The 2020 MLS season continues this weekend with the round of eight in the MLS Cup tournament. Yeah, there’s still soccer going in the U.S. Sorry not sorry.
We thought this round would include the Supporters Shield winner (regular season champs) Philadelphia Union and the star-studded, postseason veteran Toronto FC. Yeah, both those teams lost on Tuesday in their playoff openers.
MLS Tournament Betting Odds
The Western Conference saw chalk mostly advance. The only higher seed to lose in the first round was the MLS is Back winners the Portland Timbers, eliminated in a shootout by FC Dallas.
We’ll take a look at the remaining quartet of games with the best available prices at the top NJ gambling websites:
(4) Orlando FC vs. (8) New England Revolution – The first game of the semifinals features one of the league’s original franchises and one of the budding star franchises. Orlando served as hosts for the MLS is Back Tournament and played very well, making it to the finals before falling to Portland.
Orlando enters as favorites despite losing the services of starting goalie Pedro Gallese, who was shown a red card during the shootout win over NYCFC for leaving the line early. Brian Rowe will likely get the start on Saturday. He will play his first postseason game since 2016, when he led the LA Galaxy to the semis, only to lose in a shootout to Colorado.
New England has shut out both Montreal in the play-in round and Philadelphia in the conference quarters. Their defense will face another stern test with the stacked and confident Lions offense. Former USMNT boss Bob Bradley has his team playing well at the right time.
The Revs are dangerous on the counter and set pieces. Their depth could be the deciding factor. However, this is their third game in nine days, which coupled with the travel and weather (it’ll be in the 80s in Orlando for game time) could challenge their momentum.
- Best price for Orlando to win: +132 (DraftKings)
- Best price for New England to win: +220 (BetMGM)
- Best price for tie (after 120 mins – game decided by shootout): +250 (PointsBet)
(3) Columbus Crew SC vs. (7) Nashville FC
2020 started Nashville in the West before the shutdown and restart tourney moved them to the Eastern Conference. They’ll look to avenge a 2-0 loss in September in Ohio.
Nashville has seen their offense carry them through two wins so far in the playoffs. Early goals buried Inter Miami in the play-in round, while three goals were waived off for offsides against Toronto.
The Crew’s defense could be the immovable object to Nashville’s irresistible force. They’ve conceded only 21 goals over 23 games, second-best in the league. At home, they’ve earned a 9-1-0 record.
The only concern I might have with the Crew is if any of the COVID-19 concerns with the other “football” team in town (ya know, the Buckeyes) would cross town to the soccer pitch. If the team is healthy, they control the road to the MLS Cup in the East and will be tough to beat.
- Best price on Columbus Crew SC: +138 (DK)
- Best price on Nashville FC: +210 (BetMGM)
- Best price for tie (after 120 mins – game decided by shootout): +240 (BetMGM)
(2) Seattle Sounders vs. (6) FC Dallas
Seattle hosts the first Western Conference semifinal after winning the last quarterfinal. They’ll give Dallas two extra days of rest but might be happy they avoid their Cascadia derby rivals in Portland.
Seattle has a potent offense and showed their muscle in a 3-1 win over LAFC Tuesday. Combined with some strong defense, the Sounders’ +21 goal differential was the best in the Western Conference.
Dallas advanced in a PK win over Portland on Sunday in which the team converted all eight spot kicks after extending the game with a stoppage-time goal by Pepi. Both goalies saved a PK last week, as Jimmy Maurer ended the game with the stop on Portland’s Jorge Villafana, while Seattle’s Stefan Frei kept the Sounders ahead 1-0 when he denied Carlos Vela in the 30th minute.M
Seattle’s CenturyLink Field is one of the most harrowing atmospheres for opposing teams. Dallas enters with a 1-5-3 record on the road this season, while the Sounders went 7-1-2 at home.
- Best price on Seattle Sounders: -154 (BetMGM)
- Best price on Dallas FC: +400 (everyone)
- Best price for tie (after 120 mins – game decided by shootout): +310 (BetMGM)
(1) Sporting Kansas City vs. (4) Minnesota United FC
Sporting KC proved the class of the Western Conference in the regular season with 12 wins in 21 games. Their points-per-game broke the deadlock with Seattle (who also earned 39 points in one more game).
The quarterfinal win over eighth-seeded San Jose proved a test of mettle. KC came back from a halftime deficit and seemed ahead on an early goal in extra time. Chris Wondolowski, MLS’ most prolific scorer, forced the shootout, in which Tim Melia stopped all three spot kicks to help his team advance.
Minnesota is one of the most intriguing sides in MLS. They play strong team ball and bring a strong work rate to games. Their quarterfinal win over Colorado, who upset teams down the stretch, was a 3-0 master class in North American soccer.
This game will be a major bellwether for Sporting KC and their playoff dreams. Since they missed the playoffs last year, they’re facing more experienced squads and their home field advantage will be tested. Their shootout win was a good proving ground so can they build on that momentum?
- Best price on Sporting KC: -155 (PointsBet)
- Best price on Minnesota United: +425 (BetMGM)
- Best price for tie (after 120 mins – game decided by shootout): +320 (BetMGM)
As the old saying goes, if you’re handed lemons, make lemonade, and it certainly applies to 2020.
In other words, if Plan A, like attending a large family gathering or traveling cross-country won’t work, move on to Plan B. So here’s a great Plan B. Celebrate what can still be a wonderful time of year with the top holiday season promotions at NJ online casinos.
Enjoy yourself, but practice moderation in all things, including online casino top holiday season promotions.
Holidays are times of indulgence and overindulgence. But even so, we probably don’t eat everything in sight or buy everything that catches our fancy, nor should we.
The same applies to play at your favorite NJ online casinos. It’s easy to give in to the temptation to play more than we have intended, but as long as we set limits and don’t gamble away the rent money, we should be okay.
As for casino promotions, the NJ gambling websites are coming out with so many of them now, it would be near-impossible to participate in all of them. So you need to be selective.
Luckily for you, I have already done the hard work of perusing the current special offers on all of the websites to zero in on the best of the best. Here they are: My five picks for the top holiday season promotions at NJ online casinos.
All you have to do is opt-in and reap the rewards
Five top holiday season promotions at NJ online casinos to close out 2020
1. NetEnt Grand Feast Giveaway: Nov. 23 – Dec. 7
Simply opt-in and play any of nine eligible NetEnt games for a chance to win one of 1,000 cash prizes.
2. Earn bonus Tier Credits from Caesars Rewards: Now through Dec. 31
You still have a whole month to add to your Tier Points total for 2020. But wouldn’t it be great to get a head start on earning Tier Points for next year, too?
Caesars Rewards is giving you the opportunity to do just that. For every 500 Tier Credits you earn during the Oct. 1 – Dec. 31 offer period, receive a bonus of 100 Tier Credits toward your 2021 Tier Score.
Another easy way to earn bonus Tier Credits is to refer friends to the site. If you have a friend or multiple friends who are not already enrolled whom you would like to refer to Caesars Rewards, what are you waiting for?
Send an invitation no later than Dec. 31 to each person you would like to refer via the following link:
Each friend who signs up and presents a valid ID at a Caesars Rewards Center will receive a bonus of 500 Tier Credits, and so will you.
You can access this offer up to 20 times and receive up to 10,000 Tier Credits with no additional play required.
3. Virgin Online Casino Sugar Plum Sharepot: Mon., Nov. 30 – Thurs., Dec. 3
When Virgin Online Casino came up with this top holiday season promotion, visions of sugar plums must have been dancing in the creator’s head. But if you play at Virgin Casino regularly, you already know how Sharepots with any name work. The concept is simple. Unlike in a drawing, where only a select few participants can win a prize, everyone who wagers at least the small minimum amount required is guaranteed to win a piece of the Sharepot.
Of course, the more you play—up to the specified cap—the bigger your share. So if you can afford it, by all means, be greedy and grab the biggest share possible.
The Sugarplum Sharepot comes pre-loaded with $7,000 in bonus money. For each $100 you wager on any given day of the promotion, you will earn one Sharepot ticket up to a maximum of five tickets per day if you wager $500 or more.
Therefore, the maximum number of tickets a single player can earn is 20. However, that will entail wagering a total of $2,000 ($500 per day for four consecutive days).
That’s a lot of money, so unless you can clearly afford it, don’t sweat it. Bet only what you can afford and no more than that.
However, you can’t carry play over from one day to the next. So you need to wager at least $100 on at least one day of the promotion to qualify.
Additional terms and conditions
All prizes will be in the form of bonus money credited to your account within 24 hours of Fri., Dec. 4.
Unfortunately, the bonus itself is not withdrawable. But you only need to wager the bonus 1x and any resulting winnings are yours.
This is not the type of promotion where you are likely to win a huge amount of money. However, taking part in a Sharepot where your prize remains a mystery until the day you get it is always fun. Then, once you get your guaranteed bonus, since you only bet it once, there’s no further risk to your bankroll.
4. Hard Rock Slot Tournaments: Ongoing
This promotion is exclusive to Hard Rock Online Casino. It’s ongoing rather than being holiday-specific. But if you love online slots, you won’t find a more exciting way to close out 2020 than to compete against other avid slot players at Hard Rock Online Casino in a free-to-enter “reel time” race.
So “put your pedal to the metal” and see if you can race to the top of the leaderboard like a rock star.
Daily tournament schedule
You can choose from two types of tournaments:
- Rockin’ Regulars
- Golden Rush
Tournaments take place daily, with different games at different times, as indicated in the following table:
|Time||Duration||Tournament Name||Game Name|
|9:00AM – 09:25AM||25 Minutes||Golden Rush||Dancing Drums|
|10:00AM – 10:25AM||25 Minutes||Golden Rush||Divine Fortune|
|12:00PM – 12:25PM||25 Minutes||Golden Rush||88 Fortunes|
|1:00PM – 1:25PM||25 Minutes||Golden Rush||Cleopatra|
|7:00PM – 7:25PM||25 Minutes||Golden Rush||Guns N Roses|
|8:00PM – 8:25PM||25 Minutes||Rockin’ Regulars||Gorilla Go Wild|
The tournaments are open to all registered players at Hard Rock Online Casino. You can participate in as many tournaments as you wish as long as you register before the tournament starts.
The minimum bet in all tournaments is 25 cents. However, over the course of the tournament, you must wager a total of at least $10 to be eligible for a prize.
Three prizes will be awarded in each tournament:
- First place: 50 Free Spins on Starburst
- Second place: 25 Free Spins on Starburst
- Third place: 10 Free Spins on Starburst
Prizes will be awarded as soon as the tournament ends and must be claimed within 48 hours.
Additional wagering requirements for winnings on the Free Spins
All winnings from the Free Spins will be in the form of bonus money credited to your account. You can clear the bonus with any casino game you wish, but depending on your game choice, the wagering requirements vary as follows:
- Slots: 1x bonus
- Video Poker or table games: 5x bonus
Sports bets don’t count.
You have up to 48 hours from the time of receipt to clear each bonus.
5. Golden Nugget December Race: December 1-31
Last but certainly not least, not only this year’s last monthly race but also the final leg of the yearlong Million Dollar Race get underway December 1 at Golden Nugget Online Casino. As of this writing, Golden Nugget hasn’t announced the details yet, but one thing is certain. No way is the leading NJ online casino whose motto could well be “go big or go home” going to make the last monthly race of 2020 and the Grand Finale of the Million Dollar Race anything less than spectacular. So watch for all of the exciting details in another article on NJ Gambling Websites soon.