Sat 23/06/2018 - 06:35 EDT

Who Will Win the FIFA World Cup's Golden Boot Award?

Golden Boot odds for the 2018 World Cup come via Bovada and are accurate as of Thursday, June 21. Make sure you're' double-checking these odds before placing or deciding on a wager. They will move frequently, usually daily, as the World Cup soldiers on. Also note that all of our goal tallies for the top-five Golden Boot options are accurate as of all games played through June 21.

5. Harry Kane, England (+800)


Goals Scored: 2

Garry Kane is laying the third-best odds of anyone on this list. He deserves them...for now.

He scored both of England's goals in their opening victory over Tunisia. That's both impressive and less than ideal. They'll need more than this one-man show when facing Belgium. It could get them by against Panama, which would in turn grant them entry into the Round of 16.

Still, it's a little hard to imagine them getting much further. That, in turn, hurts Kane's chances. He'll have to do a bulk of his scoring in the Group Stage and Round of 16 to win the Golden Boot. That's a tall, most likely impossible order.

4. Denis Cheryshev, Russia (+2000)


Goals Scored: 3

Host country Russia is being treated to a masterful performance from Denis Cheryshev. He has three goals through two matches, both victories, as the Russian squad continues to shock skeptics all around the world.

With Russia poised, it seems, to sneak into the Round of 16, Cheryshev deserves mild consideration—but only as a longer-shot option. Group A is among the weakest of the eight sectors, so their matchups are only going to get tougher. They're still ticketed for an early exit, most likely once the round-robin portion of the tournament reaches its end.

Even if Russia goes on a protracted Cinderella run—one, mind you, nobody would have ever saw coming—they're bound to cool off. They've scored eight total goals through their first two tilts. That pace won't hold, even if Cheryshev's usage does.

3. Romelu Lukaku, Belgium (+900)


Goals Scored: 2

Belgium destroyed Panama in their first game of the World Cup, winning with a tidy 3-0 shutout. Romelu Lukaku was, of course, at the center of it all. He scored two of their three goals and looks every bit the part of the human highlight reel he's been made out to be.

Longevity buoys his case more than anything. Belgium should roll through Group G, particularly with both Tunisia and England, their two remaining opponents in the round-robin format, looking a little blah. On paper, they still grade out as a top-five team in a field of 32. They should find themselves playing through to the quarter-finals, which will give Lukaku at least an extra two games after the group stage to build upon his totals.

The concern: Belgium was slow to get going against Panama. They won't be able to pull that against superior teams. More importantly, if they stall out for longer than, say, the first half of the game, it inherently drives down Lukaku's scoring opportunities—a major problem for someone playing within an offense that likes to spread the wealth around.

2. Diego Costa, Spain (+500)


Goals Scored: 3

Spain's 3-3 tie against Portugal did not do their immediate future any favors. They'll still get out of Group B. That's a given. Spain is the toughest opponent they'll face in this stage. But they look alarmingly solvable.

For much of their initial contest, Diego Costa was giving off a Cristiano Ronaldo vibe. Spain needed him to do everything—not just take shots, but create a large share of them for himself. Just as that's not a sustainable model for Portugal looking into the later rounds, it won't be for Spain. They'll need David De Gea to play better—smarter, really—to ensure they don't suffer a surprise early exit.

Overall, though, this team should be fine. Looking at how much they struggled near the end versus Portugal, they easily rate as one of the three best participating teams. They should hang around long enough to get Costa in position for the Golden Boot. Heck, if he has another multi-score game in the group stage, he'll have but one challenger to his throne.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (+150)


Goals Scored: 4

Who else, right?

Cristiano Ronaldo has four goals through two contests because of course he does. And he's the only person who has thus far scored for Portugal because of course he is. That's how their offense works these days.

That poses real concerns in the later rounds. Portugal will still be good for a runner-up finish in Group B, but this all-Ronaldo-everything model could come back to bite them in a single-elimination format against better teams.

Portugal's 1-0 victory over Morocco was probably more telltale than their 3-3 deadlock with Spain. It was encouraging that they could hang with the latter, but that felt more fluky than not. Ronaldo went off at the end, because he's Ronaldo. Meanwhile, we saw how easy it can be for the offense to bog down when it doesn't have any other viable options.

Shorter World Cup lifespans are terrible signs for Golden Boot hopefuls. Ronaldo is no different. At the same time, he's so prolific, namely by design, it doesn't matter. Even if Portugal gets bounced in the Round of 16 or quarter-finals, chances are he'll have scored enough to remain in this discussion.

For the time being, he is this discussion. It honestly would be surprising if he doesn't take home the Golden Boot, just as he did back in 2002. And by the way, you're free to wait on his odds for another game or so if you must. They should get a touch more lucrative once someone else on Portugal tallies a goal. Then again, they're not going to improve by much, so if you're going to invest him, there's no time like the present—or, at the longest, until after their next game against Iran.

Statistical Sources
All stats come courtesy of the following sites unless otherwise cited:

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