MLS Teams In Cincinnati, Columbus Off To Strong 2023 Starts

Bettors on the clubs have been rewarded while doing it digitally, with retail sportsbooks awaited
fc cincinnati soccer

The options to wager on soccer are vast with the mobile sportsbooks operating under Ohio’s new sports betting law.

DraftKings literally had 99 different leagues showing up Tuesday for which it will take bets on their matches, taking place everywhere from Oman and Tanzania to Vietnam and the Faroe Islands, wherever those are.

But a reasonable guess is that Ohioans are most interested in Major League Soccer — even if the caliber of play may be higher in leagues on one or more other continents — due to the participation of FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew.

Not only are they hometown teams for many sports fans who bet, but they are both off to impressive starts about a fifth of the way through the 34-game MLS season, with each having won their last three games. Cincinnati is first in the 15-team Eastern Conference with a 5-0-2 record, and Columbus is fourth at 4-2-1. Both play their next games Saturday night, and both have formed exclusive sportsbook operator partnerships in Ohio — FC Cincinnati with SuperBook Sports and the Columbus Crew with Tipico.

Those partnerships enable the sportsbooks to be among the 17 currently providing mobile sports betting in Ohio, and they also have the right to create retail operations. For now, however, the Crew have not unveiled a retail plan for Tipico to take bets at or near Field, and FC Cincinnati has the SuperBook using a modest temporary location on the bottom floor of Taft’s Ale House a short walk from TQL Stadium.

Low scores producing Cincinnati wins

FC Cincinnati is one of just two teams yet to lose any of its seven matches this year, even though it’s only scored nine goals. All three of its last wins, including over the Philadelphia Union before a sold-out home crowd of more than 25,000 Saturday night, came by scores of 1-0.

Goalkeeper Roman Celentano has five shutouts, and Cincinnati has set an MLS record by not allowing a score in the last 314 minutes of play.

In its fifth season after joining the league as an expansion franchise, the club generally has the second-best odds behind defending champion Los Angeles FC to win the MLS championship in the fall. FC Cincinnati has odds to win the title ranging from +700 to +900, with that latter number available at DraftKings and BetMGM, among other books.

Right now, the MLS teams are generally only playing one game a week, on Saturday nights. Cincinnati faces a tough foe this week when visiting St. Louis City SC, which is second in the Western Conference with a 5-2-0 record.

Tipico has the match priced three ways at +165 for Cincinnati, +145 for St. Louis, and +245 for a draw. A Cincinnati backer could do better going to BetMGM to bet it as a +180 underdog.

As with other sports, the sportsbooks have numerous other betting options besides just the game’s outcome, such as number of goals scored. For those focused on Cincinnati’s three straight 1-0 wins, FanDuel offers a +330 return on total Cincinnati-St. Louis goals to fall under 1.5, with -460 to bet the over.

The in-person betting options for soccer fans include Taft’s, a brewpub that took over a historic church in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The SuperBook started taking bets on all sports in a downstairs bar area there on Jan. 1, with a betting window, five kiosks, and abundant TVs for game viewing.

It’s a temporary location, with FC Cincinnati indicating a permanent sportsbook is expected several years from now to be part of a development planned north of TQL Stadium. As might be expected when compared to casinos and racinos and venues where the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cincinnati Reds play, Taft’s has been taking far fewer bets than any other retail location — a total of just $13,911 of them in February.

Crew about 20/1 for a third title

The Crew won their second MLS Championship in 2020 and have a strong team again, having won its last three games by a combined score of 12-1. That included Saturday night’s 2-0 win at DC United.

The club stands fourth in the Eastern Conference, and its odds to claim another league title currently stand anywhere from +1700 to +2200. DraftKings and BetMGM are among those offering the latter number as the best payoff for bets on Columbus.

On Saturday, the Crew host one of the teams they trail in the standings, the second-place New England Revolution. Tipico has the betting line at -101 for Columbus, +270 for New England, and +260 for a tie. Caesars Sportsbook would reward a Crew victory a little better with a +102 price.

At Field in Columbus, Tipico has a presence, but not the kind where attendees can do any betting except on their phones. The sportsbook has prominent branding throughout the venue, including the Tipico Beer Garden and the Tipico Club, a private viewing area with its own food and beverage service.

The team has suggested a retail sportsbook lies in the future, and it has applied for a license for one with the Ohio Casino Control Commission, but no details have yet been revealed.

“Plans are being discussed, and more information will be shared when available,” a team spokesman told OH Bets in an email.

For those curious about what could amount to the first of two big rivalry games this season, Cincinnati visits Columbus on May 20.

Photo: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


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