Kylian Mbappe leads the goalscoring lists at the World Cup and is a short price to finish as top scorer in the competition, but are there better value options elsewhere?
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks Kylian Mbappe is the overwhelming favorite with bettors to finish as the World Cup 2022 top scorer. The French star is rated as a -175 chance by bookmakers with his nearest challenger, Richarlison of Brazil, on +650. Argentine legend Lionel Messi is third favorite on +1000 and there is a group of players around the +2000 mark including Olivier Giroud, Cody Gakpo, Marcus Rashford and Julian Alvarez.
World Cup Top Goalscorer Betting Briefing
Since the World Cup moved to its current format in 1998, the average number of goals scored by the tournament top scorer has been six. Ronaldo of Brazil scored eight in the 2002 tournament, and five goals was enough to win Miroslav Klose the honor in 2006, while in 2010, four players shared the award with five goals apiece.
Interestingly, history suggests that it isn’t necessary for a striker’s team to win the tournament for them to have a shot at the top goalscorer award. In fact, only Ronaldo in 2002 and David Villa (joint winner in 2010) played for the team that won the World Cup that year.
On the other hand, reaching the semi-finals is important. Only one of the nine players to have won or shared the topscorer award since 1998 played for a team that reached the semi-final at least, the exception being James Rodriguez in 2014, when his team, Colombia, got as far as the quarter-finals.
Mbappe in Pole Position
Kylian Mbappe of France has already bagged five goals in the World Cup and appears to be in the pole position when it comes to winning the top goalscorer race. In fact, that total would already be enough to win him a share of the Golden Boot in 2006 and 2010.
With Karim Benzema absent, Mbappe is undoubtedly the focal point of the attack, and that has brought out the best in a player with the potential to be the next generation’s Ronaldo or Messi. Yet although he has a two goal lead on his nearest rivals, his odds look a little short given his possible injury problems and the fact that a failure to get past England in the quarter finals would severely dent his chances.
If you’re looking for a French player at bigger odds, Olivier Giroud, who is already on three goals, is an experienced international and has an old fashioned goalscorer’s instinct that exceed’s Mbappe’s.
Twilight of the Modern Greats
The two dominant players of the last 15 years – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – are likely to be playing their final World Cups and both feature in the top goalscorer betting, although in Ronaldo’s case, that appears to be more out of sentiment than realism.
These two modern greats have graced the World Cup and international football for years, but Ronaldo, on just one goal, may not start another game this tournament. Messi is one of nine players on three goals, but is short enough in the market, given that Argentina have to go up against the resolute Netherlands defence and then, possibly, Brazil.
Battle of the Brazilian Aces
Richarlison of Brazil is another player on three goals, but there are four other Brazilian players who have got their names on the scoresheet at this World Cup, and given the wealth of potential scorers in the Brazilian squad, he also looks poor value. Another of the Brazilian aces, Neymar, looks a more sporting wager, given that he is only two goals behind his teammate and is the team’s official penalty taker.
Other Top Scorer Contenders
Netherlands’ cautious style of play makes their main options: Cody Gakpo and Memphis Depay less appealing than some of their rivals, and although Harry Kane finished as top goalscorer in 2018, his role has changed slightly in the England set up, as he drops deeper and has lost some pace. Teammates Marcus Rashford and Buyako Saka have three goals apiece, but play in the same position.
A better option among the other contenders is Goncalo Ramos. He burst onto the World Cup scene with a hat-trick against Switzerland and is certain to be a starter for the remainder of the tournament, while Portugal has the easiest quarter final opponent in Morocco and will be expecting to reach the semi-finals.
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