Jose Earthquakes (+100) vs. Houston Dynamo (Sunday, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

The battle between the 11th and 12th placed teams in the Western Conference may not be intriguing on paper, but there is a clear advantage to take advantage of.

The San Jose Earthquakes won two of their last three games and captured a huge rivalry win over the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night.

Jeremy Ebobisse is on fire in front of the net and he could be in position to score more against the Houston Dynamo, who have a 2-0-7 road mark this season.

Houston conceded multiple goals in each of its last four games and Sunday's match comes at the end of a brutal week in which it had to defend the FC Dallas and Austin FC attacks.

San Jose's whole squad may be weaker than Houston's recent opponent, but Ebobisse is as in-form as you can get up top in MLS right now and he could lead the Quakes to a win against a defensive unit that allowed a xGA over one in each of the last eight contests.

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