Colorado Rapids Offer Potential Value As MLS Futures Sleeper Pick

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The Colorado Rapids exceeded expectations in a truncated 2020 season disrupted by COVID-19, reaching the playoffs for the first time in four years. Oddsmakers have pegged the Rapids to finish in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference this season, but with coach Robin Fraser heading into his first full season with the team, there could be value picking Colorado to win either the conference or the MLS Cup this year.

Getting to that point, however, will be challenging. The Rapids have won the MLS Cup just once in their 25-year franchise history, in 2010, and the last time they advanced beyond the first round in the postseason was in 2016. Additionally, the West has been the stronger conference from top-to-bottom in recent years as newcomers Los Angeles FC and Minnesota United have quickly asserted themselves alongside perennial powers the Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City.

Fraser, though, has settled in after taking over the team in the latter part of the 2019 season. In the small sample size of 2020, the Rapids went 8-4-6 and finished fifth in the West before being ousted in the first round of the MLS Cup by Minnesota. Colorado is still a relatively young and defense-first team — Fraser was a former defender for the Rapids and the U.S. Men’s National Team — so there may be some growing pains on the offensive side in the early going.

What the sportsbooks are offering

In terms of winning the MLS Cup, there is a wide range of offerings from Colorado sportsbooks. The Kambi platform powering DraftKings and BetRivers is offering the Rapids at +2200 to win the title, and it ticks higher to +3000 at PointsBet, then +3400 at FanDuel, +4000 at BetMGM, +6000 at William Hill before the +8000 listing at FOX Bet.

Four of the sportsbooks have an offering for the Western Conference title, with BetMGM the most bullish on the Rapids at +1200. DraftKings and BetRivers follow at +1400, and PointsBet is offering +2000. BetRivers is also offering a head-to-head matchup with regional rival Real Salt Lake, offering -435 for the Rapids to finish with more points than RSL.

For player props, striker Diego Rubio is the only Rapids option to win the MLS Golden Boot as the league’s top goal scorer. Rubio had only three goals last season, but Fraser is counting on offseason acquisition Michael Berrios — who totaled 41 assists in his last four seasons with FC Dallas — to provide service in the final third to increase Rubio’s goal haul and bolster the Colorado offense.

Rubio, though, is a longshot at the three books offering that listing, with BetMGM at +4000 and both BetRivers and DraftKings at +8000.

Colorado begins its season Saturday night at FC Dallas and opens its home schedule April 24 against expansion side Austin FC.

Chris Altruda has been a sportswriter with ESPN, The Associated Press, and STATS over more than two decades. He recently expanded into covering sports betting and gambling around the Midwest.

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