World Cup 2018 top goal scorer betting

Top Goal Scorer

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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
2002 Ronaldo (Brazil) champions 0 8
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.

Leading chances to be top goal-scorer in Russia

Messi

Lionel Messi (Argentina)
What we say: Five goals in 15 appearances at the World Cup finals. Good by anyone’s standards but he may be hoping to add at least another five in this tournament. Deserved favourite.
Odds: $10
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
What we say: Just three goals in his 13 games for Portugal at the World Cup finals, but the team is on a high after its Euro 2016 heroics. If they survive long enough, you just know Ronaldo will be scoring goals.
Odds: $15
Naymar

Neymar (Brazil)
What we say: Has a wonderful record of 53 goals in 83 appearances for his country and scored four goals in the 2014 World Cup. Not afraid to score multiple times and this is his chance to elevate himself into the rarefied air occupied by Messi and Ronaldo.
Odds: $11
Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann (France)
What we say: Top-scored in the Euro 2016 tournament. His 19 goals in 49 games for France show the ability is there. Plus France are expected to do well this time around.
Odds: $13
Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)
What we say: The latest goal-scoring phenomenon off the Samba kings’ production line and with seven goals in 13 matches, he has made a great start to his international career. This price may be great value by the time the tournament starts.
Odds: $17
Timo Werner

Timo Werner (Germany)
What we say: Another wunderkind who could make a big splash in Russia. Started with seven goals in his first 10 senior appearances for Die Mannschaft.
Odds: $17
Harry Kane (England)

Harry Kane (England)
What we say: Carries the weight of England on his shoulder and does a mighty fine job most of the time. His chances of scoring heavily here rely on England bucking history and reaching the semi-finals at least.
Odds: $17
Thomas Muller (Germany)

Thomas Muller (Germany)
What we say: Scored five goals, including a hat-trick, at Brazil 2014 to be only one behind the top scorer. Has a knack for scoring at the biggest events.
Odds: $34
Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
What we say: A divisive figure but it’s hard to argue against the premise that he’s one of the game’s greatest predators, ready to strike in a flash. And 49 goals in 95 internationals for Uruguay backs that up.
Odds: $26
Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
What we say: A powerhouse of a player for Manchester United and his country. If the Belgians finally deliver on their talent, he must be a real chance.
Odds: $19
Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)

Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)
What we say: A prolific goal-scorer throughout his career in the Italian and French leagues. Less so on the international stage where the style of play can be so different.
Odds: $26
Sergio Aguero (Argentina)

Sergio Aguero (Argentina)
What we say: A truly great striker now plying his trade in super style for Manchester City. It’s a measure of Messi’s greatness that a player as good as Aguero has played second fiddle to him at international level. Still he has 36 goals in 84 appearances for La Albiceleste.
Odds: $34
Robert Lewandowski (Poland)

Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
What we say: A goal-scoring machine wherever he has played. Has 51 goals in 91 appearances for his country and needs the Poles to make it out of their group to enhance his chances. Was unstoppable in qualifying with 16 goals in 10 matches.
Odds: $34