Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake Predictions and Picks: South Beach Bonanza

The MLS season gets underway on Wednesday and there is no better way to start than with Lionel Messi and Co. hosting Real Salt Lake. We saw what Messi did to the league last year, and with a few additions, Inter Miami could be serious players. Find out why our soccer picks are backing Inter Miami in the opener.

Feb 21, 2024 • 10:05 ET • 4 min read
Luis Suarez Inter Miami MLS
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF will look to start the 2024 MLS season with a bang in Wednesday’s curtain-raiser against Real Salt Lake – and the star-studded hosts enter as MLS odds favorites.

Needless to say, it’s safe to throw out the Herons’ ugly 9-7-18 record last year. With the ex-Barcelona quartet of Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba set for their first full MLS season, Inter Miami will be top contenders in five competitions this year.

The road ahead could be rockier for Real Salt Lake, who reached the MLS playoffs last season but are already dealing with key injuries. Despite adding attacking talent in Fidel Barajas and Matt Crooks, the visitors could take a step back in the Western Conference. 

Read on for our free Inter Miami CF vs Real Salt Lake soccer picks and predictions ahead of this Wednesday, February 21 showdown.

Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake best odds

Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake picks and predictions

Messi-mania continues to sweep across MLS and, though there’s a congested schedule and the Argentine’s Copa America commitments this summer, the arrow is pointing up in a big way for Inter Miami

Surrounded by a veteran core of stars, the Herons are well-placed to add to their 2023 Leagues Cup success. They’re pegged as 2024 MLS Cup odds favorites and I see them getting off to a flier here.

The Inter Miami full-time moneyline comes with a hefty price tag, so I’m jumping on these plus odds for the hosts to be ahead at half-time. If Tata Martino opts to take a cautious approach with his veterans’ minutes, the first 45 minutes feels like a safer bet for the hosts to break through.

Lionel Messi lifted the Herons in his short stint last year and his influence alone should be enough to tilt the first half towards Inter Miami. The task is even tougher for Real Salt Lake if Erik Holt and Pablo Ruiz are sidelined, and they could get overrun in midfield.

RSL boss Pablo Mastroeni has extracted plenty from this squad but the visitors face more question marks this year, including how to replace top-scorer Jefferson Savarino.

There’s going to be a party atmosphere at the newly renamed Chase Stadium on Wednesday night and I’m betting on the home team to give the fans plenty to cheer about.

My best bet: Inter Miami first half moneyline (+104 at TonyBet)

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Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake same-game parlay

Inter Miami first half moneyline

Luis Suarez anytime goal

Over 3.5 goals

Luis Suarez scores goals wherever he goes, and his arrival in Fort Lauderdale has the potential to turbocharge this Inter Miami overhaul.

The veteran poacher’s instincts are still sharp – he netted 24 goals for Gremio last season – and he was a perfect sidekick for Messi in their Barcelona days. With that chemistry set to be on full display here, I see Suarez scoring on his MLS debut.

A slick Inter Miami attack and a fragile Real Salt Lake defense feels like a formula for a comfortable home win, but the visitors could play their part in the scoring too, with Diego Luna emerging alongside Cristian Arango.

I like the Over on 3.5 goals for what should be an open, entertaining game, even if the hosts have the lion’s share of the possession.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake side and Over/Under analysis

All eyes will be on Messi and co. as the new season kicks off on Wednesday, and Inter Miami should probably get used to carrying the favorites tag all year.

The hosts’ moneyline is as short as -180 in this primetime spot, despite some sluggish preseason performances, including a 1-1 tie against Newell’s Old Boys last Thursday.

If you think Real Salt Lake can ruin the party, their moneyline odds are as high as +475 with some sportsbooks. Though an upset feels unlikely, the visitors haven’t lost a season-opener since 2009 and they led the Western Conference with eight road wins last year.

Real Salt Lake finished fifth in the Western Conference in 2023, but their defense remains a glaring weakness – which only adds to the sense that we’ll get goals on Wednesday. I’ve already picked the Over 3.5 goals in my SGP, and you can also find enticing odds for Inter Miami to score Over 2.5 goals.

The Messi-Suarez combo is going to be a nightmare for coaches to prepare for, and the arrival of Julian Gressel gives the home side a boost in midfield. Look for both keepers to be busy and a flurry of scoring chances.

Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake game info

Location: DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: Apple TV
Weather: Warm but breezy conditions in the mid 60s.

Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake key injuries

Inter Miami: Benjamin Cremaschi M (Questionable), Facundo Farias F (Out), Serhiy Kryvtsov D (Out), Ian Fray D (Out), Corentin Jean M (Out), Franco Negri D (Out)
Real Salt Lake: Erik Holt D (Questionable), Pablo Ruiz M (Questionable)

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