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Best 2024 Major League Soccer Future Bets

Orlando City SC Midfielder, Wilder Cartagena in MLS

The 2024 Major League Soccer season is quickly approaching, and the betting waters are murky. Many clubs are heading into the offseason with significant upgrades to their squads, and there are plenty of ways to bet on futures in this league. It’s important to note that futures can be simplified to be thought of as investments. As any hedge fund manager will tell you, there are bad and good investments, and this quick rundown will inform you on which teams to best “invest” your time and money in. We will be eyeing a profit much later in the season and hopefully can set ourselves up with some hedges to come out with a profit regardless. Personally, I make future bets by spreading my unit size on different teams. Of the 29 teams, 18 qualify for the MLS playoffs, and of those 18, we’re picking four teams to win it all; two from each conference. This article will cover our four best future bets for each conference.


We will have a first choice team (a presumed contender) and a long shot (a presumed playoff absentee).

The 2024 Major League Soccer Future Bets for 2024

Eastern Conference

First Choice – Orlando City (+2300) 

While many might argue Inter Miami should be in this spot due to their sheer name recognition, I’m going with their intra-state rivals Orlando City SC. The 2022 US Open Cup Champions solidified themselves as Eastern Conference Contenders last season with an impressive second-place finish totaling 18 wins, nine draws, and eight losses. Orlando was most notably in headlines following the failed transfer of last year’s breakout star Duncan McGuire to English Championship side Blackburn Rovers. The whole debacle in itself is a whole other article, but the striker remains at Orlando and is ready to compete.

With the presumed exit of McGuire, the club went to the market and brought in Colombian striker Luis Muriel, whose international pedigree should mix well with the rest of the squad. Ideally, head coach Óscar Pareja could find a system that works with both strikers on the field. But seeing as their 4-2-3-1 structure is positionally sound and amongst the best in the league defensively (fourth best), I don’t see any reason to break that up and welcome the striker competition between the two.

Elsewhere in the Starting 11, the team signed their loanees Wilder Cartagena and Ivan Angulo, who were big contributors last year. The club surprisingly agreed to mutually terminate the contract of Mauricio Pereyra, who was the tempo setter in that midfield and did well to relieve pressure and create chances. He will be replaced by fellow Uruguayan Nicolas Lodeiro, who will be tasked with the same duties and should do a good job filling the shoes left behind by Pereyra. Overall, I don’t expect Orlando to significantly drop out of the contenders’ conversation. They will have a grueling Concacaf Champions Cup run, and that will more than likely dip their form in the league. Perhaps after their exit would be the time to bet on this future. Come summer, I expect this team to be flying.

Long Shot – Charlotte FC (+6600)

Charlotte FC limped into the playoffs on the final day of the season and then proceeded to get rocked by the much-prepared New York Red Bulls. Christian Lattanzio’s sacking came soon after, and Charlotte was in search of a third head coach in their third year of existence. Charlotte FC has had a very quiet offseason. They didn’t grab the headlines with flashy transfers quite like the Chicago Fire did, but their notable highlight is the acquisition of Dean Smith as their new head coach. He will be the crux by which their offseason is judged. In Smith, the side is going with a manager with a very simple and effective style of tactics. As admitted by Smith, Charlotte doesn’t have the quality to play the possession style of game dominating the current MLS landscape.

In short, Charlotte is not kidding themselves, and they’re going to commit fully to Dean Smith’s style of play. There is nothing more dangerous than a team that leans into their identity, especially as perceived underdogs. Not only that, but a much more pragmatic style of play often lends itself to teams looking inward for talent. It just so happens that Charlotte FC’s second team, Crown Legacy, was one of the best teams in MLS Next Pro. One player in particular who has shown a lot of promise is defensive midfielder, Nikola Petkovic. He should be in line for some starts deep behind advanced midfielder, Brecht Dejaegere.

The Belgian midfielder is among one of the best ball winners for his position and should look to press in dangerous advanced positions. So, in Charlotte, you have a hopeful cast of players with a pragmatic coach relying on the efforts of a 20-year-old holding midfielder.  I see a team whose skeleton is well-prepared and solidified in preseason; they have pieces in place that make sense for the style they’ll play, and most importantly, they’re set up to add potentially two Designated Players in the Summer. For how they’ve done recently in the offseason, +6600 is a great number to take on a team who will more than likely improve the sum of its parts midway through the season.

Western Conference

First Choice – Vancouver Whitecaps (+5000)

It doesn’t take much for the Vancouver Whitecaps to win you over. An endearing—albeit unhinged—head coach, an elite attacking duo of Ryan Gauld and Brian White, and with some savvy improvements to the supporting cast, the Whitecaps at this number are a steal given their playoff status from last year. As it stands, among playoff teams last year, they have the second-longest odds of winning MLS Cup.

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The Whitecaps ended their 2023 season fifth in the Western Conference, losing to Western Conference Champions LAFC in their first-round playoff series. Vancouver landed at a very respectable spot in the standings, but their underlying numbers were spectacular. Simply glossing over the MLS and their own team FBRef page, you’ll see Vancouver second in the West for xG, third in the West for xGD per 90 with +0.34, fifth in the West for Goal Creating (2.53) and Shot Creating Actions (23.56) per 90, and the duo of Brian White and Ryan Gauld feature prominently within top-ten player standings for advanced shot, goals, and assists.

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They didn’t lose either of them in the offseason, and the coach remains. On paper, they should play similarly to how they did last year. This time, they’ll be supported by MLS-experienced Damir Kreilach and Fafà Picault. Kreilach hasn’t been the same since his injury and fell out of RSL’s side last season, and Picault struggled to find a permanent spot on Nashville’s team. Those two aren’t going to single-handedly win them the cup, but I can’t help but feel these players will feel “renewed” and “fresh” playing for a much more attacking side. Both RSL and Nashville pride themselves on pragmatic soccer, playing in their low blocks while forcing teams to beat them.

Kreilach and Picault will join a much more dynamic side that can highlight both players’ attacking qualities that were otherwise suppressed on their former teams. The big criticism here may be that they’re too old to be impact additions. However, being fifth in the league for average age, the side could use some veteran presence to get them through the summer. Overall, I think +5000 is a steal given how this team ended and how unaffected their roster has been during the offseason.

Long Shot – San Jose Earthquakes (+7500)

Remember how I said Vancouver, of the playoff teams last year, had the second-longest odds to win MLS Cup this year? San Jose has the longest odds of that list, and they’ve been severely discredited by pundits and analysts, with some placing them as low as 13th in the West. Not as stylish or as sexy as the Whitecaps, San Jose’s main strength was their attack that had to claw their defense out of rough spots.

When they conceded, they gave up a huge amount of their tactical and defensive structure and had to rely on goalkeeper Daniel, whose goalkeeping numbers rivaled the best among MLS. They limped into the playoffs but lost to SKC, whose momentum at the time was riding an all-time high. For the Earthquakes, the goal this offseason was to improve the backline. Time will tell if their acquisitions of the attacking left-back Vitor Costa and the technical ball-playing center-back Bruno Wilson will pan out.

Both players join with prior Liga Portugal experience, and if their advanced numbers translate to MLS, a generally weaker league than the Portuguese, then these players will look like absolute steals. Ideally, our futures bet and value come from these two players. But, the club also acquired a goalscoring left-winger by the name of Amahl Pellegrino from Norwegian giants Bobo/Glimt. With 55 goals in three years, Pellegrino has become a fan favorite among many obscure league soccer bettors. He’ll now be in the best obscure league of them all, MLS.

He replaces Cade Cowell, whose steady decline in production for San Jose signaled a chance for change. If he can be a goal threat along with Cristian Espinoza and Jeremy Ebobisse
, the Quakes are bound to be a fun attacking side. There are issues about the advanced midfielder position following Jamiro Monteiro’s exit. However, they have a DP spot open to use, and if they capitalize on that signing, they’ll have an elite attack in MLS. This futures bet relies on their defense significantly improving. If they can get their backline functioning before a key DP signing in the summer comes, they’ll have plenty of momentum to carry into the postseason. Last year was only a step in the right direction, and of teams with longer odds, they’re the most ready for a next-level push.

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The Major League Soccer season kicks off tomorrow with Real Salt Lake visiting league darlings Inter Miami. Last Word on Soccer is the home for all my betting previews and analysis. Stay tuned throughout the season for my best picks and best of luck. Which future are you riding with this year?


Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports, of a Wilder Cartagena Headshot, on November 7, 2023.


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