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2018 FIFA World Cup Top Scorer Odds: Will Messi or Neymar Reign Supreme?

Messi & Neymar
Lionel Messi and Neymar are the favorites to win the Golden Boot in this year's World Cup. Will either one be able to lead their team to World Cup glory? Photo by Christopher Johnson (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • How have the odds changed for Messi and Neymar in the battle for top goalscorer?
  • Who has the inside track to win the Golden Boot?
  • How has each looked in recent warm up matches?

After months of qualifiers, predictions and analysis the big day is finally here. The World Cup kicks off today with Russia hosting Saudi Arabia. But the race for top overall goalscorer between the top two favorites will have to wait a couple more days.

Argentina kicks off Saturday against Iceland and Brazil Sunday versus Switzerland. Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Neymar have been the consistent favorites to win the award based on the average odds from some of our top sportsbooks.

Back in March, Messi was trading for an average of +850 to win the award, while Neymar was paying a little more at approximately +1000. Fast forward three months and it’s Neymar who has seen a bit more of the action as both are now paying out at an average of about +900.

Below you can find the current odds for each to win the Top Scorer award at three of our most trusted sportsbooks.

Top Scorer 2018 FIFA World Cup Odds

Sportsbook Messi Neymar
Bovada +1100 +900
BetOnline +900 +1000
GTBets +800 +900

What are Argentina and Brazil’s Chances of Making a Deep Run?

Conventional wisdom would place both Argentina and Brazil as first place finishers in their respective groups. If you also consider the fact that each of Spain and Germany are favored to win their groups as well, that would place Argentina, Spain, and Germany on the right side of the bracket. Each of these teams will be strong contenders for the World Cup, but based on average overall odds to win the trophy, Argentina would likely be underdogs against either the Spaniards or Germans.


By contrast, some of the likely teams Brazil could face in the Knockout Rounds, would be Uruguay, France, Belgium, or England. Again, all strong squads, but all teams Brazil “should” be favored over.

Recent Friendlies

Brazil has been coasting in the lead up to the tournament. A first place finish in CONMEBOL was followed by a 5-1-0 record in their warm up matches. The result saw not only money come in on Neymar to win the award, but his teammates Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, and Philippe Coutinho have also taken money. While Neymar was injured with a broken foot for the last few months, he did return earlier this month, playing in two games and scoring two goals.

Argentina had two of their recent friendlies cancelled, so only played five times in lead up to the tournament and posted a 3-0-2 record. The two losses came against fellow World Cup squads in a 4-2 loss to Nigeria and a 5-1 setback to Spain. Messi also saw extremely limited time in warm up matches, but in Argentina’s last game against Haiti he scored a hat trick and added an assist in a 4-0 win.

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Ryan has always enjoyed playing, watching, writing about, and betting on sports. He brings his industry knowledge and expertise to SportsBettingDime as our resident soccer guru, though his repertoire is by no means limited there.