The 2024 Major League Soccer season features Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami super team and everyone else.

At least that’s what the odds at FanDuel and DraftKings say. Miami is the favorite to win MLS Cup and the Supporters’ Shield. Messi is the favorite to win the Golden Boot and his teammate Luis Suarez is the second favorite to be the league’s top scorer.

There’s no doubt that Miami will be good, but it will not be the only good team in MLS, which is why there’s oodles of betting value on all the other good teams and players at your favorite PA sportsbooks and New Jersey sports betting apps.

Union manager Jim Curtin and a bunch of other MLS coaches and pundits remarked in preseason that the Eastern Conference is going to be a behemoth in 2024.

Reigning MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew, reigning Supporters’ Shield winner FC Cincinnati, the Union, who have been top three in the East each of the last four seasons, and a handful of others will make life difficult for Miami.

The Union come into the 2024 MLS season at +1200 on DK and +1600 on FD to win MLS Cup. The buzz around the team is nonexistent because they’re running it back with the same roster and their best scorer, Julian Carranza, may leave on a summer transfer.

Carranza, at least in my eyes, carries the best value on the Golden Boot. The Argentinian sits at +5000 on DK and +5500 on FD. He scored a hat-trick in CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday and seems motivated to push for a move to a bigger club. I would personally sprinkle some money on him so that a healthy cash out option is available around June. After all, this is a guy with back-to-back 14-goal seasons.

Cucho Hernandez (Columbus), Aaron Boupendza (Cincinnati), Alan Pulido (Sporting KC), Denis Bouanga (LAFC) and Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas) would be the other non-Messi Golden Boot guys to go after.

As for the team futures, it’s important to note that Messi will be out for at least 5-7 games in the summer because MLS isn’t breaking for the Copa America. Messi likely won’t play in Chester in June and he’ll miss games against Columbus, Cincinnati, and Nashville that could take Miami out of Supporters’ Shield contention.

That is the futures bet to target for value because Messi could turn it on in the playoffs and lead Miami to MLS Cup.

I would think one of Columbus, Cincinnati, or LAFC wins the Shield. The Union will be without Andre Blake and a few others for parts of the summer and they need a fantastic start to win the top seed in the East. The one not-so-dark horse to watch is the Seattle Sounders, who have all sorts of championship DNA and finished second in the West five of the last six years. Taking them at +2100 to win the Shield is the best value you’ll get before the season.

Okay that’s enough MLS talk, back to whatever A.J. Brown is tweeting.