Inter Miami Toronto FC Odds, Picks, Predictions | MLS Match Preview
Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets.
Inter Miami vs Toronto FC Odds
|Inter Miami Odds
|Toronto United Odds
|Over / Under
+100 / -138
Inter Miami and reportedly Lionel Messi will return to action on Wednesday night when they host MLS-worst Toronto FC.
The Herons suffered their first loss since Messi's arrival on Saturday, 5-2 at Atlanta United, during a game in which manager Tata Martino decided to rest the Argentine star.
Miami have still avoided defeat in every game Messi has played, and he is expected to play again on Wednesday according to a report from ESPN. But it is unclear whether he'll start or come off the bench.
Toronto are not only statistically the worst team in MLS but also by far the most disappointing after making their own splashy signings of Italians Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi. They've lost nine of their last 10 in the league, although the quality of performances has improved slightly in recent weeks.
Toronto won these teams' previous meeting 2-0 in Canada in March, which feels more or less irrelevant to Wednesday's occasion.
The timing of Martino's decision to rest Messi — coinciding with the Herons' first game on synthetic turf — has re-birthed theories that the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner won't play on a synthetic surface.
But the far more likely answer is exactly what Martino has said repeatedly — that it simply is unwise to try and play Messi in every game at this stage of his career, as busy as his recent itinerary has been. And Martino began his media remarks on Tuesday reading a prepared statement that re-iterated the rationale behind his decision — that while Miami still have hopes of reaching the playoffs, they must prioritize Messi's fitness with an eye toward the U.S. Open Cup final in a week's time.
So maybe that convinces Martino to use Messi off the bench on Wednesday as he looks toward that chance for the Herons to earn their second piece of major silverware. But if Messi is fully recovered from the muscle fatigue that also saw him held out of a World Cup Qualifier at Bolivia a week ago, it might make as much sense to start him Wednesday then use him off the bench over the weekend before that cup final.
The other big question is whether Leonardo Campana reassumes the starting forward position. He's in far better form than Josef Martinez, scoring five times this month in league play, including three that weren't from the penalty spot.
Messi or not, the analytics suggest neither team has been dominant in any of Miami's recent league games. The largest disparity in expected goals came when Miami posted 2.1 to Kansas City's 1.4 in a 3-2 home win that Messi also missed while on international duty.
The Reds have been wandering lost for a while, and with their most recent defeat 2-1 at home to Vancouver they fell back beneath Colorado for the honor of worst MLS record.
But the return of Insigne and Bernardeschi after both spent time away from the club has at least led to an attack that has some teeth again. After a stretch of six league matches where TFC scored only once, that duo's return coincided with a stretch of six goals in four games. Toronto even won one of those, a surprising 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union.
That resurgence hasn't translated to the road, where TFC has scored only seven goals all season, and only two in their last eight. The lack of realistic playoff hopes combined with the midweek timing could also make this a possible occasion for squad rotation.
This will be the first of three games before new appointment John Herdman officially takes the managerial reigns at the start of October. He was named as successor to the job formerly occupied by Bob Bradley at the end of August, but interim manager Terry Dunfield will be in charge again on Wednesday.
Once again with a Miami game, there is a lot of reason to wait for lineups. If Messi is on the bench instead of in the starting XI, you might be able to get better prices for any wagers backing Miami.
Additionally, while it's very difficult to see anything other than a Miami win, the absence or presence of Insigne and Bernardeschi might also influence just how you back Miami. If that duo is out, consider playing a more aggressive handicap on Miami at -2.0 or even -2.5 goals. If they're in the game, you might consider backing Miami to win and yes on both teams to score.
But at this moment, there's value in two spots. The first — as has often been the case with Miami — is on the corner kick market. The Herons' game model with Messi and Sergio Busquets pulling strings just doesn't earn many corner kicks. The price of -112 odds and an implied 52.8% probability of Miami's corner total going under 5.5 is excellent value. They have yet to earn more than four corners in a match since Messi's arrival, and you could certainly also be more aggressive and play the total under 4.5 if you wanted at well above even money. I just prefer the greater margin for error in a market that can be flukier than most.
Secondly, with the market backing a lot of goals, there's a chance to leverage that and play a single-game parlay on Miami winning with the goals total to go under 4.5. In this regard, Messi's influence is a little misunderstood by the betting market. He makes it more likely that Miami will score two or three goals, but he also limits the total that opponents are likely to score through his role as a pressure release valve.
The total has gone under 4.5 goals in every game Messi has won with Miami this season, and also in seven of Toronto's last eight away defeats. Your wager here at -125 odds is backing an implied 55.6% probability.