Inter Miami vs LAFC Odds, Picks, Predictions | MLS Betting Preview
Mitchell Leff/Getty. Pictured: Lionel Messi.
Inter Miami vs LAFC Odds
|Inter Miami Odds||+275|
|Over / Under|
+110 / -150
Lionel Messi and Inter Miami continue a grueling schedule when they head west to face LAFC on Sunday night in what may be one of the most star-studded matches in MLS history.
Messi's Herrons dropped points at home for the first time since his July arrival on Wednesday night, settling for a 0-0 draw against a resolute and well-0rganized Nashville SC.
Carlos Vela and LAFC are on a full week's rest after suffering a disappointing 2-1 loss at Charlotte FC last weekend and they are now tied on points with Seattle for second place in the Western Conference.
This is only the teams' third all-time meeting, with LAFC earning shutout victories in the previous two.
The Herons have now played five times on the road, posting a 2-0-3 record (W-L-T) over 90 minutes (but "winning" the other three draws on penalties in knockout play).
That would certainly be viewed as a positive away record under normal circumstances. But given the hole in the standings Messi and company are trying to dig out of, they may have to perform better than that over their remaining five away matches to have a chance of reaching the postseason.
And they will arrive in LA off what was easily their least inspiring effort since Messi arrived. A very organized Nashville SC came to Miami having already gone through the Messi experience once, and mostly suffocated the home side. Miami's first effort on target came in the 61st minute, a Messi free kick that required only a comfortable save from Elliot Panicco.
As full-time drew near, it was the first time we really saw Messi try to force the initiative and create his own shot from the dribble. It very nearly worked — he had the best look of anyone in the dying stages, but couldn't beat Panicco from a tight angle.
It's been a season of streaks for LAFC, who have had to balance the additional load of a run to the Leagues Cup quarterfinals and to the CONCACAF Champions League final earlier this season.
That has led to a squad that at times has looked sluggish during its regular season commitments and like a team that missed having a true center forward after Christian Arango's departure.
But the Black-and-Gold have appeared re-invigorated in their return to MLS play, winning 4-0 against Colorado before their loss to Charlotte. In the latter, LAFC were more unfortunate than anything, having created more end product in terms of xG than their Carolina foes.
And the defending MLS Cup champs also finally filled Arango's void with the addition of Spaniard Mario Gonzalez. He scored his first MLS goal against Charlotte and already has 1.9xG worth of chances in two matches.
Inter Miami vs LAFC
Pick & Prediction
The defending MLS Cup and 2022 US Open Cup champions are unlikely to significantly change the way they play at home, even against Messi and Miami. That's good news for neutrals who shouldn't expect a repeat of Nashville's grinding pragmatism.
The easy value on this game came early when the wager on the over 2.5 opened strangely low. Now you have to get a little more creative, and for me the play taking a bigger swing on LAFC to score three or more.
Manager Steve Cherundolo's squad's analytic numbers are great. And yet they are probably also depressed by having to deal with a similar fixture congestion earlier in the season to what Miami is handling now.
They've been absolutely devastating when rested. In five home games in all competitions in which LAFC are playing on six or more days of rest. They've scored at least two goals all five times. They've scored three or more in four. I like their chances to do the same against a flawed Herons back line at +220 odds and an implied 31.3% probability.
I also like betting Gonzalez as an anytime goal-scorer. At +210 odds, he's priced like an attacking midfielder who plays behind Vela and Denis Bouanga rather than a striker whose job is to feast on their service. Arango scored 16 times in a season doing the same thing, and if anything Gonzalez's past pedigree is a bit better.
You'd expect a striker of his caliber to score in 40% to 50% of his home matches against average league defenses.
Finally, I won't ever tell you not to play Messi as an anytime scorer at almost even money. But he's not my top pick in the goal-scoring market on Sunday.