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Premier League Golden Boot 2017-18: Kane heads the betting but might Morata be the man?

Sergio Aguero has been in fine form
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Having provided Betting.Betfair's antepost preview, Joe Dyer updates the Premier League Golden Boot betting where just one goal separates seven contenders...

"Manchester City have been scoring goals for fun - their total of 38 is an incredible 15 more than the league's second top scorers, Manchester United, and double the total of champions, Chelsea. Sergio Aguero leads the City representation in the race, with eight goals to his name."

We're 11 games into the Premier League season and in contrast to the title battle, the competition to finish as Golden Boot is ultra-close.

As expected, it is pre-season favourite Harry Kane who leads the way, scoring eight goals despite suffering another August drought.

Manchester City have been scoring goals for fun - their total of 38 is an incredible 15 more than the league's second top scorers, Manchester United, and double the total of champions, Chelsea. Sergio Aguero leads the City representation in the race, with eight goals to his name.

While those two are the shortest prices in the betting, there is some serious attacking talent bunched up behind them, and no-one should write off Romelu Lukaku, Alvaro Morata or my antepost pick, Gabriel Jesus yet.

That trio have all scored seven, as has Liverpool's Mo Salah and another City attacker in Raheem Sterling.

Astonishingly, another City name pops up after Sterling - Leroy Sane having found the back of the net six times despite a Kane-esque dry August.

Leicester's Jamie Vardy round out the list of likely contenders, the Foxes forward sitting on six goals, too.

Here's the list of likely winners...

Harry Kane - Eight goals - Exchange odds [3.0] - Sportsbook odds [2.8]
Sergio Aguero - Eight goals - Exchange odds [5.0] - Sportsbook odds [5.0]
Romelu Lukaku - Seven goals - Exchange odds [7.6] - Sportsbook odds [6.5]
Gabriel Jesus - Seven goals - Exchange odds [8.0] - Sportsbook odds [7.5]
Alvaro Morata - Seven goals - Exchange odds [11.0] - Sportsbook odds [9.0]
Mo Salah - Seven goals - Exchange odds [32.0] - Sportsbook odds [21.0]
Raheem Sterling - Seven goals - Exchange odds [65.0] - Sportsbook odds [26.0]
Alexandre Lacazette - Six goals - Exchange odds [25.0] - Sportsbook odds [19.0]
Leroy Sane - Six goals - Exchange odds [90.0] - Sportsbook odds [50.0]
Jamie Vardy - Six goals - Exchange odds [100.0] - Sportsbook odds [41.0]

Jesus may outlast his City's team-mates

If making a move in the market now, then where should your money go?

As the league's highest scorers, and with four players in the running for Golden Boot, the obvious starting point is Manchester City.

Sheikh Mansour has a bigger wallet than most and the league leaders are thus blessed with incredible reserves of attacking talent. The challenge for punters is that Pep Guardiola rotates accordingly. Not one of City's Golden Boot contenders has started every match. It doesn't appear to have stopped them from scoring yet of course, but it can make backing a City player a frustrating affair. If you take the plunge you will just have to ride out the weeks when your man doesn't start and you will be relying on a player who will get significantly less minutes than his rivals.

Before I wrote this piece I assumed Aguero was Guardiola's slight preference upfront, but in terms of minutes played the Argentine has featured for just four more than his Brazilian team-mate.

Although he usually misses a few games through injury Aguero is a perennial contender in the market and looks a fair price as a bet-to-nothing - you'll break even on an each-way bet if he finishes in the top three.

But while he has scored one goal fewer, Jesus arguably offers better value. At 13/2 on the Sportsbook you can still make a profit on each-way punts should he finish in the top three.

But what of City's 'midfielders'? Sterling and Sane have both put up amazing numbers through the early fixtures of the season but the market does not fancy their chances of maintaining it over the course of the entire campaign. That is probably a correct assumption but City appear to be rewriting the rules this season and the place payouts on Sterling (who can be backed at 25/1) or Sane (50/1) almost justify themselves.

Morata is the man

At the current prices, market leader Kane is a 'win only' bet. As the undisputed first choice striker at the club, the danger to the Spurs forward is playing too much and he usually misses a few weeks with a knock, but it hasn't stopped him wining the Golden Boot in the last two seasons.

Lukaku started the season in fine form, averaging a goal per game through the first seven fixtures and hitting a low of [3.15] in the Exchange betting. But he has now gone four games without scoring, a run that has come as manager Jose Mourinho hits an odd place in his United career and the Belgian looks one to avoid at this moment in time.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte doesn't appear to be in a particularly happy place right now either and his team have suffered a few poor results in the last month, but that hasn't stopped Morata figuring prominently throughout. The Spaniard's seven goals is the equal of Lukaku but have come across significantly less game time. He is clearly the lead striker at the club and appears set for a big debut season at Stamford Bridge, especially with a fit Eden Hazard supplying the ammunition.

One goal behind Morata is Arsenal's big summer signing, Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman has only once played a full 90 minutes in the Premier League despite not featuring at all in the Europa League. The kid-glove approach from Arsene Wenger is slightly off-putting and it seems Lacazette is a step behind the competition here.

And what of those we haven't mentioned yet? Salah has been the bright spark of Liverpool's opening few months, scoring consistently throughout the league campaign. I had hoped for something similar from 33/1 antepost selection Sadio Mane but suspension and injury means he has missed five games since the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City. However, Salah's play perhaps proves that Liverpool's attackers do have the ability to score heavily. The Egyptian scored 15 times in Serie A for Roma last year and the suspicion is that he will come up short of the competition in his first Premier League season

Vardy could be a lively long-shot. Unlike last season he doesn't appear to be struggling with any sort of injury and appears to have retained top dog status in the club's forward ranks. New manager Claude Puel's defensive reputation is off-putting, however, and a watching brief is advised.


Recommended Bet
Back Alvaro Morata each-way @ 8/1

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