FC Dallas vs Inter Miami Odds, Pick | Can Messi Win on the Road?

FC Dallas vs Inter Miami Odds, Pick | Can Messi Win on the Road? article feature image

Simon Bruty/Getty. Pictured: Lionel Messi.

FC Dallas vs Inter Miami Odds

Sunday, August 6
9:30 p.m. ET
MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
Inter Miami Odds+115
FC Dallas Odds+225
Over/Under2.5 (-163 / +125)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(-188 / +137)
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Lionel Messi will hit the road for the first time during his MLS career when Inter Miami visit FC Dallas in the Leagues Cup round of 16 on Sunday night.

Messi has gotten off to a dream start for Miami, scoring five goals and assisting another in three wins to reach this stage. But all three of those victories have come before home supporters. This will be Messi's first sample of life on the road in MLS, where trips are much further than in your average domestic fixture in Spain or France.

Dallas are also unbeaten in the tournament, with wins over Mexican foes Mazatlan in the second round and Necaxa in the group stage after a 2-2 draw against Charlotte to open the tournament. The uptick in form comes after a relatively lean run in league play and correlates with the return of leading scorer Jesus Ferreira from nearly a month away on international duty.

As is often the case in MLS, Messi will again square off against Argentine countrymen in Dallas winger Alan Velasco and midfielder Facundo Quignon.

Inter Miami Thriving Since Messi's Arrival

The early dialogue surrounding Messi's debut has been whether MLS might be too easy for the all-time great. Maybe it's a fair question. But most competition has been too easy for Messi during his career. He's less than a year from being named the best player at a World Cup, and only a couple of seasons removed from scoring 30 goals in a big five European league.

So, he's probably going to continue to put up gaudy numbers like he did in those other places and maybe to even more of an extreme. But as was the case in Europe or with Argentina, that doesn't mean he's unbeatable.

And so far, the xG models have suggested Miami have ridden some good fortune a bit, with the caveat that Messi personally has a long track record of over-performing his xG numbers. They haven't had a decisive lead in non-penalty xG in any of their victories.

From a tactical perspective, what might have been more promising than the 3-1 second-round win over Orlando on Tuesday was the Miami debuts of former Messi Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba and young Paraguayan Diego Gomez.

Both came off the bench helped add balance in the back half of the pitch that allowed Miami to kill off the game effectively once they eventually staked to their two-goal lead.

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FC Dallas Welcoming Return of Star Striker

Ferreira has become a favorite target of U.S. National Team fans who did not believe the MLS-based striker deserved a place on Gregg Berhalter's 2022 World Cup squad.

But as far as his club side is concerned, any questions about his importance should have been put well and truly in the rearview after his most recent absence.

Despite not playing an MLS regular season match since June 11 because of his Gold Cup commitments, Ferreira remains in touching distance in the MLS Golden Boot race with 10 goals. His team only scored four times during the five MLS games he missed and has come back to hit multiple goals in each of their three Leagues Cup fixtures since his return.

And now he hasn't had to accomplish as much of the scoring by himself, with veterans Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola returning from injury.

Goalkeeper Maarten Paes is one of the most underrated in the league and is likely the most in-form man in the net Miami has faced since Messi's arrival.

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Inter Miami vs Orlando City Pick

First off, all the analytics so far with Messi in the fold suggest Miami shouldn't be a road favorite. The Herons still leak a lot of chances at home and are likely to do the same on their travels, maybe even more so.

On the other hand, Messi has always outperformed those analytics. though maybe not to this degree. Long story short, I'm staying away from the moneyline until I have more of a sense of exactly what I'm looking at with this brave new Miami squad. And I can understand arguments for either side if you want to play it.

Secondly, Miami manager Tata Martino has made no secret that he wants his squad to be ball-dominant. That's a fairly conventional choice when you have the world's greatest living player at your disposal. But it does present betting opportunities in a league where a lot of teams don't want to hoard the ball.

For me, the first is on a multi-goal wager on 3 or 4 goals scored at +138 odds and an implied 42% probability. That wager has hit in all of Messi's matches so far. I expect it to continue at a reasonable rate because Miami look to be turning into a team that kills a game by keeping the ball rather than seeking endless insurance when they get a lead.

The wager has also cashed in five of Dallas' nine home games with Ferreira in the squad, plus all three home Leagues Cup games so far.

I also like playing Dallas to earn more corners at +150 odds and a 40.0% implied probability. Messi and Sergio Busquets rule central midfield, which has left opponents trying to hit Miami wide. The Herons have had at least three fewer corners than their opponents in all three games since Messi's debut.

The Picks: Multi-goal, 3 or 4 goals (+138 via Caesars), FC Dallas corners match bet (+150 via PointsBet)

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