How many goals will Lionel Messi score in MLS 2024 season? Predictions, odds, futures for Inter Miami star

Lionel Messi’s first full season with Inter Miami is full of intrigue as the 2024 campaign nears its inception.

Having exploded onto the U.S. soccer scene in 2024 with his magical Leagues Cup run, the realities of a 36-year-old amidst the long and arduous MLS season hit and he struggled to help Inter Miami avoid postseason elimination down the stretch.

Now with a full offseason to prepare and a full season of the Argentine star at the club, expectations for Messi and Inter Miami are sky high. The betting market believes Messi will overwhelm MLS opposition over the 2024 season, established as the overwhelming betting favorite to both win the league title and finish as individual top goal scorer despite last season’s adversity.

The Sporting News reviews Messi’s chances of winning the MLS Golden Boot in 2024 and scans the league for those who will present a worthy challenge to that push.

MORE: Can Inter Miami win 2024 MLS title with Lionel Messi leading the way?

How many goals will Lionel Messi score in 2024 MLS season?

Lionel Messi is the runaway preseason betting favorite to win MLS Golden Boot in 2024, but two major factors are working against him. First, his age and injury history suggest it will be extremely difficult for him to be available for the number of games it requires to top this list, given Inter Miami’s participation in CONCACAF Champions Cup plus the Leagues Cup in August.

Second, Inter Miami signed Luis Suarez this offseason who will be a main target up front for the club and could steal a lot of the goal scoring chances. While that’s not a bad thing for Messi on a team level — in fact, he will probably be on the creative end of many of Suarez’s goals — it’s not great for his eventual goal total.

Even with those two factors, Messi remains the greatest player of all time. When he is on the pitch, he should compete for the top goal scorer award, especially as Inter Miami look to out-score teams on a regular basis given their defensive frailties. Yet his chances may have a ceiling, and 15 goals is a reasonable expectation for Messi in 2024.

Odds for MLS top goal scorer in 2024 regular season

Odds via DraftKings in USA, as of Feb. 20, 2024. Includes regular season only, excluding playoffs and Leagues Cup.

Player Club Odds
(DraftKings — USA)
Lionel Messi Inter Miami +250
Luis Suarez Inter Miami +600
Denis Bouanga LAFC +900
Georgios Giakoumakis Atlanta United +1000
Cucho Hernandez Columbus Crew +1200
Aaron Boupendza FC Cincinnati +1200
Hany Mukhtar Nashville SC +1400
Luciano Acosta FC Cincinnati +1600
Luis Muriel Orlando City SC +2500
Amahl Pellegrino San Jose Earthquakes +2500
Sebastian Driussi Austin FC +2500
Jesus Ferreira FC Dallas +2500
Teemu Pukki Minnesota United +2500

MLS Golden Boot prediction for 2024 regular season

Lionel Messi, as detailed above, and Luis Suarez both have significant fitness concerns to deal with at their advanced ages, and even if neither suffers from a true injury over the course of the campaign, Tata Martino will keep them rested at every possible turn to avoid any lengthy fitness issues, and thus their chances to amass large quantities of goals will be limited.

Luciano Acosta, Hany Mukhtar, and Cucho Hernandez are also perennial contenders, but all three suffer from a similar ailment as Lionel Messi — they are also elite chance creators, and thus they will be at a disadvantage from those who are true finishers.

Last year’s winner Denis Bouanga took charge of the LAFC attack as Carlos Vela faded into the background, and he should be in a great spot to give it another go, but winning two consecutive Golden Boot awards is a monumental task.

The player in the best situation for collecting goals in bunches is Georgios Giakoumakis of Atlanta United. He is the clear No. 1 striker on a full-out attacking side, and has an elite chance creator behind him in Thiago Almada. There is a creative force on the wing in Caleb Wiley, and last year’s summer addition of Saba Lobjanidze appears a very positive one as well.

Prediction: Georgios Giakoumakis to win MLS Golden Boot (+1000)

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