Why Neymar Will Lead Ligue 1 in Scoring and 4 Neymar Prop Bets

by Taylor Smith
on August 9, 2017

Last week, the summer’s longest and most drawn-out transfer saga finally came to a conclusion when Neymar made his record-breaking move from Barcelona to Paris St. Germain. PSG officials paid €222 million to trigger the Brazil international’s release clause, clearing the way for him to agree to a new contract with the Ligue 1 powerhouse.

Now that he no longer has Lionel Messi or Luis Suarez alongside him to garner some spotlight, there will be massive amounts of pressure on Neymar to perform with his new club. The 25-year-old has performed at every level of play in the past, so most expect him to step in and immediately become the best player in the French league.

Ligue 1 isn’t exactly the most decorated league in the first place, of course, so assuming Neymar will step right in and dominate isn’t exactly a bold prediction. Just how dominant will he be, though? Bovada has a slew of new Neymar-specific prop bets posted. In this space, we’ll roll through a few and try to nail them down.

Both Neymar (Ligue 1) and Lionel Messi (La Liga) to be Top Goalscorers in Their Leagues +450

Messi bagged 37 goals in La Liga last season, which absolutely blew away the field. The next closest was his teammate, Luis Suarez, who scored 28 of his own. For his part, Neymar scored 13.

Suarez will likely be the biggest threat to Messi’s title once again. The decorated Uruguayan scored a whopping 40 goals two years ago, which led the Spanish league. Cristiano Ronaldo is also still doing his thing. He finished third behind Messi and Suarez in scoring last season, and second behind Suarez two years ago.

Ronaldo is likely starting to enter the downturn of his career, though, so Messi understandably enters the season as the odds-on favorite to lead the league in scoring. Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema figure to also rank near the top of the league, as will Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann. Iago Aspas of Celta Vigo is a secondary threat.

We have no reason to believe Messi won’t lead La Liga in scoring. He’ll have more competition than Neymar will in Ligue 1, however. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is no longer in this league, nor are Bernardo Silva or Alexandre Lacazette. There’s also a chance that Kylian Mbappe will move on before the summer transfer window closes.

PSG’s Edinson Cavani led Ligue 1 in goals last season with 35. Considering he’s a striker and Neymar is primarily a winger, Cavani will likely find himself in plenty of prime goalscoring positions again this season. His effectiveness around goal will probably only be enhanced by Neymar’s presence alongside him on the wing.

Cavani is probably going to be Neymar’s chief competition for the goal-scoring title in France this season. We obviously believe Neymar is the better player at this stage of their respective careers, We love the value of taking both Messi and Neymar to lead their respective leagues in scoring this season at +450. It’s certainly a risk, but the profit potential is pretty huge.

Neymar Total Assists in Ligue 1 This Season

  • Over 17.5 -110
  • Under 17.5 -110

Neymar was only healthy for 30 La Liga games last season, but he still managed to collect 11 assists in addition to his 13 goals. Two years ago, when he appeared in 34 league games, he picked up 12 assists. In 2014-15, he racked up seven in 29 games.

Neymar is certainly a playmaker, but he does most of his damage with his own eye on the goal. Now that he’s no longer sharing the spotlight with Messi or Suarez, one would imagine he’s going to try and score as many goals as humanly possible. Considering he probably won’t meet a whole lot of tough resistance in the French league, we feel comfortable suggesting he’s going to absolutely dominate.

While the goals will come, we aren’t so certain of the assists. On the flip side, we know he’s got plenty of help. PSG are the most stacked team in France once again, especially now that Monaco has lost a handful of key contributors from last season. In addition to Cavani, Neymar will also be lining up alongside the likes of Angel di Maria, Marco Verratti, Lucas Moura and Blaise Matuidi, among others.

PSG may well challenge to hit the 100-goal mark, as they did during the peak Ibrahimovic days a few years ago. They certainly have the firepower to make it happen, and obviously, Neymar will be right in the middle of things.

Considering the value is equal on over or under 17.5 assists, we’re going to take the optimistic route and say that Neymar is going to top that mark. He’s going to put together a monster campaign.

Will Neymar Score in his PSG Debut?

  • Yes -130
  • No EVEN

Unfortunately, we aren’t yet sure when Neymar will make his debut in his new PSG kit. Barcelona has reportedly been dragging its feet regarding Neymar’s transfer paperwork, which means the Brazilian may have to wait until after PSG’s match in Guingamp this weekend. He had been hoping to make his debut last Saturday against Amiens SC, but he was not officially registered in the league in time.

This delay may mean Neymar will have to wait until August 20 to make his debut for Paris against Toulouse. Toulouse is a middling side that doesn’t give up a ton of goals, but they don’t score a whole lot themselves, either. Toulouse actually held PSG without a goal in their two meetings last season. Toulouse won the first fixture 2-0 before holding Paris to a scoreless draw later in the season.

As we’ve mentioned time and time again, we think Neymar is going to approach this season more motivated than ever to show he’s of the caliber of fellow world class talents like Messi, Ronaldo, and Suarez. He’s going to take Ligue 1 by storm, and it’s going to start on his debut.

So, yes, he’s going to score at least once in his debut, which will presumably come against Toulouse.

How Many Goals will Neymar Score in Ligue 1?

  • Over 29.5 -110
  • Under 29.5 -110

In nine seasons playing top-flight football in Italy and Spain, Neymar has never scored more than 24 goals. He topped out at 17 during his five-year stint with Santos in Serie A, while the 24 he bagged two years ago marked his top output during his days with the Blaugrana.

As we’ve said, though, Ligue 1 is flat-out weak. Paris is going to run roughshod over all of France if they can retain a reasonably healthy roster. Neymar isn’t a striker, nor is he as prolific a goalscorer as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is, but the Super Swede scored 30, 26, 19 and 38 goals in his four seasons leading the PSG line. There just isn’t a ton of resistance among the league’s other 19 clubs.

Still, 30 goals is a lot. Considering Neymar has never come particularly close to scoring that many in any league campaign to this point, it’s tough to imagine him getting there. While we believe in his chances to do so and lead the league in scoring, he’s going to have to score in bunches to get there. It also doesn’t help that he’ll be missing the first few weeks of the season.

We’re going to take the under on 29.5 goals for Neymar in Ligue 1 this year.
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