Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes Pick 8/26/20
Portland Timbers (3-2-1, 10 points, 4th place West) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (2-1-2, 8 points, 7th place West)
When: Wednesday, August 26, 10:30 p.m.
Where: Earthquakes Stadium, San Jose, Calif.
Point Spread: Portland +0.5/San Jose -0.5
Moneyline: Portland +210/San Jose +115/Draw +240
Total: Over 2.5 (-189)/Under 2.5 (+140)
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Last Time Out:
Portland lost 3-0 to Seattle at home; San Jose lost 4-1 to Minnesota United in Orlando, Fla.
Portland defeated San Jose 3-1 on October 6, 2019, at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.
About the Matchup:
Two teams that surprised everyone in Orlando now find themselves needing to get some momentum back in a hurry. Portland left Florida with the big prize by winning the tournament and claiming a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League, but the tradeoff was that the Timbers didn’t have the legs to play a full 90 minutes against a rested Seattle side, which promptly brought Portland back to earth with a blowout on its home turf.
Meanwhile, San Jose hasn’t been playing at all since it lost to Minnesota in the quarterfinals. The fact that Vancouver can’t leave Canada means that one team in the Western Conference has to be idle on every match day, and San Jose drew the short straw on the first matchday of the regular season. As such, the Quakes now haven’t played in more than three weeks. With Portland coming off a loss to its fiercest rival just three days ago, will the layoff help or hurt San Jose?
Don’t read too much into the Timbers’ defeat against Seattle. Portland was the better team for 70 minutes until Raul Ruidiaz hit a beautiful goal that put the Timbers on the back foot and forced them to play the Sounders’ game. Portland might have been able to do that if it hadn’t played an extra three matches in Florida, but with the Timbers running on fumes, the defense opened up and created the 3-0 scoreline.
Before that happened, however, Portland had been the better of the two sides. The Timbers would have gone ahead early had Eryk Williamson not touched the ball in an offside position on a free-kick, and they had chances throughout the contest. This is still the same side that played like champions in Orlando, and that doesn’t go away just because they lost their legs at the end of the match. Portland still has plenty of quality in its midfield in Diego Chara, and seven different players managed to find the net during their time in Orlando.
The concern, of course, is the defense, which has been picked apart all season long. Except for the Seattle match, every match that the Timbers have played this season has seen both teams score. That cannot continue if the Timbers are going to be a contender in the Western Conference.
Scouting San Jose:
When San Jose’s man-marking defense is played to perfection, it’s tough to get quality chances against the Earthquakes. When mistakes happen, however, things can go south in a hurry. The latter was what occurred against Minnesota, as the Loons regularly punished the Earthquakes and buried them in the quarterfinals.
That’s what makes San Jose such a tough team to bet. The Quakes are never really out of a match, but they’re also never really in control of a game. With three quality scorers in Cristian Espinoza, Magnus Eriksson, and Chris Wondolowski, San Jose certainly has the ability to punish Portland if the Timbers’ legs again disappear in the final 15 minutes, but there’s a real question about the Earthquakes’ own legs.
San Jose’s style takes a lot out of its players, and the Quakes have had to come back multiple times this season. After three weeks off, will they be ready to get right back to it, or will they find themselves fading down the stretch the way Portland did?
Dan’s Best Bets:
This is the perfect time to take Portland on a “draw no bet” at +125. The Timbers are coming off an embarrassing scoreline against their most bitter rival, and they’ve won four of their past five meetings against the Earthquakes. Because of that, I think there’s an excellent chance that Portland comes back strong and puts in a quality performance. Given that the Timbers are the more talented side, there’s unique value in playing the draw no bet or even tossing the draw out the window and backing the Timbers to win the match.
If you really want to get risky, I’d look at backing the Timbers to win and over 3.5 goals at +575. San Jose’s style lends itself to a lot of scoring chances at both ends of the pitch, and Portland hasn’t kept a clean sheet against anyone this season. I can’t see that changing here, so backing a significant number could be a worthwhile strategy. Even if you’d like to play it a little safer, you can still get the Timbers to win and both teams to score at +350, which offers quality value.
Dan’s Score Prediction:
I can’t see this being a low-scoring contest, and given that the Timbers are the more talented team, I think this game could lead to quite a few goals as Portland finds a few holes in San Jose’s man defense. I’m tempted to take a shot on a five-goal affair, given that these teams have struggled so much on defense, but I think a replication of last year’s meeting is the way to go here. I’ll back Portland to come out with a 3-1 win at +2000. Bet your MLS picks for free this week by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at MyBookie Sportsbook! You must use bonus code PREDICT100 on the registration page to get the bonus credited.