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Odds to be Top Goalscorer at the 2018 World Cup

World Cup Top Goalscorer Odds Ronaldo Messi Neymar

The beautiful game reaches its four-year pinnacle this June when 32 of the best footballing nations on the planet meet in Russia for the 2018 World Cup. Most of the reading and handicapping you’ll do in the lead-up to the final will be focused on the teams and who will win but this piece hones in on the players who will get their teams across the line and the odds on which one will finish as the tournament’s top goalscorer, winning the coveted Golden Boot award.

Before placing a Golden Boot bet, there are a couple of things you’ll want to consider as it’s not an easy wager to hit. I’ll do my best to break them down for you here, and at the end I’ll provide a few players I think have a good shot at heading home with the hardware.

Bet on the 2018 World Cup here

Look for a contender

In the 20 World Cup finals since the four-year cycle began in 1930, the top goalscorer has come from a team that placed first, second or third all but two times and, interestingly, the bronze medalists have had a share of an astounding 11 Golden Boot awards.

The theory behind looking for a contender is obvious as advancing further into the tournament gives you more fixtures to score goals but the reasoning behind third-place producing so many top scorers is a little more complex.

Historically, bronze-medal games have been higher-scoring, producing an extra half a goal on average when compared to gold-medal games. This is likely due to the perceived importance – or lack thereof – for the third-place fixture.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to project who will finish exactly third in Russia so you’ll want to select players on the teams you think are most likely going to make it to the semifinals (Tip: take a look at the futures odds to see which nations sportsbooks think are most likely to win the tournament).

Find value

One of the most important pieces of this puzzle is finding a player who’s a bit under the radar but who’s going to heavily feature in a squad that has a good chance to go deep and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a striker.

The last two Golden Boot winners (James Rodriguez and Thomas Muller) were both attacking midfielders and while you’re going to want to mix in a high-priced No. 9 or two, middies can provide excellent value for the long-shot bettors out there.

James, for example, is the incumbent winner, yet he’s being offered at +5000 odds at Bovada. That said, there has never been a repeat Golden Boot winner and I don’t expect Colombia to make a darling run to the semifinals despite drawing one of the more favorable groups in the tournament.

My strategy for value is to take teams in the top 10 in World Cup futures, eliminate the Messis and Neymars and pick from the secondary scorers.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the options.

Pre-Tournament Picks

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) +1200

My chalkiest pick, Ronaldo certainly has the scoring pedigree and he’s coming off a runner-up effort in the 2016 UEFA European Championship Golden Boot race.

Portugal is the kind of squad that’s built to go deep in this kind of competition – evidenced by their win in France – and I think they’re being shorted by oddsmakers.

The Portuguese will surely navigate themselves to the quarters at the very least after a disappointing effort in Brazil and with Rotten Ronnie turning 37 before Qatar 2022, CR7 will do his damnedest to leave his mark on the world stage in Russia this summer.

Timo Werner (Germany) +1600

Take this with a grain of salz as Joachim Low likes to keep his tactics under wraps for as long as possible and I’m not sure how much the German speedster will figure into the defending champion’s plans.

Werner is, however, the most talented striker the Germans have had in some time, possessing skills and speed atypical of a traditional Nationalelf No. 9.

I will be shocked if the Leipzig forward isn’t selected for the majority of the starting XI’s and with Germany installed as pre-tournament favorites, Werner should have ample time to ply his goal-scoring trade.

Dries Mertens (Belgium) +3300

The Belgians’ propensity to bottle things up makes this a bit of a hairy prospect but at face value, the Red Devils possess one of the top three or four most talented squads and Dries Mertens is a big reason for that.

The Napoli forward is the top scorer for the most lethal front three in Serie A, using his unique mix of pace and skill to lead the lines for the Light Blues.

Likely slotting into a wide position next to Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard for the majority of Belgium’s contests, Mertens will have plenty of service from EPL superstar Kevin De Bruyne. He won’t have to worry about scoring opportunities, it’s just a matter of how Dr. Dries takes them.

Kylian Mbappe (France) +3300

With just three goals for the senior squad in 12 caps and a massive French talent pool to pick from, Mbappe is flying under the radar a bit at +3300.

The super-talented teenager was “loaned” to PSG after a breakout season for Monaco and he’s gone on to score 13 goals in 25 matches with the Parisians.

The World Cup hasn’t always been the brightest stage for youngsters but James’ performance for the Colombians as a 22-year-old in 2014 showed what’s possible for players like Mbappe.

Roberto Firmino (Brazil) +6600

Playing second fiddle to the exhilarating Mohamed Salah this season, Roberto Firmino has not so quietly accumulated 25 goals for Liverpool across his 43 Premier League and Champions League appearances (thus far) and he’s a big reason for the Reds’ run to the UCL final as 10 of those 25 were scored in just 12 Champs League matches.

The list of potential attackers is long for the green and yellow but it would be robbery to keep the man they call Bobby Chompers out of the lineup given what he’s achieved with his club.

I’d recommend waiting until May 14 to make this bet as that’s when we’ll know for sure whether Roberto will be going to Russia. If he’s named to the 30-man squad? Fire away. If he’s not? Invest in either Gabriel Jesus or former Liverpool teammate Philippe Coutinho.

This page will be constantly updated throughout the World Cup so keep it bookmarked and watch for sudden changes on Twitter.

Golden Boot Betting Strategies

Here’s the complete Golden Boot oddsboard:

2018 World Cup Top Goalscorer Odds
Lionel MessiArgentina+850
Neymar Brazil+900
Cristiano RonaldoPortugal+1200
Antoine GriezmannFrance+1400
Harry KaneEngland+1600
Timo WernerGermany+1600
Gabriel JesusBrazil+1600
Romelu LukakuBelgium+2000
Alvaro MorataSpain+2000
Luis SuarezUruguay+2500
Thomas MullerGermany+2500
Edinson CavaniUruguay+2500
Robert LewandowskiPoland+2500
Sergio AgueroArgentina+2500
Kylian MbappeFrance+3300
Gonzalo HiguainArgentina+3300
Diego CostaSpain+3300
Dries MertensBelgium+3300
Olivier GiroudFrance+4000
Eden HazardBelgium+4000
Alexandre LacazetteFrance+4000
Sandro WagnerGermany+4000
Mario GomezGermany+5000
Paulo DybalaArgentina+5000
Mohamed SalahEgypt+5000
Radamel FalcaoColombia+5000
Jamie VardyEngland+5000
Mauro IcardiArgentina+5000
James RodriguezColombia+5000
Philippe CoutinhoBrazil+6600
Roberto FirminoBrazil+6600
Andre SilvaPortugal+6600
Leroy SaneGermany+6600
Mario MandzukicCroatia+6600
Anthony MartialFrance+6600
Javier HernandezMexico+8000
Kevin De Bruyne Belgium+10000
Christian EriksenDenmark+10000
Christian BentekeBelgium+10000
Fyodor SmolovRussia+10000
Raheem SterlingEngland+10000
Arkadiusz MilikPoland+10000
Mesut OzilGermany +10000
Oribe Peralta Mexico+10000
David SilvaSpain+10000
Paul Pogba France+15000
Carlos Bacca Colombia+15000
Gylfi SigurdssonIceland+15000

Odds as of May 7 at Bovada

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