World Cup 2018 top goal scorer betting
The markets on which player will score the most goals at Russia 2018 are an enticing pointer to what we can expect when the tournament kicks off in June.
Two of the greatest players of all – Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and the sublime Argentine Lionel Messi – loom large near the top of betting.
Ronaldo and Messi have, of course, dominated the Ballon d’Or award for the world’s best player for a decade. This could be their final World Cup.
Just a half-step behind those greats comes Brazil’s Neymar, who will lead the line for a team expected to go a long way in Russia 2018.
But there are plenty of other worthy contenders, so we run the rule over the major chances and offer our insights into how to unearth a value contender.
Tips for finding top goal scorer at 2018 World Cup
- It helps if your player is in a leading team
The leading goal-scorer is likely to come from a team that makes it at least as far as the quarter-finals. A quick perusal shows the last player to top the goal-scoring charts at the World Cup finals without his team making it out of the group stage is Russia’s Oleg Salenko in 1994 in the United States. He tied on six goals with Bulgarian great Hristo Stoichkov, who helped his team to the semi-finals. Salenko’s cause was helped by knocking in a record five goals in a 6-1 romp against Cameroon.
- Penalty takers must be in the mix
Goals can be tough to come by at the World Cup finals, so if your man is the designated penalty taker for his team it can be a tremendous advantage. Recent history shows that five or six goals may be enough to top the tables, so if a couple of goals come from the spot, that’s a great start. Note though that goals scored in penalty shootouts do not count towards the goal-scoring tally.
- Look for an early mismatch
If you can find an early blow-out you might be able to find another Salenko. One of the group matches with a heavyweight up against a minnow could finish with a lopsided scoreline and a player could cash in with a hat-trick or better. That would set up said player nicely to make a run at the goal-scoring title. Matches such as Uruguay v Saudi Arabia or England or Belgium v Panama could fit the bill.
|Year||Top-scorer||Team finished||Penalties||Total goals|
|2018||Harry Kane (England)||semi-finals||3||6|
|2014||James Rodríguez (Colombia)||quarter-finals||1||6|
|2010||Diego Forlán (Uruguay)||semi-finals||0||5|
|Thomas Müller (Germany)||semi-finals||0||5|
|Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)||final||0||5|
|David Villa (Spain)||final||0||5|
|2006||Miroslav Klose (Germany)||semi-finals||0||5|
|1998||Davor Šuker (Croatia)||semi-finals||1||6|
|1994||Oleg Salenko (Russia)||first round||2||6|
|Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)||semi-finals||3||6|
Value odds for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?
Messi and Ronaldo are the biggest names in the game.
They dominate the scoring charts for their Spanish club teams Barcelona and Real Madrid, but how do they perform for their nations?
As at December, 2017, Messi had scored 61 goals in 123 appearances for Argentina, while Ronaldo had managed 79 in 147 showings.
These are impressive numbers by international standards, but the overriding factor will be how their teams fare.
By the looks of the draw, Portugal and Argentina seem certain to advance out of the group stages and highly likely to make the quarter-finals at least, giving these two masters of their craft every opportunity to knock in quite a few goals.