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Why MLS betting odds don't make a ton of sense

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The betting houses are being very conservative.

As anyone who's a fan of MLS and betting will tell you, finding someone to legally take your action can be tough. Most Nevada casinos don't offer betting lines and the outlets that do so online aren't particularly enticing. Case in point, Bodog released their MLS Cup futures on Monday and fans all over the league are left scratching their heads.

For the uninitiated, +400 translates to 4/1. Or you need to bet $100 to win $400. The Sounders are going off at 14/1, which would make them the seventh favorites in the eyes of Bodog. That's not so different than where they finished last year, when they were sixth in the Supporters' Shield standings and were among the last eight in the playoffs.

In fact, the odds pretty closely mirror last year's standings, with the notable exception of the LA Galaxy. The New York Red Bulls were the Supporters' Shield winners, the Portland Timbers won the MLS Cup, the Columbus Crew were runners' up and FC Dallas finished second in the overall standings. To put it another way, Bodog is basically being pretty conservative with the order teams are in.

That's not entirely surprising, though. Chances are Bodog have not invested a ton of money in trying to handicap MLS, and they are almost surely basing their odds on where they think the money is going to go -- the Galaxy have added a ton of big names and will attract bettors -- not on who their research suggests is the best team. Chances are, there's no one at Bodog tirelessly go over MLS offseason transactions and checking in with professional scouts around the league. That also helps explain why the odds are relatively conservative for the whole league, as Bodog probably isn't anticipating a huge volume of bets and one long shot paying off could be problematic for their bottom line.

In other words, take these odds with a giant helping of salt. (And of course, they should only be used for entertainment purposes anyway.)