Jul 30, 2018
Jul 30, 2018

Serie A top scorer betting preview

Who is the favourite?

Statistical analysis of the main Capocannoniere contenders

Do expected goals count for anything?

Outsiders with a chance

Serie A top scorer betting preview

With the Serie A season on the horizon, bettors can predict which player will score the most goals and win the Capocannoniere award. What do the stats tell us about the main contenders to be the top scorer in Serie A? Read on to find out.

Capocannoniere ("head gunner") is the title awarded to the highest goal-scorer of each season in Italy's Serie A.

This year’s Serie A will have more eyes on it than ever, after the big money move of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo to Italian shores. The Portuguese international is the current favourite to be Capocannoniere but will face stiff competition from his league rivals and perhaps even his fellow club mates.

Below is a table that shows the expected goals compared to the actual goals that were scored in Serie A last season:

2017/18 Expected Goals & Expected Goals per 90 

2017/18 Expected Goals & Expected Goals per 90 minutes

Player Expected Goals Goals Scored +/- xG per 90 mins
Cristiano Ronaldo* 27.00 26 -1 1.05
Mauro Icardi 23.02 29 +6 0.69
Ciro Immobile 21.30 29 +8 0.71
Dries Mertens 18.79 18 0 0.56
Fabio Quagliarella 18.39 19 +1 0.60
Edin Dzeko 17.00 16 -1 0.51
Paulo Dybala 13.17 22 +9 0.50

*Ronaldo's stats originate from La Liga

Who are the contenders?

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is currently 1.95* to be the Seie A top scorer and priced at 1.92* to score over 28.5 goals (suggesting that 28 or 29 goals should be enough to win the Capocannoniere).

Below is a list of the players with the most goals in Serie A in the last five seasons:

Season Player Goals
2013/14 Ciro Immobile 22
2014/15 Mauro Icardi and Luca Toni 22
2015/16 Gonzalo Higuain 36
2016/17 Edin Dzeko 29
2017/18 Ciro Immobile and Mauro Icardi 29

Since 2009/10 Ronaldo has scored 450 goals in 438 games in all competitions, only four less than all the strikers currently with Juventus combined in the same period. He averages more than one expected goal a game (1.05 xG90) and with statistics like this its hard not see Ronaldo as the frontrunner for the Capocannoniere.

Juventus’ team will be built around providing service to their record signing in the hope that he can fire them to a domestic and European treble next season. Perhaps the issue of having to adapt to a new league and new surroundings for the first time in nine years could mean that Ronaldo starts the season slower, giving his experienced goal-scoring rivals a chance to steal a march on him.

Ciro Immobile

Last year’s joint Capocannoniere Ciro Immobile had an incredible season for Lazio contributing not just via his goals but he also provided nine assists for his teammates, five shy of fellow Lazio man Luis Alberto who lead the league in assists in 2017/18. Scoring eight more goals than expected, Immobile lead the line for the Biancocelesti superbly and acted as the teams out and out focal point in the area, with every goal bar one coming from inside the box.

Since 2009/10 Ronaldo has scored 450 goals in 438 games in all competitions

Immobile is Lazio’s chief centre-forward and is heavily relied upon, so much so that he played 1,998 more minutes than Lazio’s only other centre-forward Felipe Caicedo (who could only provide three goals in 22 appearances).

Of the 29 goals that Immobile scored, seven of those were from the penalty spot. The Italian only missed one penalty all season, leaving him with a penalty conversion rate of 87.5% and he will no doubt be Lazio’s penalty taker and biggest attacking threat this season.

Mauro Icardi

Inter captain Mauro Icardi matched Immobile’s tally with 29 himself but did only register one assist. Inter relied heavily on the Argentine last season, with Croatian winger Ivan Perisic being the only other player to score more than four goals - as the beaten World Cup finalist chipped in with 11. Between the two, they accounted for roughly 60% of Inter’s league goals last season.

Like Immobile, Icardi was Inter’s main centre-forward, with the now departed second striker Eder only contributing three goals in 29 appearances last term. The signing of highly rated youngster Laurito Martinez, a compatriot of Icardi, is a signal of intent by the Nerazzurri that they are looking to ease the goal-scoring burden on their number nine and share the goals out across the team.

Dries Mertens

Dries Mertens has flourished at the centre-forward position for Napoli since he made the transition from a left winger, scoring 46 goals in his last two seasons. It was only the injury to traditional centre-forward Arkadius Millik that forced Napoli into trying out Mertens as the spearhead in their three-pronged attack but it turned out to be incredibly successful.

Mertens’ most prolific season was in 2016/17 where he notched 28 goals and provided 11 assists – he scored 10 fewer last term but will be determined to help push Napoli for the Scudetto once more and could yet improve under new manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Paulo Dybala

Paulo Dybala, now Ronaldo’s teammate at Juventus, had his best goal-scoring return last season with 22 goals (nine more than his xG) to crown what was a solid year of improvement in front of goal for a player who usually deployed in an attacking midfield position.

The young Argentine, like his fellow teammates, will have to play to the strengths of Ronaldo and look to provide service for the 33-year-old, which could result in Dybala’s goal scoring numbers decreasing but he will certainly look to increase his assist tally of five from last year. However, whether Dybala will enjoy playing in the shadow of Ronaldo remains to be seen.

Outsiders with a chance

Fabio Quaglierella

Veteran Italian striker Fabio Quaglierella had his best ever goals return for a league season at the age of 35 when he hit 19 league goals for Sampdoria. It would really be asking a lot for Quaglierlla to be able to maintain his rich vein of form into next season, but as we’ve seen in the past with vastly experienced forwards in Serie A, it would not be out of the question to see him be right up there in Capocannoniere contention.

Luca Toni was top joint top scorer with strugglers Hellas Verona, scoring 22 goals in the 2015/16 season at the age of 37 which will give Quaglierella plenty of encouragement for the upcoming season.

Edin Dzeko

Roma target man and main attacking focal point Edin Dzeko was the Capocannoniere in the 2016/17 season hitting 29 goals and will look to at least break the 20 barrier this upcoming season after only being able to register 16 goals last season. He is Roma’s central figurehead up front, with young deputy Patrick Schick yet to really make his mark in his first season for the Giallorossi.

Gonzalo Higuain

Much transfer speculation over the future of Gonzalo Higuain has seen his chances of being able compete for top scorer in Serie A diminish. The arrival of Ronaldo has left Juventus struggling to accommodate the Argentine into their team.

Higuain jointly holds the record for the most Serie A goals scored in a single season after scoring 36 goals for Napoli in 2015/16 so to not mention him as a contender would be unwise. If he was to stay in Turin and find his place alongside Ronaldo or act as cover for Serie A matches, then there is no doubt Higuain could be in contention.

Get the best Serie A goal-scoring odds ahead of the new season.

Odds subject to change

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