2022 World Cup Golden Boot Predictions: Will Neymar or Harry Kane Take Home Goal Scoring Honors?
Jonathon Moscrop/Getty. Pictured: Neymar.
The 2022 World Cup is here, and there is far more to bet on than just standard match or futures wagers.
With limitless props on the board, our experts are here to take you through their predictions. Read on for the Action Network’s soccer experts’ best bets on the golden boot market.
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World Cup Golden Boot Best Bets
Harry Kane (+750)
Brett Pund: I know he has the lowest odds on the board, but I still feel that Harry Kane has great value at +750 odds.
The key criteria for someone to finish with the most goals in the World Cup is a player that is the leading scorer for a team that makes a deep run, and he needs to take the penalties for that country. With that said, I feel that Kane checks off both boxes.
England, who should avoid Argentina, Brazil, Spain and possibly France in the knockout rounds, have one of the easiest paths to the semifinals in the tournament. Kane has also led the Three Lions at the 2018 World Cup and 2020 European Championship in goals, and he should do so here as the main striker on the roster.
Another reason to back the Tottenham striker is that he will be entering the competition in great form, scoring 13 goals in 22 starts in all competition for Spurs this season. Entering the tournament at 29 years old, this also could be his last World Cup to participate in, and I expect him to take advantage.
Johnathan Wright: Brazil are the favorites entering the tournament, meaning the number of matches and opportunities Neymar has to find the back of the net is already higher than the rest of his competitors from other countries.
Brazil scored a region-high 40 goals in their 17 CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying matches and Neymar was the top goalscorer on the team. The 30-year-old scored eight goals in his 11 WCQ matches.
What makes Neymar extra appealing for the award is that he is the primary penalty kick taker for the Seleção. Brazil drew a penalty kick in 35% of their games during WCQ. Assuming they continue to draw penalties at a similar rate in Qatar, calculated with Neymar’s 82% conversation rate from the spot, you can pencil the No. 10 to score at least 1.72 goals if they are to advance to the semis and beyond.
That is already around a third of what the four previous Golden Boot winners scored at the World Cup (five, five, six, six).
Neymar is also coming into Qatar in great form with his club team. He scored 11 goals in 14 Ligue 1 matches this season, and only two were from the spot, proving he is more than capable of scoring the final two-thirds from open play.
If there is a draw for the Golden Boot, then the tiebreaker goes to the player with the most assists, which favors Neymar. On top of his team-high eight goals for Brazil in WCQ, he also led the team in assists with eight while creating a region-high 35 chances, increasing his value even more at this price.
Dusan Vlahovic (+5000)
BJ Cunningham: What I am looking for in a golden boot long-shot is a striker that means everything to a team’s attack, one that is going to play in a lot of high-scoring matches, and one that is going to be on penalties. Dusan Vlahovic fits that profile and is one of the best young strikers in world soccer.
He’s been good for an under-performing Juventus team, putting up a 0.45 xG per 90 minute scoring rate, but for the national team he scored four goals in less than six full 90s throughout qualifying.
Serbia tends to play very aggressive and they absolutely love to create all of their chances via crosses, which really benefits Vlahovic. He stands at 6’2″ and over the last three years he has eight headed goals in all competitions.
The other big thing benefiting Vlahovic for the award is that his striking partner Aleksander Mitrovic is dealing with a foot injury and will not be at 100% for the World Cup, meaning the scoring load will be put on Vlahovic.
Serbia’s match throughout World Cup Qualifying averaged 3.1 xG, so Vlahovic is going to have plenty of chances against all three group stage opponents, especially Cameroon.
This price is too good to pass up.
Cody Gakpo (+6500)
Anthony Dabbundo: If you’re not following club soccer week in and week out, you probably haven’t heard of Cody Gakpo.
He didn’t play at the Euros for the Netherlands last summer but he burst onto the scene at PSV Eindhoven since. The Dutch forward has nine goals and 12 assists in the Eredivisie this season and that success has carried into the Europa League too. He’s putting up 0.87 xG + xA per 90 and will be the driver of the Dutch attack at the World Cup alongside Memphis Depay.
The Netherlands come into this tournament in excellent form and they have a pretty weak group to bag goals against. The knockout stage path could be favorable for them to go deep in this tournament if they’re able to win the group, as they’d likely face the USA, Wales or Iran in the Round of 16. Gakpo’s rise is similar to that of James Rodriguez for Colombia in 2014, and a big World Cup for him could lead to a move to one of the top clubs in Europe next summer.