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2022 MLS Golden Boot Odds

Paul Attfield

by Paul Attfield in Soccer

Feb 25, 2022 · 11:35 AM PST

Seattle Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz
Seattle Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz, left, fends off FC Montagua defender Marcelo Pereira during the first half of a CONCACAF Champions League soccer match Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
  • Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez favored to win his first MLS Golden Boot in 2022
  • Atlanta’s Josef Martinez and Los Angeles striker Cristian Arango also strong contenders
  • Read on for a look at all the odds for the MLS Golden Boot, a look at some contenders and a best bet

With 19 goals in 32 games, Valentin ‘Taty’ Castellanos clinched the 2021 MLS Golden Boot on a tie-breaker, beating DC United’s Ola Kamara 8-4 on assists. However, the New York City striker’s 0.62 goals per game was the lowest Golden Boot-winning goals-per-game average in 11 seasons.

Were it not for other players suffering injuries or coming into MLS in midseason, there is a good chance that Cristian Arango, Javier Hernandez, or Raul Ruidiaz – who all averaged more than 0.59 GPG – could have ended up with the trophy instead.

It’s never easy betting futures in soccer, but with the Golden Boot curse now hanging over Castellanos – no Golden Boot winner has ever repeated in MLS history – there are a bevvy of other pretenders ready to sit on his throne when the MLS season kicks off this weekend.

2022 MLS Golden Boot Odds

Player 2021 MLS Goals Odds
Javier Hernandez 17 +550
Josef Martinez 12 +600
Cristian Arango 14 +600
Ola Kamara 19 +800
Valentin Castellanos 19 +800
Carlos Vela 5 +1000
Raul Ruidiaz 17 +1000
Daniel Salloi 16 +1600
Adam Buksa 16 +1600
Hany Mukhtar 16 +1800
Gustavo Bou 15 +1800
Karol Swiderski N/A +2000
Damir Kreliach 16 +2000
Gonzalo Higuain 12 +2500
Patryk Klimala 8 +3500
Robert Beric 8 +3500
Brian White 12 +3500
Xherdan Shaqiri N/A +3500
Randall Leal 8 +4000
Felipe Mora 11 +4000

Odds as of February 25th at DraftKings

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Castellanos No Sure Thing

Even disregarding the fact that no player has repeated as the Golden Boot winner in MLS history, there is likely a bigger reason to steer clear of Castellanos and his +800 odds. The fact is, there is a good chance he won’t even be in MLS come season’s end.

The Argentinian striker has attracted a lot of attention for his goals, particularly the pivotal ones he scored in leading New York City to its first MLS Cup last fall. The math is simple – if he leaves when the summer transfer window opens, he won’t be taking home another Golden Boot this fall. An New York’s MLS Cup odds could greatly be affected.

Martinez a Maybe Man

There may have been no repeat winners in MLS history, but there have been plenty of examples of players winning the Golden Boot on multiple occasions. After missing all but one game of the 2020 season with an ACL tear, 2021 was very much a season of rehabilitation for the Venezuelan talisman, and he still managed 12 goals in 24 appearances.

After winning the Golden Boot in 2018 with a then-record 31 goals, and following that up with 27 in 2019, Martinez has a nose for the net, and with another off-season of strengthening his knee, should be ready to return to his high-scoring ways in 2022.

Arango’s Time to Shine

For the first three seasons of LAFC’s existence, Carlos Vela was very much the main man, picking up Golden Boots and MVP trophies. But midway through 2021, along came Cristian Arango, and the Colombian wasted little time imposing his will on both his new team and opposing defenders.

The former Millonarios striker scored 14 times in 17 appearances for his new team, and his 0.90 goals-per-90 rating was second in the league behind Kamara. Arango also garnered MLS Newcomer of the Year recognition for his efforts.

It remains to be seen what he can do for an encore in 2022, but with Vela healthy alongside him, and a better idea of the MLS style of play, as well as extra knowledge of the defenders he’s facing, getting into the conversation for the Golden Boot should be comfortably on his radar.

Ruidiaz Revving Up

Barring a late-season injury, the Seattle Sounders hitman could well have ended up with the Golden Boot last year, after averaging 0.71 goals per 90. The Peruvian striker ended up three goals short of taking home the title, but after scoring 50 goals in 79 appearances across four MLS seasons, he is as consistent as they come.

The addition of playmaker Albert Rusnak should help increase the number of chances that fall Ruidiaz’s way, and that’s on top of a plethora of attacking options for a Seattle team that is always in the championship conversation.

Chicharito Finds His Touch

After a fairly unproductive first year with the Galaxy, 2021 was really Hernandez’s time to blossom in MLS, and he did just that, scoring 17 times in 21 appearances for a 0.88 goals-per-90 average. With head coach Greg Vanney also settling into the Los Angeles Galaxy hot-seat after a playoff-less first year, and the team adding Brazilian playmaker Douglas Costa, the Galaxy look serious about getting back to the postseason at the very least.

Hernandez will be the one expected to provide the goals to get them there, and on the basis of an injury-hit 2021 season, he looks ready to do just that.

MLS Golden Boot Best Bet

If everything clicks as head coach Brian Schmetzer hopes it will in Seattle, Ruidiaz looks a smart bet at +1000 to earn his first Golden Boot. The Seattle attack will be channeled entirely through him as its spearhead, and with a fabulous supporting cast, both the Sounders and Ruidiaz will be hard to stop.

Raul Ruidiaz (+1000)

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