Bookies compete avidly to attract punters when it comes to betting on football, writes Vernon Grant.
One market is that for the top Premier League goalscorer this forthcoming season. Below, John Wozniak offers his analysis of the likely candidates. The odds quoted are correct at the time of publishing but will, of course, change as the big kick off draws closer.
It is worth noting that Paddy Power are offering punters a bet whereby if you place a stake of £25 or Euros on a player as a win bet (or as a 12.50 each way bet) on a footballer to be top scorer, they will give you a £2 ‘free’ bet each time that player scores a goal during the season. If you at any stage cash out on the main bet, you will no longer get those ‘free’ bets.
It is also worth noting that Paddy Power will return any each way bets for the top 6 goalscorers. That’s the offer I will take advantage of. Think about it. If there is not a vast difference between the price about a certain player at Paddy Power as compared to another bookie, and you think he’ll likely finish in the top 6 but maybe not score the most goals; then surely you’re better off having an each way bet at Paddy Power. After all, other bookies are only offering each way returns about the first 4.
Looking at the current odds I’d have to say that if Sergio Agüero stays fit, he’s the most potent striker in the league. But, at a best price 7/2, I’ll leave that alone. I want a double figure each way price.
I suspect the 25/1 about Daniel Sturridge will attract lots of each way bets. Liverpool may well have a good season and finish in the top four.
But my money will go on the following three players.
Diego Costa at 16/1. The only concern I have about Costa is not so much the trouble his temperament will land him in, but whether or not the new Chelsea manager likes him. Time will tell on that one.
At odds of 18/1, Jamie Vardy is overpriced. Insultingly so. That he and influential colleague Riyad Mahrez have stayed at Leicester, each spurning offers from Arsenal, surprises me. While Leicester are now a known quantity, I’d be surprised were Vardy not to end the season as one of the top six goalscorers.
The final bet is a very speculative one. Who knows how often Jose Mourinho will play Marcus Rashford? After all, Jose will rightly play Rooney as a striker and also has the option of his long time friend, Zlatan. But, at 50/1, Rashford may be worth a small each way play.
Those are the bets I, Vernon Grant, will play each way using that first 6 offer from Paddy Power.
Now for John’s article.
Premier League 2016/17: Golden Boot Contenders by John Wozniak
The new season promises to be the most competitive in Premier League history and there’s plenty of talk regarding the main contenders. But who will flourish in-front of goal and make head coaches and fantasy team owners alike happy?
Everton will be looking to kick on under new manager Ronald Koeman. Romelu Lukaku has a great opportunity to develop under his new coach. The Belgian forward found the net 18 times last season, a personal Premier League record for the 23-year-old. His goal tally shouldn’t be underestimated; especially as it was a particularly difficult campaign for the Toffees. If Everton have ambitions of silverware, then they must retain Lukaku’s services. The big man is a quality striker and not a bad call for an outside bet.
Lukaku 12/1 – All bookies
Arsenal supporters may well bet with their heart on the top scorer. Alexis Sanchez has scored 29 Premier League goals in 65 starts for Arsenal but it’s unlikely that the Chilean International will be picking up this season’s accolade. His French teammate Olivier Giroud has even longer odds of becoming the Premier Leagues top striker. Giroud had a decent return of 3-from-6 at Euro 2016 but like Sanchez, he can’t seem to find that 20-goal mark in the league. Could Arsene Wenger’s tactics be inhibiting the pair? That’s a debate for another day.
Sanchez 25/1 Coral & BetFred and 22/1 at Paddy Power | Giroud 28/1 – 888sport, 32Red and Unibet
Michy Batshuayi teams up with compatriots Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea. On the face of it the 22-year-old is likely to play a key-role in Conte’s title ambitions. During the last campaign Batshuayi scored 17 league goals in a team that struggled to make any impact in the league. If you’re having a punt on the top-scorer then the Belgian international shouldn’t be overlooked – this time around he’ll be playing for a title contender.
Batshuayi 22/1 – Various bookies
Jürgen Klopp is quietly going about his business to rebuild Liverpool with the intent of finding that elusive Premier League title. Klopp has a number of quality forwards at his disposal, whether or not he can get the best out of them is another question. Daniel Sturridge ought to be striving to replicate his 2013/14 campaign, where he scored 21 goals from 29 starts, a personal record. His first priority will be to stay out of the physio’s treatment room. Klopp will be demanding that Christian Benteke finds the kind-of-form that made him an Aston Villa hero. In the 2012/13 campaign, Benteke bagged 19 in 34 league starts. Benteke has an impressive Premier League record of 51 goals in 118 appearances. He might, however, be heading for pastures new.
Sturridge 25/1 – Paddy Power and others | Benteke 50/1 32Red, Betfair, 888 Sport
Sergio Agüero has been a Premier League defender’s nightmare. A prominent figure for Manchester City, the 28-year-old Argentina international won the Premier League Golden Boot with 26 goals during the 2014/15 campaign and finished runner up to Harry Kane in the last campaign. Agüero must be relishing the prospect of working under one of the world’s finest coaches in Pep Guardiola, whose aim will be to make an immediate impact in his first season in English football. It’s not difficult to work out why the combination of a world-class striker and coach make Agüero the bookies favourite.
Agüero 7/2 – Paddy Power and several other bookies
After a poor showing at Euro 2016 punters may avoid backing Harry Kane to retain the golden boot. Kane is the bookies second favourite to become the league’s top-scorer but his primary aim will be to ensure that Tottenham Hotspur eclipse last season’s 3rd place finish. Kane has scored 20+ league goals in his last two campaigns. Spurs have strengthened and their fans will have every confidence in Kane’s ability improve on last season’s league tally of 26 goals. Don’t be surprised to see the England front-man hitting some early season form.
Kane 7/1 – Bet 365 and William Hill
Chelsea will undoubtedly look revitalised under new head coach Antonio Conte. Love him or loath him, Diego Costa knows where the back-of-the-net is. If Costa is to be amongst the front-runners for the Premier League’s top scorer, he must remain fit and stay out of the referee’s notebook. He scored 20 league goals in his inaugural season but that tally was overshadowed by last season’s poor return of a dozen. If La Liga doesn’t come calling, Costa is certainly worth a punt, especially as he will be playing in an energetic new-look Chelsea.
Costa 16/1 – Paddy Power and other bookies
Ibra! I might be in the minority when it comes to getting excited about Sweden’s top goal scorer of all time. Jose Mourinho looks like he’s signed a bargain on paper. Let’s put this into context, Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be facing mediocre defenders from Ligue 1 where he scored 156 goals in 188 appearances. There is no doubting Ibra’s impressive goal and trophy tally and reunited with Mourinho he will be hungry to make his mark in arguably his most difficult challenge to date. Manchester United fans will be forgiven for backing their new striker.
Ibrahimovic 9/1 – Various bookies
Anthony Martial is another Manchester United player that many will be looking to see flourish under Mourinho. 11 goals and four assists in 31 league starts gives United fans hope that their French international will have another prosperous campaign. Some may have concerns over the amount of game-time Martial is likely to be given. Teammate Marcus Rashford scored 5-in-11 the last time out, and that might tempt punters to have a £5 on England’s talented youngster. Stranger things have happened in football.
Martial 40/1 – Coral | Rashford 66/1 – 888sport and 50/1 at Paddy Power
Leicester City fans might be surprised to learn that Jamie Vardy is not fancied by the bookies. Claudio Ranieri’s men aren’t fancied to retain the Premier League either. Vardy will be eager to put his Euro disappointment behind him and return to the kind of form that brought him 24 goals during the last league campaign. Vardy snubbed Arsenal to remain at Leicester, and he will once again be a key-man for the foxes. Don’t bet against the pacey striker to eclipse last season’s goal tally.
Vardy 18/1 – Paddy Power and Coral