FIFA World Cup 2014: Top Goalscorer Preview

June 9th, 2014 by Ed Frost
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo

Many of the players taking part in this year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil will have their eye on the Golden Boot. This is awarded at every World Cup to the player who scores the most goals throughout the tournament, and it is among the most prestigious individual achievements in soccer.

The Golden Boot has been won by some true legends of the game – including Eusébio, Paolo Rossi and the Brazilian Ronaldo. There are always a few players with a realistic chance of being the top goalscorer and this year is no different. It is far from easy to predict who will take the award but that doesn’t stop this from being one of most popular betting markets for the tournament.

In this article we’ve taken a look at the chances of the five players the bookmakers have deemed the most likely to win the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup.

Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 8/1

It’s no surprise that Messi is the bookmakers’ favorite to win the Golden Boot this year. He has broken numerous goal scoring records throughout his club career at Barcelona and he is part of a very talented Argentinian squad that will likely go far in this tournament.

Argentina will be expected to score plenty of goals during the group stage, as they have a very potent strike force and their opposition will struggle to contain them. Messi is almost certain to be among the goals and could well have a few to his name before the knockout rounds begin.

The relatively short odds of 8/1 probably don’t represent value though, given the quality of some of the other contenders. It is also worth noting that Messi plays deeper for his country than he does for his club. He will have responsibility for creating as well as scoring and this will affect his personal goal tally.

Neymar (Brazil) – 12/1

Neymar has just completed his first season at Barcelona – where Messi is a teammate – and has done very well. He has an excellent scoring record for Brazil and will feel comfortable playing in his home country, so it is easy to see why he is favored by many for the Golden Boot.

The Brazilians have a tougher group than Argentina but they should still qualify comfortably. They will want to turn on the style for the fans so it is safe to assume they should score a decent number of goals. If Neymar is in good form then he should get his fair share.

Again, though, we don’t feel there is enough value here to make this an attractive wager. We are not even convinced that Neymar is going to be top goalscorer for his team, as there are others who will be looking to contribute goals too.

Sergio Aguero (Argentina) – 18/1

Aguero’s season with Manchester City was disrupted with injuries but he still managed an impressive haul of goals. If he can stay fit, and in form, then he is very likely to be up there with the top goalscorers. He will benefit from Messi’s deeper role and he will enjoy playing against some of the defenses he will face in the group.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 18/1

Ronaldo is officially the best player in the world at the moment, having won this year’s Ballon d’Or award. It is hard to argue with that label as Ronaldo has proved time and time again that he can score for fun. The very fact that his Portugal team is taking part in this tournament is largely down to his contribution during qualifying.

There is no defense on the planet that would look forward to facing Ronaldo and he is capable of scoring goals against anyone. However, his team is in one of the toughest groups and is by no means guaranteed to make the knockout stages. That is why, despite his brilliance, we find it difficult to recommend betting on Ronaldo.

Fred (Brazil) – 20/1

Of the five players mentioned here, Fred offers the best value in this betting market for us. We believe Brazil will make the final at least and we think Fred is going to score a lot of the goals that will get them there. Neymar is well favored, but we feel that he may just end up creating more than he scores – and Fred should benefit from that.

Summary

Four of the top five favorites for the Golden Boot play for either Brazil or Argentina. That is primarily because both of these teams are expected to progress deep in the tournament, meaning their players will have more games and more opportunities to score. Ronaldo makes the top five purely because of his individual brilliance.

We have picked Fred as the pick of this bunch but there are several other players worth considering. You can back players each way, getting a quarter of the odds if your selection finishes among the top four goalscorers, and this means there is plenty of value available in the market. Players such as Luis Suarez (25/1), Thomas Muller (33/1), and Robin Van Persie (33/1), simply cannot be ignored at such prices.