Sky Bet have just the 425 markets on the World Cup and one I love to throw a dart at is the top goalscorer market. We hit the bar in this column two years ago when backing Mario Mandzukic at 100/1 at Euro 2012.
When looking for the top goalscorer you need to find a player in a team with an easy group and that is capable of reaching the last four. Even if you lose in the semi-final, there's an extra game and another opportunity to score in the third place play-off.
The one team that falls in to both categories is Brazil. They should score plenty of goals against Mexico, Croatia and Cameroon and have a great chance of reaching the last four. Neymar (10/1) and Fred(20/1) are trading at the shortest price of the Brazil players but I'm going to go more left field and have a small each-way bet on Paulinho at 150/1.
As Tottenham fans know, Paulinho loves to bomb forward and constantly gets himself in to decent goalscoring positions. His finishing at times last season was woeful. While he became a bit-part player for Spurs, he's central to what Luis Felipe Scolari does with Brazil. At a press conference last month Scolari revealed that he'd spoken to Paulinho and said "you’re not playing much, but that doesn’t worry me. You’ll be starting". That suggests we'll get a good run for our money at 150/1.
Like so many players we will see in the World Cup, Paulinho is unrecognisable from the player we see in the Premier League when he puts on his national strip. In Brazil colours he often plays like a man possessed, just as he did in the Confederations Cup where he received the 'Bronze Ball' as the competition's third best player. I expect him to surprise people this summer and pick up a few goals for Brazil.
My other bet is Edin Dzeko at 66/1. Dzeko is "the man" for Bosnia-Herzegovina. He started every qualifier and scored an impressive 10 goals. In a tournament where head coaches will rotate their teams in the testing conditions, I expect Safet Susic to start Dzeko in every game. Also in his favour is the style that Susic plays. Bosnia won't die wondering and will have a real go. They scored 30 goals in qualifying and expect him to attack again in Brazil. They have Argentina with them in Group F but should be able to fill their boots against Nigeria, and especially Iran. They are unlikely to reach the last four but their group gives Dzeko an excellent chance and I expect Bosnia to qualify for the last 16, where they are likely to meet France.
Dzeko finished the season strongly for Manchester City and remains in excellent form scoring twice against the Ivory Coast last weekend.
Bosnia-Herzegovina should be entertaining to watch in Brazil and with the brilliant Miralem Pjanic loading the bullets, Edin Dzeko should be able to fire them in to the knockout phase and add to the impressive goal tally for his country.
Chile are my dark horses for the World Cup and look a great bet to qualify from Group B, at the Netherlands' expense. If it wasn't for their tough group and the likelihood of meeting Brazil in the last 16, I'd have a decent bet on Chile at 50/1 and would be all over Alexis Sanchez in the top goalscorer market. Sanchez is dynamite when set free through the middle for Chile. Key to their hopes will be the fitness of Arturo Vidal. Vidal had knee cartilage surgery at the beginning of May. He's expected to be fit for Chile's opener against Australia on June 13 and has the ability to be one of the stars of the tournament.
Chile were awesome against England in November and have impressed again since, especially against Germany. That game ended in a 1-0 defeat but the performance, in which they outplayed Germany for large periods, further enhanced the reputation of Jorge Sampaoli and his team. The England coach and my Monday Night Football colleague Gary Neville was particularly impressed by their 2-0 win at Wembley.
While Sanchez and Vidal are the stars, the Chileans gel brilliantly as a team. Gary Medel and Jean Beausejour haven't pulled up many trees in England but seem inspired for their country. Medel played like Franz Beckenbauer at times at Wembley!
Post to your View!
Be the first to post a comment on this story