Oddsmakers Scramble To Adjust ‘MLS Is Back’ Odds Without FC Dallas

Sportsbooks were forced to make late adjustments on betting for the “MLS is Back Tournament” scheduled to begin Wednesday following the league’s withdrawal of FC Dallas.

According to a press release Monday night from the league, FC Dallas had 10 players and one member of their technical staff test positive for COVID-19. Those positive tests came upon the team’s arrival in Orlando or shortly thereafter. FC Dallas previously stated all players and staff tested negative prior to leaving for Florida on June 27 and had two players test positive upon arrival. Another four tested positive in later testing, prompting the team to be quarantined.

“Given the impact of the number of positive tests on the club’s ability to train and play competitive matches, we have made the decision to withdraw FC Dallas from the MLS is Back Tournament,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a league statement. “The health of everyone involved in our return to play has always been our top priority, and we will continue to make decisions consistent with that priority.”

The league was also forced to postpone Wednesday’s scheduled matchup between Nashville SC and Chicago after five players on Nashville tested positive over the weekend and Monday night. Four additional players had inconclusive results and require further testing.

FC Dallas had been in Group B of the six-group, 26-team tournament. Their opening match scheduled for Thursday versus Vancouver had been previously postponed, and the group also includes Seattle and San Jose.

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There had been a wide range across the sportsbooks in terms of futures for winning MLS is Back. DraftKings and BetRivers listed the Hoops as a +1600 pick to win the tournament, which was tied for the sixth-best option, while PointsBet had them further back at +2500. FOX Bet was offering +2800 and FanDuel listed them at +2900.

Adjustments on the fly

An industry source explained the process to recalculate odds starts with a sportsbook’s trading desk rerunning the script it has built out minus the team that has withdrawn. Those “edits” are manual to the script because it involves a specific team, and then the adjustments are made with the new “correct” prices for the remaining teams.

In the case of MLS is Back, Los Angeles FC is a consensus favorite among the sportsbooks, but they also required an adjustment following Monday night’s announcement that top striker and 2019 Most Valuable Player Carlos Vela opted out of playing. Vela, who set an MLS record with 34 goals in the regular season, cited concerns regarding his wife, who is pregnant and expecting the couple’s second child.

The Black and Gold went from being +350 moneyline favorites at BetRivers and DraftKings to +600, while FOX Bet has yet to update its lines — LAFC is +350 and FC Dallas is still on the board at +2800. BetMGM is offering LAFC at +400, and PointsBet and FanDuel continue to offer them at +500.

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