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Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami team has made it all the way through to the 2023 Leagues Cup final, where Miami will face Nashville SC at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday night.

Inter Miami goes into this game as the -106 favorite to win it, and anyone who has watched this tournament so far would likely agree it’s a very fair betting line.

Nashville has been one of the better MLS teams this season and is strong defensively, too. In the semifinal round, Philadelphia tried but failed to contain Messi and his new teammates. Nashville is now all that stands in the way of Messi leading Inter Miami to an incredible tournament championship during his initial taste of North American soccer.

Nashville SC vs Inter Miami Odds

Moneyline: Nashville SC +230 | Draw +250 | Inter Miami -106
1st Goal: Nashville SC +130 | No Goal +1400 | Inter Miami -150
Both teams to score: Yes -200, No +140
Draw No Bet:  Nashville SC +150 | Inter Miami -211
Double Chance:  Nashville SC or Draw -120 | Nashville SC or Inter Miami or -400 | Draw or Inter Miami -300
Total Goals: 1.5: Over -600 | Under +350
Total Goals: 2.5: Over -182 | Under +130
Total Goals: 3.5: Over +130 | Under -182
Total Goals: 4.5: Over +280 | Under -450

Nashville SC vs Inter Miami Preview

Date: Saturday, Aug. 19
Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV channel:
MLS Season Pass
Live stream:
Apple TV

Nashville’s 30,000-seat stadium will host the Leagues Cup final, forcing Lionel Messi and Co. to play for the championship in a hostile, road environment. Inter Miami’s odds are -106 to win the Leagues Cup tournament, while Nashville is the underdog at +130.

Being on the road shouldn’t be a problem for Miami. In the semifinal round, the team traveled to Philadelphia to face the Union, who are known throughout MLS for strong home performances. In the end, that reputation just did not matter. All the pregame hype insisted that Philadelphia was tougher than any team Inter Miami had faced so far. However, the Union fell behind 1-0 in the first three minutes and spent the rest of the night chasing the game.

Inter Miami’s first goal at Philadelphia came from Josef Martinez. In our semifinal prediction here on Betway Insider, we noted that Martinez was someone who needed to show better goal-scoring form from open play. Well, he did exactly that in giving his team an immediate advantage that helped it take control the game.

As he has been throughout the competition, Messi was superb in the win over Philadelphia, scoring in his sixth straight game since making his debut against Cruz Azul. His goal came on a beautiful, low-driven strike from 30 yards, and he beat highly respected Union goalkeeper Andre Blake at the far post. With his goal, Messi again left his mark on the Leagues Cup, and Inter Miami went on to a 4-1 victory.

Inter Miami’s championship game opponent, Nashville, will present a challenge because of its strong defensive play. Nashville has allowed just 22 MLS goals this season -- the fewest of any team in the league. It has a strong back line and fullbacks who aren’t afraid to go one-on-one to win the ball back down the wings.

Offensively for Nashville, it’s all about Hany Mukhtar, who plays an attacking midfield/forward role just behind the striker. Mukhtar has consistently been one of the best players in MLS, leading Nashville this season with 13 goals and eight assists.

Unfortunately for Nashville, goal contributions from players other than Mukhtar are lacking. Mukhtar has 13 goals, but no other player on the roster has scored more than four, and no other player has more than three assists. Everything channels through Mukhtar, but Miami’s Sergio Busquets should have an answer for him on Saturday night.

Nashville’s Jacob Shaffelburg has caused Leagues Cup opponents problems from the left-hand side, so Inter Miami will need to keep an eye on him. Another concern will be striker Sam Surridge, who has scored three goals in three games since joining Nashville from Nottingham Forest. Surridge came off the bench against Monterrey and broke a scoreless deadlock to help Nashville secure a 2-0 win.

Surridge might have made a case to start the final, but it remains to be seen how Nashville will line up on Saturday night.

Nashville SC vs Inter Miami Predictions and Pick

Total Goals

The one thing we’ve seen during Inter Miami’s Leagues Cup games is goal-scoring, and these two teams are ranked first and second in the tournament for offensive production.

Prior to Messi’s arrival in time for the start of the Leagues Cup, Inter Miami had scored only 22 goals in 22 games – the lowest total in MLS’ Eastern Conference. However, in just six Leagues Cup games with Messi, the team has scored 21 times. It’s an absurd turnaround that only goes to show the difference that having a world-class soccer player can make.

Messi draws so much attention from defenses that his teammates are often left either one-on-one or wide open. That’s what happened when Jordi Alba snuck around the back to pick up a Robert Taylor through ball on his way to scoring Inter Miami’s third goal against Philadelphia.

Nashville can score, too, and already has 15 goals at the Leagues Cup tournament. That includes a 5-0 rout of Minnesota in the quarterfinals -- an impressive performance that demonstrated the team’s goal-scoring prowess.

Inter Miami’s back line is improving, especially with the addition of Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, but it can still leak a chance here and there. Nashville will need to take advantage of any such opportunities to stay in this game, but a bet on at least three total goals is a comfortable one for me here.

The Pick: Over 2.5 Goals Scored (-182)

Anytime Goalscorer

Having found the net in each of his six Leagues Cup matches to emerge as the tournament’s top goal-scorer, Leo Messi is having a fabulous start to his new life with Inter Miami. He already has a total of nine goals, including two remarkable free kicks at crucial moments. A powerful, 30-yard shot against Philadelphia added yet another highlight to his ever-expanding collection of extraordinary moments wearing a pink jersey.

Messi is playing at an unbelievably high level right now. Even at age 36, he can still take over a game and control every element of it as a result of his presence alone.

I’ll be backing Messi to score in the 2023 Leagues Cup final, just as he has in every other game so far.

The Pick: Lionel Messi to score anytime (-150)

3-Way Handicap

Finally, it is time to predict a winner for this one. Inter Miami vs. Nashville should be a great game. Expect another fast-paced thriller just like the Miami vs. Philadelphia game in the semifinal round.

Nashville has an opportunity to spoil the miraculous Messi story here, but I just don’t see it. Inter Miami needs to plant Sergio Busquets on Hany Mukhtar and control him as much as possible, while the team’s attacking players work to cut through a sturdy Nashville defense.

Nashville is a good soccer team that will surely be part of this year’s MLS playoffs, but the current momentum and strength of this Inter Miami team is likely too much for anybody to handle. When the MLS regular season resumes, it will certainly be interesting to watch as Inter Miami looks to move up from the bottom of the standings into a playoff berth.

I’m taking Inter Miami to win here, expecting more goals and more highlights from America’s new favorite soccer team. For a little extra spice, I’m taking the -1 handicap, too, believing Inter Miami will take care of business on the road.

The Pick: Inter Miami -1 (+240)

Best Nashville SC vs Inter Miami Same-Game Parlay Picks: 3-leg SGP (+400)

Check this soccer same-game parlay out for the final game in the Leagues Cup schedule, with a three-piece bet offering +400 odds on the Betway sportsbook.

Total Goals

SGP Pick: Over 2.5 Goals Scored (-182)

Anytime Goalscorer

SGP Pick: Lionel Messi to score anytime (-150)

3-Way Handicap

SGP Pick: Inter Miami -1 (+240)

Odds are subject to change*

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