Jun 6, 2018
Jun 6, 2018

FIFA World Cup Golden Boot betting

FIFA World Cup golden boot: A history

Favourites for the Golden Boot

Outsiders who may offer value

FIFA World Cup Golden Boot betting

With the 2018 World Cup finals fast approaching, we look at who could come out on top of the goalscoring charts this time around. Who are the favourites in the World Cup top scorer betting? Could a surprise package offer value? Read on for an insight into World Cup Golden Boot odds.

World Cup Golden Boot winners: A history

Whilst the World Cup has taken an important place in the football calendar since its inauguration in 1930, it was only in 1982 that FIFA began to award the top goalscorer at the World Cup under the name Golden Shoe. It was rechristened as the Golden Boot in 2010.

Since Uruguay 1930, no player has ever been top goalscorer at a FIFA World Cup twice, with the closest being Miroslav Klose and Thomas Muller who have both come first and second.

Golden boot: Past winners

World CupGolden Boot/Shoe winnerGoalsTeam final position
1982 Spain Paolo Rossi 6 Winner
1986 Mexico Gary Lineker 6 QF
1990 Italy Salvatore Schillaci 6 3rd
1994 United States Oleg Salenko/Hristo Stoichkov 6 Group stages/3rd
1998 France Davor Suker 6 3rd
2002 South Korea/ Japan Ronaldo 8 Winner
2006 Germany Miroslav Klose 5 3rd
2010 South Africa Thomas Muller 5 3rd
2014 Brazil James Rodriguez 6 QF

The importance of going deep in the competition cannot be understated. Of the 10 countries that the winners of either the Golden Shoe or Golden Boot played for, 7 played the maximum number of games possible by either making it to the final or third place playoff.

Only one player has gone on to be a top goalscorer of a FIFA World Cup whilst not making it out of the group stage; Oleg Salenko set a World Cup record by scoring five goals in one game in Russia’s group stage encounter with Cameroon in 1994, helping him to reach six goals in the tournament.

World Cup top scorer betting: The favourites

Hitting his thirties last summer, Lionel Messi’s best years were supposedly behind him. Instead of slowing down, the diminutive Argentinian reminded the world just why he is among the best, if not the best.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner picked up a man of the match performance in all of his first five La Liga games this season, notching nine goals in the process. He has outperformed his expected goals in the last two seasons, another clear example of why Messi is favourite in the World Cup Golden Boot odds.

It is the big stage where Messi has shined brightest, scoring a total of eight goals against Chelsea, Juventus and the two Madrid outfits combined; proof that Messi is ready for the biggest stage of them all.

Since Uruguay 1930, no player has ever been top goalscorer at a FIFA World Cup twice.

Four lost International finals is a sign of Messi’s woes with Argentina. To come so close so many times has left the Argentinian unfulfilled, even retiring after his penalty miss in the most recent Copa America final, saying “it hurts me more than anyone but it is evident that this is not for me.”

At 30 years old, this may be Messi’s last chance at the World Cup; something that many hold against him when comparing him to the likes of Pele and Maradona. At 9.770*, he is one of the favourites in the World Cup top scorer betting. Although his odds are relatively short, it would be foolish to write off the ageing forward.

Messi’s shadow is one that Neymar (9.400*) believed engulfed him when playing alongside the Argentinian. Still, his record-breaking move to PSG took the soccer world by surprise. He looked to become the focal point in a side looking to finally challenge for the Champions League. Whilst this hasn’t happened, Neymar’s goalscoring exploits have been nothing short of incredible.

Eight goals in his first eight appearances for PSG were just signs of things to come, as Neymar has driven PSG to what will likely be another Ligue 1 champions crown.

Yet the journey has not been so easy for the Brazilian. A three-month lay-off due to an injury isn’t quite the preparation one would consider ideal heading towards a major tournament. Whether this will curtail Neymar’s goalscoring exploits remains to be seen.

If he is firing when Russia looms, Neymar has a stock of supporting cast in the Brazil squad, including Philipe Coutinho (32.180*) and Gabriel Jesus (15.850*) who will aid Neymar’s chances of grabbing the Golden Boot:

Expected assists per 90: Brazil

PlayerExpected assists per 90 (league only)
Philippe Coutinho 0.31
Willian 0.29
Douglas Costa 0.32
Gabriel Jesus 0.12

Many believe that both individual performances and national team accomplishments in Russia could be crucial to winning the Balon D’or this year. Neymar will see the World Cup as an opportunity to get the recognition he feels he deserves and winning the Golden Boot will certainly help him achieve that.

Neymar isn’t just a goalscorer however but a creator also (0.62 assists per 90 in Ligue 1 this season). Whilst this may be a positive for the Brazilian National team, when analysing the Golden Boot odds it may be more worthwhile to go for an out and out striker. Gabriel Jesus outscored Neymar in the group stages with seven goals and could be the savvier bet.

Two years ago most were discussing whether Harry Kane’s 25 goals in 38 Premier League games was a fluke, and he would fade into mediocrity as many had done before him. The next season, England’s marksman scored 29 goals in 29 Premier League games and his second Premier League Golden Boot award. He is undoubtedly Tottenham and England’s biggest goalscoring threat.

Like Neymar, injury has scuppered Kane’s preparation for the World Cup, so it will be doubtful whether he will have reached (at the very least) full fitness before it kicks off in June.

Nevertheless, his fourth season scoring over 20 goals in the league is a sign of a player at the peak of his powers. England have been lucky with their group, with Panama and Tunisia offering a chance for Harry Kane to get off the mark before a difficult yet very much beatable Belgium side. At 17.440*, Harry Kane is one of the front-runners for the Golden Boot.

Will England get much further in the competition? It looks doubtful, which will probably be Kane’s biggest concern if he is to join Gary Lineker as an English World Cup Golden Boot winner.

World Cup Golden Boot betting: Notable outsiders

This season’s World Cup looks to be one of the most open in recent memory, and there are some notable outsiders in the World Cup Golden Boot odds that could offer bettors some value.

Yet like most years, Germany are looking to be one of the front-runners for the Fifa World Cup trophy.

They are likely to go deep into the tournament and therefore, many of their attacking options could offer value in the World Cup top scorer betting.

Of the 10 countries that the winners of either the Golden Shoe or Golden Boot played for, 7 played the maximum number of games possible.

Since Miroslav Klose’s International retirement, no striker has taken up the mantle as Germany’s out-and-out striker. Thomas Muller (33.570*) may have won the Golden Boot the World Cup after Klose retired, but he is likely to be utilised in a false nine position or even out on the wings as a creator rather than a goalscorer, which could limit his goal scoring chances.

What’s more likely is that they call on their new talisman: Timo Werner. RB Leipzig’s young forward burst on the scene in the 2016/17 season, scoring 21 goals in just 28 Bundesliga games, drawing admirers from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Werner hasn’t quite hit the heights of last season, but neither has his RB Leipzig side. His shots per game are down from 1.14 to 0.81 as his teammates have found it difficult to create the chances for their star striker.

With the likes of Ozil, Kroos and Muller feeding the forward, it is unlikely that he will have this problem in the summer:

Expected assists per 90: Germany

PlayerExpected assists per 90 (league only)
Marco Reus 0.20
Toni Kroos 0.26
Mesut Ozil 0.38
Julian Draxler 0.27
Thomas Muller 0.40

A German has won the World Cup Golden Boot in three of the last four tournaments, and with Timo Werner’s Golden boot odds of 13.690*, it could happen once again.

Whilst it is beneficial to play more games in the tournament to win the Golden Boot, it is also useful to be drawn in a group which could be seen as easier. Uruguay look to have had that luck.

No game at a major International tournament is easy, but a group consisting of Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia should be little concern when going forward.

With this in mind, it is surprising that to see Edison Cavani’s World Cup Golden Boot odds as high as 16.980*. He may find himself sharing the service with Barcelona frontman Luis Suarez (18.410*), yet Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez has already shown that he is more than happy to play both in warm-up friendlies against Wales and the Czech Republic.

At club level, Cavani has filled the void left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG tremendously. He has scored over 20 goals in his second consecutive season and managed seven goals in just eight appearances in the Champions League. His goals per 90 record rivals the best in the world, with the third-best record in Europe’s top five leagues:

Goals per 90 across Europe

PlayerGoals per 90
Robert Lewandowski 1.2
Mohamed Salah 1.1
Ciro Immobile 1
Edinson Cavani 1
Cristiano Ronaldo 1
Sergio Aguero 1
Mauro Icardi 1
Lionel Messi 0.9
Paulo Dybala 0.9
Harry Kane 0.9

Internationally, he finished World Cup qualifying with 10 goals, topping the CONCACAF scoring charts and three goals more than second place Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, Gabriel Jesus and Felipe Caicedo.

Uruguay may not be as much of a household giant as the likes of the Brazilians or Germans, yet they have the ability to make it out of their group and, if results go as expected, are likely to get Portugal in the Round of 16. A rather mild tie based on the chances of getting one of the favourites.

Other notable outsiders include Robert Lewandowski (16.439*), Eden Hazard (48.350*) and Isco (55.070*).

For more Russia 2018 content visit Pinnacle's World Cup betting advice section or bet now with the best World Cup odds online.

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