Inter Miami vs Atlanta United Picks and Predictions: Messi's Encore Sure to Entertain

Lionel Messi's debut with Inter Miami was unforgettable, but Atlanta United will look to bring his team back to Earth in Leagues Cup play on Tuesday night. Find out how our expert soccer betting picks will attack this tilt.

Last Updated: Jul 24, 2023 9:30 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Lionel Messi Inter Miami MLS
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

After a thrilling 2-1 win over Cruz Azul to open Leagues Cup play, Inter Miami looks to solidify their place in the knockout stage when they host Atlanta United on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi gave the Inter Miami faithful a storybook debut when he scored the stoppage-time winner on Friday night, and they’ll hope he can deliver again to secure their spot atop their group.

Atlanta United comes into the match having 10 days off, with star defender Miles Robinson returning to the fold and ready to go. The time off also allowed their top striker to return from injury, and they’ll look to get a key three points in their first match of the tournament.

Will Messi deliver yet another bit of magic, or can Atlanta United find a way to slow him down and get the win? We break down the action in our Inter Miami vs Atlanta United picks and predictions for Tuesday, July 25. 

Inter Miami vs Atlanta United best odds

Inter Miami Inter Miami Atlanta United Atlanta United
+115 Moneyline +210
+250 Draw +250
Over 2.5 (-150) Total Under 2.5 (-115)

Odds courtesy of bet365 on July 24, 2023.

Inter Miami vs Atlanta United picks and predictions

You can forgive people for thinking Messi’s debut was scripted, but if it was, then the writers deserve a bonus. Messi came on for a 40-minute performance, and boy did he deliver. Along with former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets, the fans in Miami were treated to a show as Cruz Azul’s defense was throwing multiple bodies at stopping the superstar.

The plot twist was that instead of building on their lead, Inter Miami squandered it, allowing Cruz Azul to level the match with Messi on the pitch. No matter, that just allowed him the opportunity to bury the game-winning free kick deep into stoppage time, stamping his name in Inter Miami lore.

But two things were evident from their debut. First of all, the chemistry between Busquets and Messi change the game. The deep midfielder knew where his teammate would be and where he wanted the ball, and his blind first-touch pass through the Cruz Azul back line nearly set Messi up for an earlier goal – and was a moment of class we rarely see in MLS.

Secondly, Josef Martinez is going to benefit greatly from having Messi on the pitch. When the two of them were out there together, the defense was locked in on Messi and often lost track of Martinez. This led to multiple goal-scoring opportunities for him, and this is likely to be an area bettors can exploit moving forward.

The one place Messi and Busquets can’t help Inter Miami is at the defensive end. Cruz Azul were unfortunate to not have multiple goals in the first half, squandering numerous opportunities and failing to convert a single one. If they give Giorgos Giakoumakis one of those chances, it’s unlikely Atlanta United will be scoreless at the break. Their star man looks to be ready to go after suffering a hamstring injury a few weeks ago. 

All signs point to Messi coming off the bench once again in this one, but Cruz Azul showed his presence doesn’t mean it’ll be one-way traffic. Atlanta United rarely gets shut out, and Inter Miami’s defense rarely keeps a clean sheet. On the flip side, Atlanta United have kept just three away clean sheets in all competitions this season, and not even Robinson is good enough to stop Messi on his own.

As long as Messi is around, Inter Miami are going to see inflated betting odds in quite a few markets. That’s why we’re going with a parlay here and pairing both teams to score with a total of more than 2.5 goals. It’s paying -110 at nearly every book, and just like Friday night, it should come through once Messi works his magic. 

My best bet: Over 2.5 goals and both teams to score - Yes (-110 at bet365)

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Inter Miami vs Atlanta United side analysis

Inter Miami are favored to win the match on Tuesday, with the price of +115 at most books. The line continues to move down as the match approaches, with the Atlanta moneyline priced at +180 to +200 and the draw as high as +275. Note that while the match can end in a draw, it would go to a penalty shootout to determine who gets two points (rather than the typical three) but it wouldn’t impact the results of the three-way line.

Inter Miami defeated Cruz Azul on Messi’s late heroics, but without him on the pitch they looked the lesser side for large stretches. That makes sense given they failed to win any of their previous six matches, and have only two victories over their past 11. 

Atlanta United have three wins in their last 11 matches to go along with three defeats, drawing five times. But away from home, they have just two wins in 12 matches and have lost five times. They’ve lost each of their last two matches by an exact scoreline of 2-1, and they’ve scored just three goals in their last three matches. 

The past five meetings between these sides have all been won by the home team, with four of those being decided by just a single goal. I think this match follows a similar arc of Inter Miami’s last match, with things being tight before the hosts pull it out late. That said, I’d rather wait and get a better price on Inter Miami during the match, especially if they fall behind. 

Inter Miami vs Atlanta United Over/Under analysis

The poor defense of Inter Miami, along with the threat that Messi provides, have led the public to push the Over 2.5 into heavily juiced territory. You’re going to pay better than -140 to get the Over here, while the Under gives you plus-odds. 

Each of Inter Miami’s last four matches have gone Over, as have six of their last seven. They’ve not kept a clean sheet against a top-flight side in 23 matches, and were fortunate to hold Cruz Azul to a single goal on Friday.

Atlanta United’s last seven matches have seen the Over come through five times, and away from home the Over is 8-4 this season. They’ve kept just three clean sheets, and have allowed multiple goals to be scored against them on seven occasions. 

Again, I’d take a live number here and avoid the juice. It’s not worth paying the higher price due to public money coming in, especially from casual players, considering Messi isn’t likely to start. If he does start, then skip the standard total and go instead for the alternate line of 3.0 goals, and play the Over there for better value. 

Inter Miami vs Atlanta United game info

Location: DRV PNK Stadium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: Apple TV

Inter Miami vs Atlanta United key injuries

Inter Miami: Corentin Jean F (Out), Ian Fray D (Out), Franco Negri D (Out).
Atlanta United: Giorgos Giakoumakis F (Probable).

Inter Miami vs Atlanta United weather

The heat in Miami on Tuesday night will be brutal. Temperatures at kickoff will feel like they’re in the mid-90s, and it won’t cool down much as the match progresses. Winds will be very light, and there is a slight chance of rain, as is the case in Florida during the summer.

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