Sportsbooks around the world have posted their World Cup future odds on a number of markets. One market that will get plenty of betting activity is the World Cup top scorer odds or Golden Boot award.
The Golden Boot is awarded to the tournament's top goal scorer. The winner of the Golden Boot may not be the player many expected to take the title when the World Cup kicked off. In 2014, James Rodriguez won the top scorer award with six goals and his achievement came out of nowhere. Playing his club football at Monaco, the Colombian earned a high-profile move to Real Madrid following his accomplishment.
Four years earlier, German Thomas Mueller won the Golden Boot in South Africa. How many punters saw that coming when the tournament kicked off?.
Although the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are all considered early favourites, will one of those superstars top the goal scoring charts in Russia?.
Who's likely to win the Golden Boot – World Cup Top Scorer odds?
World Cup top scorer odds list of contenders
Lionel Messi, Argentina – 9/1
Messi heads to Russia as the odds on favourite to win the Golden Boot. Messi has had another tremendous season with Barcelona and is on target to win another La Liga title. Although the team won't play for a Champions League trophy, Barcelona did win the Copa del Rey behind the power of Messi.
Messi has never topped the goal scoring charts at the World Cup. In 2014, Argentina made it to the final, where they lost to Germany. Messi only scored four goals during the team's run, which was two fewer than Rodriguez.
Four years previously in South Africa, Messi scored zero goals as Argentina lost in the quarterfinals.
Neymar, Brazil – 10/1
Brazil's Neymar leads the tournament favourites into Russia and sportsbooks have pegged the Paris Saint-Germain striker to score plenty of goals. Neymar struck four times in Brazil before being injured in the tournament quarterfinals against Colombia. Had the striker been available for the semifinal, and either the third-place match or final, he may have won the Golden Boot in 2014.
Neymar has been battling injury during the second half of the club season. In late April, he finally stopped using crutches to walk following ankle surgery. Neymar has been out of action since February 25 and isn't expected to return to training until May 17. That means he won't play another club football match this term, which also fuels the fire of his discontent in Paris.
Neymar won't have played a competitive football match for three months prior to the World Cup. Can Brazil win the tournament and Neymar the Golden Boot with such little fitness?
Timo Werner, Germany – 12/1
Timo Werner is a surprise choice as the third favourite to win the Golden Boot. However, sportsbooks look at players who have the chance of playing deep into the tournament, and Werner and Germany can do just that.
The RB Leipzig striker is young, energetic and full of goals. At just 22, Werner is entering the prime of his career. Germany don't have extensive options in the attack and Werner is Joachim Loew's best option as a No. 9.
Like Mueller in 2010, Werner could be a surprise German Golden Boot winner. Keep in mind, Germany have made it to the semifinals in the last four World Cup tournaments.
Twice the team finished third, once runners-up and once champions, and if Germany get to the final four again, Werner will have plenty of games to score goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal – 14/1
Ronaldo's positioning as fourth best in terms of odds shows a lack of confidence in Portugal going far in the tournament. Ronaldo scored just one goal at the 2014 World Cup and featured a mere three times for the Portuguese. Although the team won Euro 2016, Portugal have flattered to deceive on the World Cup stage.
The team is in a winnable group as Spain are Portugal's main rivals. Expect Ronaldo to at least get four matches at the tournament. Whether he has the service to score goals is the big question. Ronaldo doesn't have the same talent behind him like he does at Real Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann, France – 14/1
France have a stacked team and Antoine Griezmann could benefit from his talented teammates. Griezmann won the Golden Boot at Euro 2016 scoring six goals. His next closest rivals were both French as well – Olivier Giroud and Dmitri Payet. The French team has the potential to score goals, but Didier Deschamps' team has been hot and cold recently. France will top their group and a sustained run at the World Cup could see him win the Golden Boot.
Harry Kane, England – 16/1
Is Harry Kane the dark horse to win the Golden Boot award? Kane has had three successive excellent seasons in the Premier League with Tottenham and has stayed relatively injury-free this term. The striker has scored 26 goals so far in the Premier League after winning the league's Golden Boot award two years in a row.
Kane has all the talent and ability to top the goal scoring charts in Russia. He needs service and England to at least get to the quarterfinals to win it.
Kane could be the first Englishman since Gary Lineker in 1986 to win the award; and it could propel him to one of the biggest clubs in the world if he does.