Lionel Messi has had a historic run since his Inter Miami CF debut in the MLS Leagues Cup, scoring eight goals in five matches.
Messi & Co. play at the Philadelphia Union in a Leagues Cup semifinal at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday. Monterrey will face Nashville SC in the other semifinal, with the third-place and championship matches on Saturday.
Messi’s prolific scoring in the Leagues Cup — he has three braces (two goals) — has helped bettors cash in on his scoring props, with the public continuing to pound his offerings.
The superstar’s performances also has bettors excited for what’s to come in the MLS regular season, as he’s tied for the third-best odds to win the MLS Golden Boot despite not having logged any official league goals.
So can he keep the magic going?
One cause for concern could be an injury. Messi fans and backers held their collective breath when the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner appeared to injure his foot during training Monday. Inter Miami coach Tata Martino downplayed the incident, saying if it were serious, everyone “would have been freaking out about it.”
Messi and Inter Miami have won five consecutive games since he left Paris Saint-Germain. Are you backing La Pulga Atómica (“The Atomic Flea”) to score again? Let’s look at the odds for the big game with insights and picks from FOX Sports Betting Analyst Jason McIntyre.
Is Lionel Messi RAISING expectations for Inter Miami, MLS?
Alexi Lalas and David Mosse react to Lionel Messi’s goals and debate whether it’s raising the expectations for Inter Miami.
INTER MIAMI CF AT PHILADELPHIA UNION, 7 p.m. ET Tuesday, Apple TV
Result at the end of regulation:
Moneyline: Inter Miami CF +125 (bet $10 to win $22.50 total); Philadelphia Union +190 (bet $10 to win $29 total)
Draw: +260 (bet $10 to win $36 total)
Over/Under 2.5 goals
Over: -186 (bet $10 to win $15.38 total)
Under: +152 (bet $10 to win $25.20 total)
LIONEL MESSI WAGERS
Messi to score anytime goal: -135 (bet $10 to win $17.41 total)
Messi to score first goal: +300 (bet $10 to win $40 total)
Messi to score two or more goals: +370 (bet $10 to win $47 total)
Messi to score a hat trick: +1600 (bet $10 to win $170 total)
Picks via FOX Sports Betting Analyst Jason McIntyre:
Messi fans, you can exhale now as Inter Miami coach Tata Martino downplayed injury fears on Monday. But could this be gamesmanship from Messi? We’ll see.
If you’ve been following my Messi betting during the Leagues Cup, it’s been a profitable ride. But this game feels like the end of the road.
The Union boasts the best defense left in the field and has permitted just four goals in five Leagues Cup games. And three of the wins have come against Liga MX teams.
Argentinian Julian Carranza and midfielder Dániel Gazdag have been dominant in the Leagues Cup and will be a handful for the Miami defense. And unlike FC Dallas — which blew a 4-2 lead in the final 25 minutes against Messi’s Miami – and inexperienced Charlotte, the Union won’t be in awe of the moment. They played in the thrilling MLS Cup final last year against LAFC, ultimately losing one of the best games in league history.
Many will scream about how there’s a conspiracy theory to get Messi to the final, and while the league would love that, let’s not act like the Union will get hosed at home. The game sold out in eight minutes, and the franchise is pleading with fans not to sell their tickets.
I’ll wear my Messi jersey and root for the G.O.A.T. like usual, but my wallet will be in other places.
PICK: Julian Carranza anytime scorer (+180, bet $10 to win $28 total)
LONG-SHOT PICK: Union wins 2-1 (+800, bet $10 to win $90 total)
Follow FOX Sports to read about all things Messi and Inter Miami!