Inter Miami vs Nashville SC Odds, Picks, Prediction | Leagues Cup Final Preview
Mitchell Leff/Getty. Pictured: Lionel Messi.
Inter Miami vs Nashville SC Odds
|Inter Miami Odds||+100|
|Nashville SC Odds||+240|
|Over / Under|
-118 / -105
Lionel Messi's Inter Miami and Hany Mukhtar's Nashville SC both try to win their first major trophies when they meet in the Leagues Cup final on Saturday night in the Music City.
It's hard to tell who is coming off the more impressive semifinal victory heading into this one.
Miami thumped the Philadelphia Union 4-1 on the road in their semifinal, doing most of their damage against the defending Eastern Conference champions before halftime.
Nashville may have gotten to play at home, but their 2-0 win over five-time CONCACAF Club champions CF Monterrey is as good as it gets in this region.
These sides were both MLS expansion teams in 2020.
Here's how I'm betting Inter Miami vs Nashville SC on Saturday night.
Messi made his debut in the inaugural game of this tournament — a new event contested between all 47 clubs in MLS and Liga MX — and given his performance so far it's almost as though it's his own invitational.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored nine goals and assisted two more during Miami's enthralling run and helped the Herons be absolutely dominant as a team, outscoring opponents 21-7 in this event.
By the early standards he set, he's slowed in his production somewhat in the last two matches with only two goal involvements. But the Herons have scored so early each time it hasn't mattered, with his mere presence on the field appearing to be enough to rattle opposing MLS defenses.
Among Miami's supporting cast to benefit most from Messi's arrival is Finnish international Robert Taylor, who has four goals and a team-leading five assists in the tournament. Josef Martinez also has three goals in the competition, and he scored his first non-penalty Leagues Cup goal to open the scoring against Philly.
If there's a reason to be wary of the Herons, it's in analytics that suggests the scores have been more dominant than the performances, particularly in their away games. Miami have lost the xG battle in both and trailed 6-3 in big chances in those two road contests — Tuesday's semifinal and a 4-4 draw in a round-of-16 clash against Dallas decided on penalties.
In winning margin terms, Miami's last two wins have been among their most dominant. And they had one thing in common – an opponent that typically likes to play a high line of contention choosing to sit deeper.
It may be that the low block is actually a bad way to disrupt Messi's squad. But at least if Nashville opt for it, they'll be more comfortable as a side that regularly employs such tactics against other MLS foes, particularly on their travels.
And while it's possible the Coyotes could lose their nerve in the weight of the occasion, hosting CF Monterrey — the most successful team on the continent in the last decade — was a reasonable dress rehearsal.
Nashville also have the MLS MVP front-runner in Hany Mukhtar, who is again leading the Golden Boot chase in league play after winning that honor last year. He also has two Leagues Cup goals, but has more often played provider with five assists since the round of 16.
Summer signing Sam Surridge has made an immediate impact, scoring in his last three appearances as a second-half substitute. He scored the match-winner against Monterrey, and given how Nashville's matches have played out, manager Gary Smith could opt to keep him in the supersub role.
Inter Miami vs Nashville SC
Pick & Prediction
Miami's pattern of play continues to result in fewer corners than you'd expect for a team pulling off dominant wins. This owes both to their understandable focus on finding Messi with the ball in the center of the park and partly to games where chance creation is more even than the final outcome.
In any case, the Herons have yet to out-corner an opponent since Messi's arrival and have yet to earn more than three corners in a single match. There's several ways to fade Miami in the corner kicks market, but my favorite at this moment is to play the team total under 4.5 corners at +115 odds and an implied 46.5% probability.
Additionally, I'm not so much of a quant to completely ignore the Messi Magic Miami has going. But I also can't ignore the chances the Herons keep allowing, particularly away against upper-tier MLS opponents.
So, I'm playing Nashville to score over 1.5 goals at +150 odds and an implied 40% probability. It's cashed in every home game the Coyotes have played in this tournament and one of Miami's two away games. And unlike the moneyline, it allows for the possibility the Herons simply outscore their foes to win the title.