Despite never playing an MLS game, Lionel Messi is favoured to win the MVP award.
The latest: Messi has been lighting it up for Inter Miami in the Leagues Cup, scoring seven goals in four games as of August 10. But the Herons sit dead last in MLS' Eastern Conference with only 12 regular season games remaining. Does Messi have enough time to catch the likes of Henry Mukhtar? We're a bit skeptical.
Check out our Messi MLS futures odds as of August 10.
Messi MLS futures odds
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Can Messi win the MVP?
If we're talking about the definition of "Most Valuable Player," Messi certainly fits the bill.
After all, Inter Miami was 5-3-14 without Messi in MLS action. The team scored just 22 goals in those 22 games. Now, with the Argentine in the lineup, the Herons are 4-0 against mostly MLS competition, netting an average of 3.25 in those games.
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But to win the league MVP you typically have to make the playoffs. Nine of the past 10 winners played on a playoff team with eight of those players being on a squad occupying one of the top two spots in their respective conferences.
The one outlier, Mike Magee in 2013, scored 21 goals.
Miami is 12 points behind a playoff play-in bid at the moment. If it can run the table to close out the season, it will likely move into the postseason. But this is still a professional league and even with Messi, the team shouldn't be cakewalking through competition.
One of its Leagues Cup wins came in a shootout while another came courtesy of an added-time free kick goal.
Messi MLS futures odds: Top goalscorer
Mukhtar currently leads the league with 13 goals and an additional eight players are into the double-digits.
Assuming Mukhtar holds his 0.541 goals per game pace, he'll end up with around 18 at the end of the season. Can Messi score 19-plus goals in 12 games?
It's possible, but this has a 16.7% implied probability, which we think is bad value.