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The first match of the MLS playoff schedule sees a solid contest between the Chicago Fire and the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Park with a 9pm EDT kickoff.

The most exciting time of the year in American soccer starts tonight when the Chicago Fire looks to get off to a big bang when it faces the visiting Houston Dynamo.

The Fire finished in fourth place in a very tough Eastern Conference and could have had the second seed slot but fell short by a point. Its home record is strong this year, with a showing of 11-3-3 at Toyota Park, but Chicago has allowed an average of just under a goal a game on its home turf.

During August and Septemeber, Chicago was one of the hottest teams in all of MLS, but the Fire has fallen flat in October when it counted most as it dropped matches to league bottomfeeders Philadelphia and New England, costing the Illinois side dearly.

The Fire is presently being issued at just under evens with a payout of 1.98 over at Sportsbook.com. A halftime/fulltime victory would naturally increase with the odds now slated at 3.15.

A draw result looks appealing and can be had at 3.20.

The former two-time MLS champion Houston Dynamo is considered the underdog coming in and that is just fine with the Texans. The odds of 3.55 are attractive, but their road record of 3-9-5 (W-L-T) will leave many bettors wary of that result in the outright market.

Plus, Houston has already lost to Chicago while on the road when it was defeated a couple of months ago by a 3-1 score. Their only other encounter during the year was a 0-0 draw in Texas.

Striker Will Bruin will need to be on form. His 12 goals leads the club and the 23-year-old former MLS Rookie of the Year will be expected to deliver in this series.

In addition, if there is a coach in Major League Soccer that knows how to win, it is Houston skip Dominic Kinnear. By the time he was 40, Kinnear had won two MLS Cups as an assistant with San Jose and as head coach led Houston to its two championships in 2006 and 2007. Needless to say, he has been in this spot before.

Just don't necessairly expect Houston to do it in the first leg.

If you venture away from the outrights, then maybe the over/under market is more up your alley. The over 2.5 here is being issued at 2.10 while the under sits at 1.65.

Join Sportsbook.com now for up to $500 in free bets when you open up a new and free account. Use that bonus coin to bet on the MLS playoffs this week.

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