NWSL Betting Preview: Pride, Spirit Meet Up With Recent Managerial Changes

Written By Antonio Maza on August 22, 2021

NWSL teams are no strangers to turmoil, particularly when it comes to managers. The dance of head coaches is always ongoing, especially over these last few years, with many effects on NWSL betting lines. Some have left looking for better opportunities (either in the United States or abroad) or some, like Richie Burke, no longer hold their positions because of allegations of abusive behavior.

One thing to consider before going into this game is the mental state of both clubs at 4 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network. The host Washington Spirit with the dismissal of Burke and the visiting Orlando Pride due to the adjustments that Becky Burleigh has put into this team.

NWSL betting lines for Spirit v. Pride Sunday

These unstable teams are clear on the form for both teams: At home, Washington has won only one of the last five matches, a 2-0 victory against the North Carolina Courage. That run did include a 1-1 draw against Orlando, though.

Orlando has a recently better record away, with two wins in five games. They are unbeaten playing away from Exploria Stadium with Burleigh at the helm.

SportsbookSpirit to winDrawPride to win
BetMGM Sportsbook-120+240+275
BetRivers Sportsbook-106+240+230
Caesars Sportsbook-110+225+275
DraftKings Sportsbook-105+255+285
Oregon Scoreboard-105+245+280
PointsBet Sportsbook-105+260+275

Their road record includes a 1-1 draw against North Carolina and a 2-0 win against the Chicago Red Stars. In each of those games, the Pride showed different colors, with a more direct football and more stability when it comes to defensive shape than the performances we saw with Mark Skinner coaching.

If we put our attention to goals, both teams are pretty similar. The Spirit have scored 1.21 goals per 90 while the Pride are at 1.2 per 90. As far as goals against go, they’re also pretty close and above the league average. The hosts today have conceded 1.21 goals per 90, while the visitors 1.13.

Looking deeper at both clubs’ performances

But, let’s dig a bit deeper. Washington in the last few games has seen fairly similar xG and xG against numbers. All those have been above one, with an increase of expected goals in favor after a dip. That went up to a point where the xG against in the last few games has been higher than the one in favor for the team from D.C.

Meanwhile, in the other side of this east coast match-up, after a start of the season with very high xG against, Orlando has seen a dramatic drop. In the same vein as the Spirit, the numbers against are higher than the ones in favor.

The main difference between both teams is how they approach and defend counterattacks. The Spirit are one of the teams that have conceded the most attacking shots from counterattacking situations. This makes sense, though, given their high line and possession-oriented approach with 0.64 per 90.

One thing that both teams don’t do well is attacking set pieces. Both clubs are at the bottom of xG in favor from those situations: 0.23 for the team in red and black, meanwhile the ones wearing purple and white only generates 0.20. This is most curious for the Pride, as they have good takers like Courtney Petersen, Marta, and someone quite obvious to aim for in Taylor Kornieck.

Given those numbers, this could be a tight match. A goals total of over 1.5 looks probable and if you really want to gamble (no pun intended) on an exact result, 1-1 looks possible for this Sunday match.

Photo by Gary McCullough/Associated Press
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Antonio Maza

NWSL Analitica writer/owner, video and data analyst

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