With all the major European football leagues either poised to resume or already in full swing, now is the time to pick up some decent prices on the 'league top scorer' markets. There are a number of different methods for choosing your player, though, so take a look at this quick guide to help you get it right.
In the English Premier League (EPL), Robin van Persie has fired his way to the top two seasons running, and is unsurprisingly the bookie's favourite again for the 2013/14 season. Bet365 Sports is currently rating him at 3/1 to retain the Golden Boot, making him the clear favourite in this market. The Manchester United squad has remained pretty much in tact over the summer, and Van Persie is likely to spearhead their attack once more, making him one of the safer choices in the running.
If you're looking for more value in your 'league top scorer' bet, it's worth taking a closer look at the stats and venturing outside of the EPL. In La Liga, Atlético Madrid's new signing David Villa is a solid choice, and after the departure of former club top scorer Radamel Falcao he's likely to feature more prominently. Pre-season odds of 25/1 may make him seem like an outsider, but he certainly has the talent to win the Spanish honours.
When betting in this market, it's important to remember that behind every top striker is a talented playmaker. La Liga's Lionel Messi (46 goals) and Cristiano Ronaldo (34 goals) had their vast individual talents supplemented by the top players for assists: Andres Iniesta (16) and Mesut Ozil (13).
Applying the playmaker effect to the EPL, Chelsea's loan returnee Romelu Lukaku looks a good pre-season bet for top scorer. After a solid performance with West Brom in 2012/13, he moves into a squad that boast the two players with the highest number of assists in the 2012-13 EPL season: Juan Mata (13) and Eden Hazard (11). With his odds at Bet365 Sports shortening from 33/1 to 25/1 in recent weeks, Lukaku is an interesting and well-backed outsider.
The summer's big buys always attract interest in the 'league top scorer' market, but they can also be slightly more risky - adapting to a new environment is rarely easy, and you only need to look at the fortunes of Fernando Torres to see the effect a big move can have on performance. In the 2012-13 Ligue 1, however, Zlatan Ibrahimovic proved that adaptation is not an impossible task, finishing the season as France's top scorer with 30 goals from 34 appearances. His impressive debut haul may be part of the reason why this season's big signing and Ligue 1 debutant Radamel Falcao beats him to the favourite spot for 2013/14 at 9/4.
Despite these attractive odds, betting at the beginning of the season is a risky business, and the more cautious football betting enthusiast would be well advised to let the teams bed in before investing in their choice for the 'league top scorer' market. To get all the latest odds on this potentially lucrative market, head over to Bet365 Sports today.
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