I’m not a huge fan of long term betting just as it takes ages to get your money. That said, betting on top goalscorer is one of the markets that does hold appeal as you can get some quite good value on each way bets (i.e. to finish in the top four). Last season saw the lowest figure required to win top goalscorer for ten years – Nicolas Anelka with just 19 goals.
I have a feeling we’ll be back to mid-twenties this season and the clear favourite with the bookies is Liverpool’s Fernando Torres. He’s around 5/2 on the high street and 9/2 on Betfair. I reckon it’s probably best to avoid this bet. Whilst I think he will very likely be top scorer, there’s always the risk of how many games he’ll actually play. It remains to be seen how Liverpool adjust their system without Alonso too. I’d be more tempted with an over/under bet on El Nino but I haven’t been able to find one as yet.
I’m going to avoid any Man Utd strikers or ones from Man City for that matter. It will be interesting to see how United cope without Ronaldo and I think it will be through sharing the load. If Owen, Rooney and Berbatov all get around 10-14 goals they’ll have done well. Robinho scored plenty for Man City last season but with all the new signings it’s again a question of goals being shared around. I (reluctantly) think Adebayor is a decent bet for outright scorer and both him and Robinho can be had at 22/1. Of the Chelsea players I would look beyond Drogba and Anelka and go for Frank Lampard at 28/1. With his new advanced position at the top of a diamond midfield he should score more scuffed pea rollers than ever.
Moving on, I maintain the focus should be on each way picks however. The odds get quartered but I don’t think it’s too hard to finish in the top four goalscorers. In the last five seasons the total required has been:
08/09 – 14 (Robinho/Torres)
07/08 – 19 (Santa Cruz)
06/07 – 14 (Rooney/Viduka)
05/06 – 16 (Keane/Lampard/Rooney)
04/05 – 13 (5 players)
As you can see these kind of totals are not beyond the majority of first choice strikers in the Premier League. The ones I think could do it this season are as follows:
Arshavin/Arsenal @ 28/1 – The Russian maestro scored six goals in twelve after arriving in January. This time round, with a full pre-season and Premier League experience under his belt I would back him to be Arsenal’s top scorer ahead of Van Persie and Eduardo.
Bent/Sunderland @ 50/1 – I think this is potentially a fantastic bet. I know Harry Redknapp obviously doesn’t rate him but I think he will thrive at Sunderland. Let’s not forget the man was Spurs’ top scorer last year despite starting just 11 league games.
Ebanks-Blake/Wolves @ up to 100/1 – This one is certainly worth a pound I’d say. While I reckon Wolves will be battling relegation for much of the season I’d say they should be scoring plenty of goals in the process. It’s their defence which will be their downfall not the attack. Ebanks-Blake has been Championship top scorer two seasons running, and whilst it’s an obvious step up to the Premier League, I think he has the attributes to spring a few surprises.