With the group stage complete, football punters have the chance to take stock and re-assess the main World Cup betting markets.
The head of the World Cup Top Goalscorer market has a familiar look to it as the bookies appear to have been correct in their early predictions that Neymar and Lionel Messi were the players for aspiring Golden Boot candidates to beat. Neither of the Barcelona players can be said to be in the running for Player of the Tournament at this stage, yet they have both managed to score four goals in three group games. With their respective teams scheduled to avoid powerhouse opponents until the semi-finals, there should be time remaining for Neymar (3/1 William Hill) and Messi (14/5 SpreadEx) to plunder more goals.
There is no shortage of challengers for the market leaders, 2010 Golden Boot winner Thomas Muller (4/1 Paddy Power) has also scored four times and the German forward will be looking ahead with relish to the last 16 match against one of the World Cup’s surprise packages, Algeria. The African Confederation team have certainly had a go in the tournament and made the knockout stage for the first time in their history when claiming a 1-1 draw against Russia, having previously defeated South Korea 4-2 in Group H. They are sure to stay true to their attacking principles and the pragmatic Germans will look to exploit their adventurous spirit on the counter attack which they’ve used to devastating effect under Joachim Low’s near eight year tenure.
The market remains wide open and punters should consider World Cup Top Goalscorer Money Back on Betfred. Customers will get their stake refunded as a free bet if their selection finishes second.
Six players are level with three goals apiece, Karim Benzema (France), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), Robin van Persie (Netherlands), Enner Valencia (Ecuador), James Rodriguez (Colombia) and Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland). Scratch out Valencia as he’s on the plane home with the rest of the Ecuador squad after finishing third behind France and Switzerland in Group E. It would take a brave man to back Shaqiri (50/1 William Hill) as Switzerland have the daunting task of meeting Argentina in the second round but the remaining five players all have the opportunities to progress deep into the tournament.
Netherlands duo Robben (16/1 Betfred) and Van Persie (12/1 Betfred) may possibly hinder each other’s chances, especially as Robben is enjoying more time in central areas. French striker Benzema (9/1 SpreadEx) is one who stands out from his performances in the group stage. The Real Madrid player should have had four or five goals already, he was denied twice by great stops in the 5-2 victory over Switzerland and had a goal disallowed when the referee ruled it crossed the line after he had blown the final whistle. Benzema has won the Man of the Match award twice and looks like he’ll be a threat to any side France take on in the World Cup.