Mukhtar Still the Top Pick In Golden Boot Race

Jane Barrett
By , Updated on: Jul 27, 2023 08:00 PM
Mukhtar Still the Top Pick In Golden Boot Race

The race for the MLS Golden Boot looks close, but last year’s champion Hany Mukhtar looks like the top pick in the top scorer futures markets.

Who do Bettors Favor?

According to the top bookmakers (and you can check out our top sportsbook reviews here) we can see that the MLS Golden Boot race is tight, at least according to the markets. Bettors favor Hany Mukhtar for the title, at around +300 but he is closely followed by Denis Bounga and Luciano Acosta, at +350 and +450 respectively, with Giorgios Giakoumakis available at around +600.

MLS Golden Boot WinerBetOnline

MLS Golden Boot Betting Briefing

Calculating how many goals a player needs to score to win the Golden Boot can be challenging because the number of teams in Major League Soccer has changed significantly throughout the years and the number of games is altered whenever the league grows.

Since then, the winning total has only twice fallen below 20, and both of those seasons were impacted by the COVID pandemic. From 2005 through 2012, the Golden Boot winner averaged 20 or less goals every season. The highest scorer found the net 23 times last year, and since 2012, excluding the two years disrupted by the pandemic, it has been 26 times.

It is also notable that since 2005, the MLS Golden Boot winner has only three times played in the MLS Cup Final, and has only twice been on the winning side.

Hany Mukhtar Still Favorite

With 13 goals as of the midseason break, Hany Mukhtar—who concluded the 2022 season as the top scorer—is once again in the lead for Nashville. He is the overwhelming favorite.

Can he hold on and triumph once more? He has a good chance. Mukhtar's statistics, in contrast to several of his key competitors in this race, support his tally so far, with an Expected Goal total of over ten. Although it's conceivable that he benefited last season when Valentin Castellanos, the 2021 winner, left NYCFC midway through the year, he has all the attributes required to retain his Golden Boot title, as a player who is always involved in the play and who takes Nashville’s penalties.

”Hany MLS Golden Boot Winner

Bouanga A Risky Wager

LAFC striker Denis Bouanga is second on the list of top scorers, just one goal behind Mukhtar and many bettors might be tempted to opt for him in the Golden Boot market. However, a closer look at the statistics reveals that Bouanga is not a good value bet.

His Expected Goals statistics, in contrast to Mukhtar, do not support his record of goals. Bouanga is scoring far more goals than the underlying figures suggest he should, and with an Expected Goals total of 8, it will be difficult for him to keep up this pace for the remainder of the season.

LAFC’s difficulties could also have an impact on Bouanga. LAFC has struggled to uphold its high standards since losing the Champions League final, and to add to that, Carlos Vela is the team’s main penalty taker, further reducing Bouanga’s goal-scoring opportunities.

MLS Golden Boot Contenders

Luciano Acosta and Giorgios Giakoumakis are the next two MLS Golden Boot contenders in the list but while  Acosta has equaled Bouanga's 12-goal total for the year so far, but five of those goals were penalty kicks, and the season's level of penalty opportunities is unlikely to continue.

Although Atlanta is not playing as well as supporters would like, the team is still very much in the postseason hunt thanks to talented forward Giakoumakis. Giakoumakis, who is also the team's primary striker and takes all of its penalties, is crucial. He now has 10 goals, so he will need to catch up, but there is still time, and he could be a nice value selection in this market.

And what of Lionel Messi? There is a lot of enthusiasm in Miami and throughout the league as a result of one of soccer's all-time greats arriving in the US. Messi is one of the most prolific and indispensable players in the game, and his goal-scoring performances for Barcelona and PSG are legendary.

The scale of the task however, might be too much even for Messi. Messi will need to play in every game until the conclusion of the season and score an average of two goals per game if the Golden Boot winning total is once again in the mid-20s. Even for a player of Messi’s stature, that level of goalscoring is surely too much to ask and he doesn’t look a good wager here.

”Giorgios MLS Golden Boot Winner

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Meet the author

Jane Barrett

With over 15 years of experience, Jane Barrett is a respected journalist in the sports betting industry. Jane has lent her expertise to major outlets including Betfair, ESPN, and Sporting Life during her prolific career. As a leading writer covering the sports bettin...

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