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Find out where we lean in our latest Lionel Messi picks.
Inter Miami's forward Lionel Messi fights for the ball with Nashville's midfielder Alex Muyl during the match at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Aug. 30, 2023. Photo by Chris Arjoon/Getty Images via AFP.

Captain Lionel Messi failed to have a goal for Inter Miami Wednesday. Will he rediscover his scoring touch against last season’s MLS Cup winners? Check out our top Lionel Messi MLS picks for Sunday’s LAFC vs. Inter Miami matchup.

Nashville held Inter Miami to a goalless draw in midweek; the first time they’ve been shut out since Messi joined in July. The Herons had 69 percent possession and 31 percent shooting accuracy in the stalemate. They did, however, gain a point on Chicago, who occupy the Eastern Conference's final playoff position. The gap is now 10 points with 11 games to go in the MLS regular season.

Heading into the weekend, LAFC occupied second in the Western Conference but lost 2-1 to Charlotte last weekend. Can they stop Messi on his first MLS trip to California?

Here is our best Lionel Messi MLS pick for Sunday's LAFC vs. Inter Miami matchup (odds via our best sports betting apps; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Lionel Messi MLS pick: Inter Miami vs. LAFC

Messi anytime scorer (-105 via BetMGM & DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

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LAFC are better at home than on the road. In MLS this season, they’ve won eight of their 13 games at BMO Stadium, compared to two victories in 12 away matches. They're certainly a Jekyll and Hyde team, with a +16-goal difference at home versus a -4-goal differential on the road.

Los Angeles’ home defense is solid, conceding an average 0.77 goals per game. Their xGA at BMO is 1.19. However, they've only kept three clean sheets and given up 10 goals in their last 10 MLS matches, both home and away.

Inter Miami aims to do something they’ve never done before in MLS, score against LAFC. Messi contributed to at least one goal in each of his last 10 away matches dating back to March (7 goals, 6 assists). He’s had at least one goal contribution in 22 of his last 25 club road games going back to May 2022 (18 goals, 18 assists).

The Herons hope to address a poor run of road results this season with one draw, nine losses, and just two wins in MLS road games. But they won their last away match, with Messi scoring. They’re unbeaten with him in the side. He’s scored five goals in five away games in all competitions with the club.

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Lionel Messi best odds

BetMGM & DraftKings -105

Messi anytime scorer Messi anytime scorer Messi anytime scorer Messi anytime scorer Messi anytime scorer

The odds at FanDuel moved from -120 to -115 and back since Thursday. It’s the only book out of our top five that’s had movement on this play. The rest held firm with their prices.

If you fancy Messi to bend in one of his magnificent free-kicks, bet365 has him at +500 to score from outside the box.

The Black & Gold are in the midst of a three-match home unbeaten streak (W2 D1 L0) dating to July 9 against San Jose Earthquakes, which is why Messi’s price is so high compared to recent matches. But Messi is the best player they'll face, and he isn’t someone who suffers goal droughts.  

Miami needs the points, and this is the last game before players depart for international duty. Unfortunately for the club, the league continues in their absence, therefore head coach Tata Martino could be forced to play Messi for the duration because they need the points. This works to our advantage, as it increases his opportunity to score.

If Inter Miami were at home, I’d put four stars on this play. LAFC’s home form is the reason it’s got three.

Inter Miami vs. LAFC game info

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 3, 10 p.m. ET
  • TV: Apple TV – MLS Season Pass
  • Location: BMO Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
  • Weather: 66 degrees, 0% chance of precipitation, 5-mph winds

Lionel Messi MLS pick made 9/2/2023 at 11:39 a.m. ET.

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