MLS Bets: Take Columbus Crew, Charlotte FC at Home on Wednesday

No team has been able to grab control of the race for third place in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference.

The Columbus Crew and CF Montreal are two of the contenders in the mix to take over the spot beneath the Philadelphia Union and New York City FC.

Montreal enters Wednesday night's match in Ohio as the East's No. 3 team, but Columbus has been strong at home lately and it is ready to make a push behind summer signing Cucho Hernandez.

Columbus' strong defensive home form can only be matched by a few teams, and one of them is a bit surprising. Charlotte has done well to keep goals out inside Bank of America Stadium and it could produce a similar result on Wednesday.

In addition to the two Eastern Conference matches, there are two that take place on the west coast, one of them has MLS After Dark vibes to it and the other may be lopsided.

MLS Wednesday Picks

Overall Record: 35-33 (2-2 Last Weekend)

Columbus Crew (+115) vs. CF Montreal (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Columbus was one of the best defensive teams at home in July.

The Crew produced clean sheets against Philadelphia, New England and FC Cincinnati with an expected goals against total of 1.1 from those three games.

Caleb Porter's side comes into Wednesday night with the confidence of playing well at home and rested a bit more than Montreal since its Saturday game in Charlotte was called off due to weather.

Montreal has a single clean sheet to its name on the road in 2022. The Canadian side gave up eight goals in its last four road games and it was shut down by a better defensive team, New York City FC, over the weekend.

The Columbus money line is the main play, but I would not criticize you if you went after Cucho Hernandez to score. The Colombian forward is +180 to score a goal and has four goals in four matches.

Charlotte FC (-135) vs. D.C. United (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Charlotte FC did not play a full match on Saturday against Columbus and that could it help it energy wise for Wednesday's home match with D.C. United.

D.C. snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat on Sunday night in an emotional 2-1 win over Orlando City that featured a pair of late goals.

Charlotte is 7-0-3 at home in its expansion season and it is tied with Columbus for the second-fewest goals conceded at home.

Conversely, D.C. United is tied with the first-year team for the most goals allowed on the road with 24. Although D.C. gave up just one goal against Orlando, the Lions had a ton of quality chances that they just could not finish on.

Charlotte has four clean sheets at home and it scored multiple tallies in each of its last three home contests. I'm a big fan of that consistency for a money line bet.

Portland Timbers vs. Nashville SC (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Over 2.5 Goals (-125)

Neither the Portland Timbers or Nashville SC defenses have been particularly good of late.

Nashville's concession of at least one goal in seven of its last eight games is a bit surprising for a unit that was so consistent in 2021.

Portland gave up nine goals in its last six games, including two on the road at Nashville on July 3.

The Timbers have made up for their recent concession by scoring goals, and lots of them. They have multiple goals in six of their last seven games.

The defensive trends point toward the over being the play, and Portland may be at a greater advantage in this match because Nashville had to travel cross country after a Saturday home game versus Vancouver.

San Jose Earthquakes (-105) vs. Inter Miami (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Miami to San Jose is one of the longest road trips in MLS.

Not only is the travel brutal, but it is even worse for a midweek match. The scheduling gods did Inter Miami no favors by having it play at home on Saturday and then travel to northern California.

Miami went through an exhausting 4-4 battle with FC Cincinnati and there is a chance it experiences some squad rotation with an Eastern Conference game against Montreal coming up on Saturday.

San Jose did not have to travel at all following the weekend slate and that could be a massive advantage with this being an East-versus-West clash.

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