We’re one week away from Europe’s big boys returning, but there’s still plenty of lower-level European soccer and MLS to keep us occupied until then. We’ve had a few pretty good days this week, and we’ll try to keep things rolling with these soccer plays for August 7.
STOKE CITY-READING DRAW, +230
Reading finished last year in an awful run of form, winning just one of its final 11 matches to drop out of a playoff spot and condemn itself to another year in England’s second tier. Things aren’t likely to change for the Royals against Stoke City, as these two have been kings of the stalemate when they’ve come up against each other. Seven of the past nine meetings have finished all square, and Reading’s past three trips to Stoke have all finished without a goal. Expect a dull encounter here and feel free to play under 1.5 goals at +150 if you’re worried about one team finding a winner.
MINNESOTA AND UNDER 3.5 GOALS, +145
Minnesota tends to play tight games at home and win them, having won five of its past six at Allianz Arena. All five saw three goals or less, with four of them seeing two or less. The only reason I’m not being more aggressive is that Houston has tended to do its share of scoring against the Loons in previous meetings. But the Dynamo have been shut out in three of their past five matches, and they’ve failed to win in 10 straight.
FC DALLAS TO WIN TO NIL, +290
MLS has really enjoyed showing off Austin’s beautiful new stadium, so much so that the Oaks haven’t left home since June 23. The road hasn’t been a friendly place for the newest MLS side, as Austin’s been shut out in four of its past five road matches. This trip up I-35 shouldn’t go much better, as FC Dallas has been dynamite at home this season. The Toros have yet to lose at home, and their improved form says a shutout is likely.
TORONTO FC DOUBLE CHANCE, -105
New York City has been outstanding at home this year. The same hasn’t held true for the Sky Blues on the road, as they’ve lost two of their past three away from Yankee Stadium and just played out a scoreless draw at Chicago. Toronto has drawn all three of its games at BMO Field by a 1-1 count, and the draw offers a ton of value at +300. But if you’re just looking for a win, this seems like a strong play.