Is Neymar the best bet in World Cup Golden Boot odds?
It’s one of the most coveted individual awards in all of sports and the winner is an instant legend, if he wasn’t a legend already.
It’s the World Cup's Golden Boot, awarded to the player who scores the most goals over the course of the entire World Cup tournament.
The world's top goal scorers battle for this trophy while trying to lead their country to victory and it will likely end up on the mantle of a player from South America, if the current Golden Boot odds prove prescient.
Lionel Messi (Argentina), 7/1
Considered by many to be the best player in the world, all the pieces appear to be in place for Lionel Messi to prove it in this year's World Cup.
However, it’s possible his uber-talented countrymen could actually make it harder for him to win this award.
Argentina is one of the favorites to win the World Cup (currently the second betting choice), so he should have plenty of appearances in which to rack up goals. Argentina is the clear favorite in Group F and should be able to run up some high scores in group play.
And with 124 goals in his last three seasons with Barcelona, Messi enters the tournament fit and in his prime. The Golden Boot is arguably his to lose, although if opponents focus too much attention on him, he has two supremely talented teammates who could enjoy more goal-scoring exploits.
Neymar (Brazil), 10/1
Brazil is favored to win the World Cup, and if it does so it will likely be behind the foot of young superstar Neymar. Like Argentina, Brazil opens with a soft group and is expected to play plenty of matches in the tournament over a deep run towards the World Cup.
A creative winger that has 14 goals in his last 21 games for Brazil, Neymar will be right in the thick of this race if the team plays up to expectations. Especially if the vote splitting happens with rival Argentina where each of Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain could share the goal-scoring load equally.
In Brazil, Neymar can be the main trigger man.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), 12/1
Portugal will go as far as Cristiano Ronaldo takes it. Ronaldo has scored 12 goals in his last 10 appearances for Portugal and 151 goals in his last four seasons with Real Madrid.
But Ronaldo lacks the supporting cast or the soft opening group that Messi and Neymar have. That reality can cut both ways. It could work to his advantage in the sense that Portugal's entire offense runs through him.
Or it could result in suffocating defense focused singularly on him, which makes it much harder.
If Portugal can advance into the knockout stage and go on a run, it will likely double as a run to the Golden Boot for Ronaldo.
Sergio Aguero (Argentina), 14/1
All eyes will be on Lionel Messi in the 2014 World Cup, but so too will all of Argentina's opposing teams' top defenders. Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain (20/1) are world class scorers in their own right.
Should Messi draw the lion's share of defensive attention, it could be Aguero or Higuain leading Argentina's high-powered attack in goals with a Golden Boot campaign.
Luis Suarez (Uruguay), 18/1
Uruguay's all-time leading goal scorer enjoyed a career year with Liverpool in 2013-14, racking up 31 goals in 33 games of Premier League play. The sensational finisher enters the tournament in top form, and if Uruguay can muster up another deep run like it did in 2010, Suarez could be a strong dark horse for top goal scorer.
Other contenders: (Golden Boot line updates courtesy of Odds Shark):
Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), 22/1
Fred (Brazil), 25/1
Karim Benzema (France), 25/1
Robin Van Persie (Netherlands), 25/1
Thomas Muller (Germany), 25/1
Diego Costa (Spain), 28/1
Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), 33/1
Hulk (Brazil), 33/1
Mario Balotelli (Italy), 33/1
Miroslav Klose (Germany), 33/1