Lionel Messi, Neymar Betting Favorites for World Cup Golden Boot

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Capturing the World Cup’s Golden Boot award for scoring the most goals in the tournament is not linked to being on the winning team, or even being a household name.

Three weeks before the tournament kicks off in Russia, Argentina’s Lionel Messi is a +850 favorite on the World Cup Golden Boot odds with Brazil’s Neymar a narrow second favorite at +900 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The award includes all games in the tournament, group and knockout, so it is not surprising that 18 of the 20 recipients of the award have played for a team that finished either first, second or third. Eleven of the 18 played on the third-place team, whose final game typically will have more scoring and less cautious play than the final.

Ronaldo (Brazil, 2002) is the only Golden Boot winner in the last nine World Cups who also played for the winning team.

That history might work against Messi, whose Argentina team is not being given much of a  chance to make a deep run. Neymar is also working his way back from a knee injury, raising concern about how much Brazil will turn him loose, particularly in the group games. Brazil teammate Roberto Firmino (+6600) of Liverpool fame could be worth a darkhorse pick on the Golden Boot betting lines.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (+1200) was second in goals scored at Euro 2016 and his country is likely to make it into the knockout round, although it has to contend with being in the same group as Spain.

The aforementioned “first, second or third” theory likely strikes wagering on England’s Harry Kane (+1600). Germany’s Timo Werner (+1600), whose team is the favorite on the odd to win the World Cup, has a much stronger likelihood of playing a full seven games. Germany typically also plays with only one striker, meaning service from the midfield won’t be split between two forwards.

France and Belgium are each being touted as strong possibilities to be semi-finalists, if not more. Antoine Griezmann (+1400) is the top Les Bleus player on the board, but young Kylian Mbappe (+3300) could have more breakout potential.

Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku (+2000) has the lowest odds of any Belgium player, but Dries Mertens (+3300) of Napoli in Italy’s Serie A is worth considering as a longshot due to his speed and skill as a winger.

Colombia’s James Rodriguez (+5000) is the reigning Golden Boot winner. No player has ever won twice.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal in spotlight on Premier League Matchweek 2 Betting Lines

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With both teams under new sideline leadership, it could be a good time to take a chance on Arsenal flipping the script against Chelsea.

Chelsea is a -130 favorite on the EPL Matchweek 2 betting lines with Arsenal coming back at +335 for Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw offers +285 on the three-way moneyline and the total is 3.0 goals. Chelsea is 5-0-1 in its last six EPL home games against Arsenal, but that trend took place under Arsene Wenger and the Gunners are now adapting to new manager Unai Emery.

Chelsea, which is also adapting to new manager Maurizio Sarri, won comfortably in its opener against lightweight Huddersfield Town, with Eden Hazard (+150 to score any time, +500 to score the first goal) showing great form. Laying chalk is defensible, but there is something to be said for being experimental in the early phase of the season.

Both newly promoted Cardiff City (+210) and Newcastle (+145, draw +205) could be anxious to avoid having nothing to show after two games, which could lead to a low-risk game. The host Bluebirds are -180 on the double chance as manager Neil Warnock attempts to get his first win against Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez, coming in 0-4-1 all-time.

Tottenham at -400 on the Premier League odds this weekend, hopeful that Harry Kane has played off some of the post-World Cup rust, could open the floodgates against Fulham (+1000, draw +475), which is still adjusting to the top flight. There is good value with Tottenham at minus-1.5 goals (-130) and over on the 3.0 total (-125).

Everton (-115) has some relief on the injury front since Richarlison (calf) might be good to go against Southampton (+350, draw +235). Everton also has six clean sheets in its last 13 home fixtures against the Saints, suggesting there’s value with the under on the 2.5 goals total (-145) and on Everton keeping a clean sheet (+125).

Burnley (+135) hosts Watford (+230, draw +200) in a Sunday matchup which will be just three days after the Clarets won an Europa League match. Burnley has three clean sheets in a row and has won or drew seven of its last eight matches against Watford, whose away record last season would make a skeptic of anyone. Whether playing in Europe for the first time in 52 years affects Burnley likely won’t come into play just yet.

Brighton (+425) beat Manchester United (-135, draw +245) in their home fixture last season, albeit for it only the second time in 19 tries. Brighton (+110 on the double chance) might have a nothing-to-lose attitude while heavily favored Manchester United works to rebuild cohesion as Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young re-integrate into the lineup.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Man City v. Arsenal Clash Highlights EPL Matchweek 1 Odds Slate

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Manchester City at even money is hard to pass on, since its recent form against Arsenal might offset the absence of stars trickling back into training after the World Cup last month.

Manchester City is a -110 away favorite with Arsenal getting +280 at home on the EPL Matchweek 1 odds on Sunday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw offers +275 on the three-way moneyline and the total is 3.5 goals. The defending champions are 5-2-0 (wins-draws-losses) in their last seven matches against Arsenal in all competitions, and every match had either three or four goals scored.

While Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are unlikely to get the start, Manchester City can still count on Fernandinho to keep its midfield together. Leroy Sane has also scored in three of his last six starts against Arsenal.

Arsenal, playing its first competitive game under manager Unai Emery, could have some element of surprise going for it in the form of new tactics built around playmaking midfielder Mesut Ozil. Arsenal believers might want to look at the percentage play of a win/draw double chance at -110. A draw with both teams scoring offers +325.

Manchester United (-190) hosts Leicester City (+600, +280 draw) in the lone Friday betting matchup. With big names such as Paul Pogba and Jamie Vardy on post-World Cup breathers, it could be a scrambly game with ample scoring chances at each end. The price on Manchester United to win with each team scoring and the total going over 2.5 is +150.

Newcastle United (+275) is a home underdog against Tottenham Hotspur (+100, +240 draw), which is waiting on the fitness of no fewer than six mainstays who have myriad aches and pains, including striker Harry Kane. Newcastle is worth taking on the double chance (win/draw) and the under on the 2.5 total offers -125.

Bournemouth (-120) shouldn’t have any reason to stay in low gear against newly promoted Cardiff City (+335, +250 draw), whose roster upgrades have mostly come from lower leagues. The Cherries are offering +250 to cover the minus-1.5 goals line.

Wolverhampton (+130) was aggressive in the transfer market after winning promotion from the championship, while Everton (+220, +220 draw) expects to push for the top six after its big summer of signing of Richarlison in the midfield. Each team should be capable of scoring in what could become a wide-open game.

And talk that Liverpool (-450) might challenge for the title has zapped their moneyline betting value against West Ham United (+1200, +525 draw) in a Sunday betting matchup. With Fabinho and Naby Keita shoring up their midfield, Liverpool should be more a cohesive team than last year’s offense-oriented, defensively-dodgy iteration and they’re offering +105 for a shutout win.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.