The Premier League top scorer market is one of the busiest and most eagerly contested betting markets in world football, and that is hardly surprising given the depth of goal-scoring talent on display in English football. This year’s big mover in the market is undoubtedly Romelu Lukaku, following his switch from Everton to Manchester United. The Belgian star has been backed heavily ever since the transfer was announced and is now widely available at 9/2 with many bookmakers, though that price may not be available for long.
At first glance, he looks like a solid bet. After all, the big striker bagged 17 goals at West Bromwich Albion, followed by 15, 10, 18 and 25 in his four seasons at Everton. Surely if he can score that many for mid-table sides, he will be able to reach even higher peaks at a top five side like Manchester United? Well, not necessarily.
Beware the Mourinho factor
The problem with backing Lukaku in the Premier League top goal-scorer market is the man who will be managing him at Manchester United, or more specifically, his tactics. Put simply, Jose Mourinho’s teams are not built around a prolific striker. Only once in his six seasons as a Chelsea manager did a Chelsea player finish as top scorer, despite the fact that he won the league on three separate occasions. That trend has continued at Manchester United. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was United’s top scorer last season with 17 goals – way off the pace set by Harry Kane. The evidence suggests that even when a Mourinho team is successful, that success isn’t built around supplying a star striker with a steady stream of chances.
The other contenders
So if Lukaku looks a risky selection in this market, what are the alternatives? Last season’s winner Harry Kane tops the betting and it’s hard to argue with his position. His record in this market over the last three seasons reads: first, second, first. He benefits from playing in a side that creates a lot of chances, and is rarely rested for Premier League games. His odds are short, but backing him at 3/1 with Ladbrokes or BetVictor looks like a solid option.
Manchester City’s star striker Sergio Aguero is available at 6/1 with a few bookmakers including William Hill and 188 Bet which might appear tempting, given that he won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2015 and has finished second and fourth in the last two seasons. But the arrival of the prodigiously gifted Gabriel Jesus at the Etihad Stadium means that both players are likely to share the lone striking role, making neither a good bet.
Further down in the list, you can back Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez at 14/1 with Bet Stars and Chelsea’s Diego Costa at 12/1 with BetVictor, but is either player guaranteed to be playing in the Premier League this season? As such, they would represent a risky bet, and the same can be said of Arsenal’s record-breaking signing Alexandre Lacazette. He scored an impressive 28 goals for Lyon last season, but the uncertainty over if and when Sanchez will be leaving makes the 12/1 available with Ladbrokes less appealing than it initially appears.
If you’re looking for players at a bigger price, there are a couple of options. Sadio Mane made a big impact on Anfield last season and remains their main source of goals. With no AFCON action to interrupt his campaign he could rack up a hatful and at 33/1 with William Hill, he looks an interesting bet. You could also do worse than consider Jermain Defoe, who managed 15 goals playing for a woeful Sunderland side last season. He could give you a good run for your money if you take the 66/1 available with Ladbrokes.