2018 World Cup Golden Boot Futures Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
The Golden Boot, oddly named the Golden Shoe from 1982 to 2006, is awarded to the leading scorer in each World Cup tournament - with the Silver Boot and Bronze Boot to the second- and third-leading scorer. It should go without saying by now that whenever there is a contest there is a betting opportunity. We are far from the start of the tournament - three and a half months as I write this - so things could change, but it is a good time to look at the odds offered by BetOnline before the public really starts paying attention. Here's a look at 10 guys who are interesting in this race:
Lionel Messi, Argentina (+1000): The guy is only 30 and he has scored nearly 600 goals. He's clearly a legend. But his World Cup career has been mixed. He scored once in 2006 but was held off the sheet in six games in 2010 in what was a wildly-disappointing tournament. He bounced back well in 2014, scoring four times - though not at all in the knockout rounds as his team advanced to the finals before losing to Germany. Then he retired from international play in 2016, before, to the surprise of absolutely no one, coming back soon after. The team hasn't been great in recent months, so I find it tough to get excited about this price.
Neymar, Brazil (+1000): Information is incomplete on this play right now - Neymar is currently dealing with a serious ankle injury suffered in February, and we don't know what his status will be going forward. Ignoring that for now, though, I like this play a lot if he is healthy. He won the Bronze Boot in 2014 when he was just 21, so now he is more mature and developed as a player and should be more dangerous.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (+1200): I don't like this play at all. The guy is obviously a legend - the highest-paid athlete in the world - but he has just three goals in 13 World Cup games. He doesn't rise to his best in this tournament, and at 32 he's on the wrong side of his best. I don't love this Portugal team, either, though they should advance easily. The bet has no appeal.
Antoine Griezmann, France (+1400): The French team comes in in solid form after losing the final of Euro 2016 at home. They have a very manageable group in the World Cup, and they have a deep squad that is at least capable of a run. Griezmann isn't a true sniper like some of these guys, but he is playing well offensively of late and could lead the way for Les Bleus.
Romelu Lukaku, Belgium (+1800): The Belgians are potentially a very dangerous team, and Lukaku is probably the best offensive force on a talented team - though Eden Hazard would have something to say about that. Lukaku is only 24, so he's finding his prime. He started off great with Manchester United this year and has slowed down somewhat in recent weeks. If Belgium gets hot, though, then Lukaku could make some real waves. I like this price.
Harry Kane, England (+1800): Kane has won the Golden Boot in the English Premier League the last two seasons, so he obviously can score. And he's only 24, so there is room for him to improve. But England is England, and trusting them to do enough at this tournament to give Kane enough time to score a lot is a recipe for an ulcer. It's an intriguing play at the price, though.
Alvaro Morata, Spain (+1800): A shift in generations is happening with the Spanish after their incredible run of success, and Morata, their top current striker, is among those leading the way. He has moved to Chelsea this year to try out a new league and is scoring great. The 25-year-old is making his World Cup debut, which is a bit of a concern, and it's really tough to know what Spain truly has to offer here, but he's a factor - not a guy I will bet on but a factor in the race.
Robert Lewandowski, Poland (+2500): The Polish captain is as pure of a scorer as any guy here. He has 18 goals in his last 20 appearances - in both league play and international engagements - so he's obviously in top form. He would be extremely attractive if it weren't for his nationality. The team should advance out of the first round, but it's hard to see them as a real contender, and the risk of backing a guy who will play two or three less games than the finalists is higher than the price.
Thomas Muller, Germany (+2500): Muller won the Golden Boot in 2010 and the Silver Boot last World Cup, so he is always at his best in this tournament. He's still only 28, and the Germans are again a very strong team, so there are worse ideas than betting this guy at this price.
Mohamed Salah, Egypt (+6600): Want a big long shot to cheer for? You could do much worse than this potent scorer. He has 23 goals in 27 appearances since joining Liverpool last July, so he is in incredible form. And the Egyptian squad is always going to run through him. They have a decent chance of advancing - Saudi Arabia isn't good, and Russia is fragile despite playing at home. If he was able to play four games in the tournament then he could do some damage. Something fun to cheer for.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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