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After spending the past two days analyzing the top four and relegation markets, today we shift gears to the most popular individual player market.
When the season was suspended, Leicester City's Jamie Vardy led the Premier League's golden boot race with 19 goals, ahead of Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (17). A laundry list of players in the 13-16 range are below them.
Oddsmakers have made Vardy a short favorite to claim his first Premier League Golden Boot.
|Jamie Vardy||Leicester City||+180||19|
|Sergio Aguero||Manchester City||+450||16|
|Marcus Rashford||Manchester United||+1600||14|
|Gabriel Jesus||Manchester City||+6600||10|
|Raheem Sterling||Manchester City||+6600||11|
|Anthony Martial||Manchester United||+10000||11|
|Teemu Pukki||Norwich City||+15000||11|
After scoring 17 goals in his first 18 games, Vardy cooled considerably, with just two in eight matches before the season suspension. He's an experienced striker, and the long layoff likely won't affect him much. But it would be lying to say age isn't a factor here. Vardy rarely misses time, but will the 33-year-old really be asked to play 180 minutes each week for the next six weeks?
Also, with eight points of breathing room between Leicester and Manchester United in fifth, it's very possible the Foxes wrap up a top-four finish well before the end of the campaign, allowing manager Brendan Rodgers to give his key players some rest. That would open the door for someone below Vardy to get hot and sprint to the top of the scoring chart.
That someone could very well be Aubameyang. The Arsenal striker has played almost every minute he's been eligible for this season. In 26 matches, he's been subbed off just once, and the only two matches Aubameyang missed came due to a red card suspension. He's no stranger to piling up minutes, regularly featuring both in midweek matches and on the weekend for the Gunners while balancing Europa League and Premier League responsibilities.
Arsenal benefit from the added bonus of enjoying a game in hand over most of the league. But they'll be fighting tooth and nail between now and the end of the season for a European place, which means there's no worry about them taking their foot off the gas. They also still face the league's three worst defenses.
Aubameyang is a consistent scorer, too, and not a streaky one who can be hard to predict. He's scored in 14 different Premier League matches this term and hasn't gone more than three straight without a goal. He offers excellent value at +350.
While Arsenal will spend the final six weeks fighting for positioning, the same isn't true of Liverpool and Manchester City. Both of those clubs will be locked into first and second place, respectively, and relatively quickly, with little to play for beyond that. It's likely we see them ease up.
That means plenty of squad rotation from managers Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, who can both choose from an embarrassment of riches in attack. With so many matches in such a short period, and these sides playing for little, the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, and Gabriel Jesus likely won't get enough minutes to warrant backing in this race.
Another name to refrain from backing is Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who will be returning from a nearly six-month layoff. At +1800, he's a sucker's bet, as there's no way he'll be thrust into full action and starting twice each week. It'll take him some time to return to match speed, and with Kane already eight goals back of Vardy, any money invested in him is better off being donated to a worthy cause.
If you're looking for a long shot to support, instead consider United forward Marcus Rashford, who scored 11 goals in 14 games before a back injury sidelined him in mid-January. He's been a full go in training and should be a fixture up top for the Red Devils over the remaining nine matches as they chase a Champions League place.
Rashford isn't the type of striker who piles up the stats against the weaker teams, either. He's scored against 10 different Premier League clubs this season, including each of the current top four. He'll also still get plenty of opportunities to compile goals down the stretch, as six of United's nine remaining matches are against clubs currently in the bottom half of the table.
Best bets: Aubameyang (+350), Rashford (+1600)
Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.