As Major League Soccer enters what is building up to be a marquee season, could it be the New York Red Bulls that prevail as champions when all is said and done?
The Red Bulls will be looking to clinch a 14th consecutive MLS Cup Playoffs appearance in 2023 and have only missed the postseason four times in 27 years.
One of the league’s original clubs, formerly the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, is still in search of its first MLS Cup. The team’s only trip to the MLS Cup final came in 2008 and the past four playoff appearances have ended in first-round exits.
A third season under Austrian coach Gerhard Struber could start to see a breakthrough that would come as a delight to RBNY fans. Let’s take a deeper dive into the Red Bulls, their keys to victory, and where you can find the best betting odds if you fancy a dream ending to the season.
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NYRB Offseason Moves
The Red Bulls didn’t feature a ton of turnover this offseason, but there were two key departures that have affected their odds at the top NY sports betting apps.
Defender Aaron Long, a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, left to join defending MLS champs LAFC in free agency. The 30-year-old had been a key piece of the back line for several seasons and was named the 2018 MLS Defender of the Year.
Polish forward Patryk Klimala was sold to Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva. Kimala was the team’s top scorer in 2021 and was a solid contributor in 2022 with five goals and three assists.
The Red Bulls have offset nine departures with seven additions. Belgian forward Dante Vanzei headlines the reinforcements that also include American defender Kyle Duncan (on loan from Belgian club K.V. Oostende) and Brazilian attacker Elias Manoel. The club also signed three players from its development system.
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Red Bulls Key players
If the Red Bulls want to make the jump into the list of MLS Cup contenders, the team will need more goals from its attacking group. With the departure of Aaron Long, they’ll also need someone to step up as the leader of the defense.
Here are the key names to keep in mind:
With 14 goals and 4 assists, Morgan was the most important player for the Red Bulls last season. The 26-year-old had a breakout year in MLS after coming over in a trade from Inter Miami and he’s expected to only get better in his second year with New York — so much so that the club extended him for three more seasons with an option for a fourth.
The oddsmakers have the Scottish forward among the candidates for top scorer in 2023 with BetMGM Sportsbook providing the best value at +6600. Caesars NY Sportsbook is the next best value at +5000 while BetRivers NY Sportsbook is offering +2000.
In his first year with the club, Vanzeir will be expected to bring in big numbers given his Designated Player status. The Belgian scored 48 goals and tallied 21 assists in 92 appearances with his previous club and, at 24 years old, was signed to a four-year contract.
Online sportsbooks like his chances for an impactful season and have placed him as a candidate for the MLS Golden Boot. BetMGM has him at +2500, Caesars at +2000 and BetRivers at +1100.
Nealis will make history by becoming the first New York native to feature the captain’s armband. Previously the vice-captain, the Massapequa native has risen up the ranks after being selected in the second round of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. He has made 76 appearances for the Red Bulls and could reach the centenary mark this season.
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NYRB Odds to win MLS Cup
MLS announced a new playoff format for 2023, extending the qualification to the best nine teams from each conference. The eighth and ninth seeds will play a one-game wildcard round and the following stage will feature the remaining teams in a best-of-three series.
Also for consideration is that another wrench will be thrown into the regular season with a one-month break from July 21 to August 19 for the MLS-Liga MX joint Leagues Cup tournament.
With depth being a big factor to consider, more so now with more matches in the 29-team league, the Red Bulls could be a team to seriously consider. Almost half of the team’s roster is made up of either homegrown players or talent that has been promoted from their Red Bulls II side. Additionally, they have younger legs with at least 20 players aged 25 or below.
New York Red Bulls MLS Cup Odds
- DraftKings: +1600
- FanDuel: +1700
- Caesars: +1800
- BetMGM: +2000
Scroll through the list below to see the odds for every team to win the MLS Cup title:
To Win Eastern Conference (including playoffs)
- Caesars: +800
- BetMGM: +800
An interesting betting market is available only on BetRivers, with which you can bet on teams to win their general markets. This is one that appeals more to Red Bulls fans, who can bet their team to have a better season than rivals NYCFC.
General Team Markets 2023 (BetRivers)
- New York Red Bulls: +170
- NYCFC: -250
New York Red Bulls begin their season on the road at Orlando City on Saturday, Feb. 25. You can find NYRB money line at anywhere from +190 (BetMGM) to +205 (BetRivers) across online sportsbooks or from +220 (FanDuel) to +230 (BetMGM, BetRivers) to draw.
AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert