Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo Picks, Odds | US Open Cup Final
Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Lionel Messi.
Editor's Note: Inter Miami announced on Wednesday evening that Lionel Messi is not on the team sheet and will not be playing in the US Open Cup final.
Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo Odds
|Inter Miami Odds
|Houston Dynamo Odds
|Over / Under
-167 / +130
Inter Miami will look to win their second major trophy in as many months when they take on the Houston Dynamo in the US Open Cup final. But we probably won't know if Lionel Messi will feature until lineups come out on Wednesday evening.
Messi has been on the shelf for most of the last two weeks with a scar tissue/muscle fatigue issue — as the team has termed it — and manager Tata Martino has admitted the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner won't be 100% if he plays on Wednesday.
Martino, who previously managed Messi with the Argentine National Team and Barcelona, even went so far as to say on Tuesday that Messi definitely would not play were this a league game, but because it's a final the Herons are more willing to consider the risk.
Meanwhile, the Dynamo come in as almost an afterthought, despite winning the tournament in 2018 and being one of the teams that has most outperformed expectations during the 2023 MLS regular season.
Houston won these teams' regular season meeting 1-0 back in April when neither Messi, Martino nor a good chunk of Miami's supporting cast had yet to arrive in South Florida.
Let's get into the Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo US Open Cup clash.
Here's what we know. Messi has played only 37 minutes of competitive action since he removed himself in the 89th minute of Argentina's 1-0 World Cup Qualifying victory over Ecuador.
When he did play, he again had to exit prematurely late in the first half of a 4-0 victory over Toronto FC a week ago. And while Miami have stressed that Messi is dealing with a flare-up of a previous issue rather than a new injury, the appearance of his exit against Toronto was that of a player who sustained a new knock.
What we don't know is whether Messi was under strict instructions to remove himself at even minor discomfort because the final was coming in a week's time. Nor do we know Martino's calcluations about if he would employ Messi as a starter or a sub if he is available.
Messi isn't the only injury question. Former FC Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba has also been dealing with muscle soreness and departed the Toronto game early. He's less likely to contribute than Messi is, Martino said.
The Herons have fared pretty well without their biggest star in recent weeks. All four goals against Toronto came after Messi's exit, and the Herons also defeated Sporting Kansas City while Messi and a host of others were on international duty. On the road, they lost 5-2 at Atlanta United and drew Orlando City 1-1 in recent games Messi missed.
The Dynamo have struggled for relevancy across MLS and in the Houston sports market, but they have a chance to become the first MLS team to win multiple U.S. Open Cups if they can pull off the upset.
And they might be more equipped for the task than you think.
After a rough introduction to MLS last year, Mexican international Hector Herrera has rebounded in exceptional style with four goals and 14 assists under new manager Ben Olsen.
Next to him in Houston's set-up is Panamanian Adalberto Carrasquilla, one of the best box-to-box midfielders in CONCACAF. Add Amine Biassi and Artur and Houston's strength is their central midfield depth, which could make the team uniquely equipped to at least limit the pairing of Messi and Sergio Busquets.
Additionally, Olsen won the U.S. Open Cup as a player (2008) and a manager (2013) with D.C. United, and as a coach he also helped D.C. win a road final at Real Salt Lake. He will understand the stage.
But if there's a flaw to the Dynamo, it's their away form. Average MLS road teams win about 50% of their home games and lose 50% of their away games. Houston have won 67% of their home matches and lost 60% of their away games in league play.
So how on earth do you bet a game before you know whether the best living player on earth will start? By betting on what you do know.
In this case, we know Houston's poor away form, particularly in the attack. In 18 games in all competitions, the Dynamo have scored multiple goals only three times. Meanwhile, Miami have conceded multiple goals only once at home since Messi's arrival, whether he's on the field or not.
That inability to score multiple goals in away games probably makes a 90-minute draw more likely than a Houston win in regular time. That presents an opportunity on the home-no-bet market at some books, where you can back the draw at -110 odds and a 52.4% probability that the game will end level if Miami don't win it. If Miami do win, your bet is void.
And if you can stomach the vig, playing Houston to score fewer than 1.5 goals at -195 probably has some value.