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Carlos Vela Now Even-Money to Win MLS Top Goalscorer Award

Carlos Vela of LAFC
Carlos Vela leads LAFC and MLS with 14 goals in 2019. Photo By @ImCalWashington (Twitter)
  • Carlos Vela leads MLS with 14 goals this season
  • Vela was 22-1 to win the Golden Boot prior to the season
  • Zlatan Ibrahimović is second in the scoring race with nine goals and odds of +200

LAFC have raced out to an early lead in the MLS standings and are the league’s top side with 31 points after 14 games played. The next closest team is Seattle with 26 points.

Much of that success can be attributed to the torrid scoring pace of captain Carlos Vela. Vela, much like his team, owns a five-point or goal in this case, lead over the next closest competitor.

With 14 goals compared to Zlatan Ibrahimović’s nine, Vela is now even-money to win the MLS Golden Boot Award as the league’s top goalscorer.

2019 MLS Top Goalscorer Odds

Player Goals Odds at Bovada
Carlos Vela 14 EVEN
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 9 +200
Diego Rossi 7 +2000
Josef Martinez 5 +2000
Kei Kamara 7 +2000
Luis Nani 7 +2000
Wayne Rooney 7 +2500
Mauro Manotas 6 +2500
Krisztian Nemeth 7 +2500
Jozy Altidore 5 +3300
Nemanja Nikolic 5 +3300

*Odds taken May 22, 2019. For a full list of players click the link in the table 

Vela and LAFC have looked near unstoppable this season with just one loss and a 9-1-4 record. They’ve scored nine more goals than the next closest team Philadelphia, who have 23. Prior to the season, I saw the potential for Vela as a good value bet when he was paying out odds of +2200. Those odds have now shortened all the way to +100.

The LAFC designated player has already reached his goal total from all of last season and doesn’t look to be slowing down.

Vela has scored in nearly every game this season having scored at least once in ten games. Three times he’s scored twice and once back on March 30 he scored a hat trick against San Jose in LAFC’s 5-0 win. He’s currently riding a three-match scoring streak.

But Vela isn’t just scoring, as he also shares the league-lead in assists at seven with Seattle’s Nicolás Lodeiro.

A look at a few more stats would give little reason to see his scoring pace slowing down. Vela leads the league in shots (79), shots on goal (31) and is the only player averaging over a goal scored per 90 minutes of play at 1.01.

Vela leads the league in shots (79), shots on goal (31) and is the only player averaging over a goal scored per 90 minutes of play at 1.01.

The other piece of good news for LAFC and Vela bettors is the fact that he seems fully committed to the team and MLS. Often criticized for sometimes being disinterested at various points in his career, Vela seems dialed in and to be truly enjoying his time in LA.

So much so, that he has turned down the opportunity to play for his native Mexico at this summer’s Gold Cup tournament. This is definitely a benefit to the scoring title race, as Vela won’t be missing any games during the summer.

Is Zlatan Worth a Bet at 2-1 Odds?

Last year’s second-leading scorer of 22 goals, was being offered at odds of +350 prior to the season. He currently once again sits in second place with nine goals scored. His top goalscorer goods have shortened, but only slightly, to +200.

Forecasting Ibra’s season-long goal totals can be tricky. On one hand his nine goals in just ten games puts him right behind Vela in goals per 90 at 0.90. His 50 shots taken are also second in the league.

And you can’t discount the fact that Zlatan will always be the man lining up at the spot for penalties. He is tied for both penalties taken and scored overall at four each.

On the other hand, there’s a reason he’s played four fewer matches than some of this competitors. He has missed time due to injury, and also for suspension due to his neck grab/chokehold slam of NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson.

Zlatan is always capable of going off for two or three in a game and will be the main focal point of LA’s offense all season.

But at odds of just +200 while being five goals back of Vela, considering he was +350 when all things were equal prior to the year, I just don’t see the value. Especially when you consider the 37-year-old likely won’t play every game this season.

So Where’s the Value?

That’s a real good question. It really is. Because right now, after Zlatan, Vela has a seven-goal advantage over the next five closest competitors. A bet against Vela means he’ll need a big slump or possibly an injury.

Of the five who have seven goals, perhaps you could look to Vela’s teammate Diego Rossi at odds of +2000. He has the second-most shots in the league with 48 and perhaps could step up if Vela were to cool off. However, as long as Vela is in the lineup, he’ll likely never take a penalty as he’s taken none so far.

Nani has made an instant impact in Orlando and with Dom Dwyer struggling he could be more heavily counted on. Though, I’m not sure I can trust Orlando to put up enough consistent offense for him to win.

Rooney should also be considered, but DC’s offense has struggled to perform at a consistent rate this year as well.

If Mauro Manotas remains in Houston this summer, he could be worth a flyer at +2500. Then there’s a player not listed in the top 10 chart above, Minnesota’s Darwin Quintero. The Loons’ designated player has five goals on the year and has taken and scored four penalties. He currenty has odds of +5000.

MLS Top Goalscorer Best Bet

With a five-goal lead, healthy, committed and playing on the league’s clear best team, I think Carlos Vela has to be the best bet. The days of seeing him at plus or even-money odds may soon be over.

Best Bet: Carlos Vela (+100)

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