As they go in search of a second win since coming into existence, Inter Miami welcome Atlanta United to their eponymous Inter Miami CF Stadium on Wednesday (8pm ET).
Read USAbetting’s Inter Miami vs ATLUTD predictions with full preview and culminating with our betting picks for the game against the top online sports betting sites.
It has been something of a struggle for Inter Miami to get going in the inaugural MLS campaign. Just one win from nine matches makes for poor reading, while no wins in three since their one and only victory doesn’t exactly suggest that progress is being made.
There have been occasions where luck certainly hasn’t been on the side of MLS’ newest side, while they have at least made themselves tough to break down at times. Whichever way we spin it, a record of six losses, two draws and a win is poor.
The main reason behind Inter’s poor record is a lack of goals. The Herons have scored just six goals in nine matches, while they are now without a goal in just over 270 minutes of MLS action. They have only conceded once in their last three, which is commendable, but unless they start scoring goals more regularly, leaving behind what is an unflattering league position is going to be difficult.
Creativity also an issue?
At times, Inter Miami have struggled to create clear-cut chances, meaning that a lack of goals has often been easy to explain. However, in recent matches, their creativity hasn’t been too bad. Against Nashville, a game that they lost by a goal to nil, Miami posted 1.6 expected goals for, which essentially tells us that they created enough chances to warrant 1.6 goals. Last time out, they posted 1.4 expected goals for. On this basis, they ought to have scored three goals in their last two matches, yet they have zero to their name. This tells us that, right now at least, end-product is the problem. It is less a question of ‘where are the chances coming from’? and more a question of who is going to put the ball in the net?
Lack of productivity
Fortunately for the hosts, Atlanta have also suffered from a lack of forward productivity this term. Since MLS returned in July, the Five Stripes have scored only four goals, which given that they have played seven matches is a rather dismal return. Since crashing out of the MLS Is Back Tournament, Frank de Boer’s men have improved slightly, scoring four in their last four. They have now gone three matches without notching more than once, while two goals in just over 270 minutes of soccer isn’t great.
Like Inter Miami, it is not just a lack of goals that plagues Atlanta United. Wednesday’s visitors are seemingly struggling to impose themselves in terms of scoring opportunities. In their last three matches, they have amassed a grand total of 1.8 expected goals for, meaning that they’ve just about warranted the two goals that they’ve scored based on the quality of chances created. Since they returned in July, the best that de Boer’s side have managed in terms of ‘expected goals for’ in a single match is 1.3, which is far below what is expected from a side that got their hands on an MLS Cup in 2018.
This will be the second time that the pair have locked horns in the last fortnight. When they met at Mercedes-Benz Arena, no goals were scored, which given what has been seen from each side in general this term wasn’t a massive surprise. As is becoming the norm for Atlanta, it was a typically fruitless game, a game that saw the hosts yield just a single shot on target. Inter Miami performed better in that respect, though they didn’t exactly scale the heights, registering just three shots on target.
With an expected-goals supremacy of +1.0, a narrow win for Miami would probably have been warranted but it would be wrong to pretend that their dominance was such that they were mightily unlucky to take only a point.
Unbeaten at home
One major positive for the hosts ahead of this match is that they are yet to taste defeat in their new arena. Amidst all the doom and gloom surrounding their shaky start to life at this level, one win and one draw from two home games is a real plus point. Thanks to this record, coupled with the fact that they were, if only by a small margin, the better side when the teams met recently, Inter Miami come into this fixture as favorites with the sportsbooks. In all honesty, it’s tough to argue. If able to replicate the performance that saw them take a point out of the reverse fixture, Miami ought to be capable of getting the job done on home soil.
Stick with the hosts
At the prices, a bet on Inter Miami to secure a second MLS victory seems reasonable. For all they couldn’t beat Atlanta recently, they were the better side, both in terms of shots on target registered and chances created. What’s more, the hosts come into this match boasting better underlying numbers in general. Since the resumption of the regular season, Atlanta have averaged just 0.72 expected goals for, while they have surrendered a worrying average of 1.82. In contrast, for all their average of ‘0.97 for’ is anything but glamorous, Miami have done a much better job of restricting teams, giving up an average of just 0.83. This ability to give less away than they create may just be the difference when the pair clash on Wednesday.
A secondary bet that appeals is ‘Under 2.5 Goals’. Miami are fancied to come out on top, but if recent matches are anything to go by, then this isn’t likely to be a thriller. Less than three goals have been scored in three of Miami’s four since the regular season returned, while ‘under 2.5’ has also banked in three of Atlanta’s last four. Combine this with the pair’s rather poor attacking numbers and a bet on a low-scoring affair is hard to avoid, especially at what appear to be generous odds.
So these are USAbetting’s Inter Miami vs Atlanta Utd predictions and picks for this betting preview: