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our two best bets for Golden Boot

The world’s most important football tournament is only three days away and we are here to provide more World Cup predictions.

Here we focus on the first of two popular future markets for players, the Golden Boot. This year I have identified two players in the market that offer decent value to bettors.

In this market you must meet two criteria:

a) The player is on a good team (duh).

b) They are (ideally) responsible for taking penalties.

Odds are provided courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and are conflicting at the time of writing.

Kylian Mbappe (+900)

Mbappe is the second pick on this year’s odds board but there are clear arguments that he leads the tournament in terms of goals.

Even if the injuries of key players – Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kanté, Raphael Varane and Christopher Nkunku – are too much for France to run deep, Mbappe is capable of scoring many goals in a small sample. I rate Australia and Tunisia’s defenses as some of the worst of the tournament and I reckon Mbappe could score a large number of goals against those two teams alone.

Also, past clashes between France and Denmark have proven to be high-scoring – their two Nations League encounters have seen five goals against 8.12 goals on target (xGOT) and 12 great chances. In a perfect world, Mbappe could score five goals and be immediately in contention for the award.

Mbappe also comes to this tournament in excellent form from his recent performances with Paris Saint-Germain. In his last six games across all competitions, Mbappe has averaged 0.72 xGOT per 90 minutes, scoring seven goals in total.

Although he’s not solely responsible for penalties at Les Blues – he shares responsibilities with Karim Benzema – he still feels comfortable in that department and could score a goal or two.

As long as Mbappe stays at +900 or better, back him up to win the Golden Boot.

Alvaro Morata (+4000)

Prepare for heartbreak here as Morata is likely to lead the tournament on missed chances. However, at 40/1 I have no choice but to shoot with the Spanish forward.

At last year’s European Championship, Morata finished second in expected goals behind Cristiano Ronaldo. Moreover, after years of underperforming its underlying xG data, it actually is surpassed this year at Atletico Madrid, suggesting his finishing skills are improving somewhat.

However, the main reason I like Morata is that he will play in a wide-open group that should feature a lot of goals. Costa Rica is the worst team of the whole tournament in my opinion and I won’t be surprised if Morata can score two or three goals alone against that team.

While both Germany and Japan are talented teams, their respective defenses leave a lot to be desired. Competing in this tournament, Germany have allowed 2.05 xGOT per 90 minutes in six Nations League games and kept only two teams in goal under an expected goal.

As for Japan, they’re certainly capable of slipping a goal or two past Spain, but I expect the Blue Samurai will struggle against a Spanish attack that led the European Championship in total expected goals.

Add that Morata is the best penalty taker for Spain and I expect a breakthrough in the tournament for him. Put him at 35/1 or better in this market.

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