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World Cup Top Goalscorer odds: Kylian Mbappe favourite ahead of knockouts

With the knockout stages of the World Cup in Qatar looming, we take a look at the main candidates vying to finish as the competition's top goalscorer.

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Kylian Mbappe

Current odds - 3/1

The poster boy of French football, Kylian Mbappe is the strong favourite to finish as the World Cup's top goalscorer after finding the net three times during the group stages.

This tally sees the PSG forward sat joint-top in the top goalscorer standings ahead of the knockout rounds getting underway, with a favourable last 16 fixture in store for Les Bleus against a Poland side who only qualified for the Round of 16 through the skin of their teeth.

Mbappe has looked sharp from the minute go for France in Qatar, notching his first goal at this winter's finals with a smart header against Australia before hitting a devastating double against Denmark to send his country through as Group D winners.

His goalscoring form appears sustainable, too, with Mbappe's xG of 2.316 the third highest at the tournament so far, behind only Lionel Messi of Argentina and Enner Valencia of Ecuador.

Lionel Messi

Current odds - 8/1

Second in the betting reckoning to finish as the top goalscorer in Qatar is the great Lionel Messi, with the legendary Argentine figure on two goals so far in the competition after La Albiceleste were able to safely pass through as Group C winners following a shocking opening match defeat to Saudi Arabia.

Registering his first goal from the penalty spot in the aforementioned defeat to Saudi Arabia, Messi's breath-taking second which put his country in front against Mexico in their second group match represents one of the standout moments of the tournament so far.

With Argentina set to meet the unfancied Australia in the Round of 16, Messi may view this matchup as an opportunity to bolster his goals count even further. 

Messi's xG of 2.406 is the second highest in the tournament so far behind Ecuador's Enner Valencia, which suggests more goals could be just around the corner for Argentina's talisman.

Penalties could also be a key factor in Messi's pursuit of the Golden Boot, despite the PSG man missing from the spot in his last outing against Poland.


Current odds - 10/1

Richarlison is fancied as Brazil's most likely recipient of the Golden Boot in Qatar, having registered two goals so far in the competition.

Notching both of his goals in the South Americans' 2-0 win in their group opener against Serbia - the first of which a real poacher's goal in the box and the second a worldie of a bicycle kick - Richarlison has proven to have a real knack of finding the net for his country.

With nine goals in his last eight appearances for Brazil, Richarlison will be confident of adding to his account in Qatar with Tite's side regarded as 23/10 favourites to win the tournament outright.

The fact Richarlison has outperformed his xG of 1.1 at the tournament so far also demonstrates his ability to score different types of goals and take difficult chances. 

Alvaro Morata

Current odds - 11/1

One of five players currently tied on three goals at the top of the golden boot standings, Alvaro Morata has enjoyed a strong start to his World Cup campaign for Spain.

Having perennially struggled in front of goal at club level, Morata can be acknowledged to have found his best form in the classic red shirt of his country, with Spain boss Luis Enrique having placed a lot of faith in the striker.

Morata offers this Spain side a different dimension in attack, with his athleticism and aerial ability at the top end of the pitch complementing the dazzling technical prowess in midfield rather nicely.

With Spain's attack widely regarded as the team's primary weakness, a lot of responsibility is likely to fall on the shoulder of Morata as Luis Enrique's charges gear up for the knockout rounds.

The Atletico Madrid striker is impressively the second most overperforming player in front of goal with regards to xG at the World Cup so far, scoring three times with an xG of just 1.452.

Cody Gakpo

Current odds - 14/1

Another player currently on three goals at the World Cup is the Netherlands' Cody Gakpo, with the PSV forward emerging as one of the tournament's breakout stars during the group stages.

Gakpo has notched in each of his three appearances at the tournament, impressively finding the net with his head, left foot and right foot so far.

Given significant attacking responsibility in Louis van Gaal's system in which an out-and-out number nine is rarely utilised, Gakpo is a dynamic and direct player capable of stretching opposition defences.

Gakpo is also the most overperforming player in terms of xG at this winter's World Cup, with his goals tally of three dwarfing his xG of just 0.534. This can be interpreted in one of two ways - as evidence of Gakpo's capacity to find the net from any angle, or rather the unsustainability of his rich goalscoring form in Qatar.

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Marcus Rashford

Current odds - 14/1

England's Marcus Rashford has emerged as a shock candidate to finish as the World Cup's top goalscorer after a blistering brace against Wales in the Three Lions' final group match took his tournament total to three.

Rashford appears to have rediscovered his best form after being out of sorts for both club and country for a sustained period, with the Manchester United forward now in strong contention for a starting berth for Gareth Southgate's men after scoring from the bench against both Iran and Wales.

Even more impressive is Rashford's demonstrated ability to outperform his xG, as the World Cup's statistically third most overperforming player in front of goal with an xG of just 1.479.

With England captain Harry Kane yet to find the net at this tournament so far, the goalscoring mantle may just have fallen to Rashford as the Three Lions go in search of their first World Cup title since 1966.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Current odds - 28/1

In a career characterised by goalscoring accolades, Cristiano Ronaldo will have his eye on another one as the World Cup's top scorer in Qatar as Portugal prepare for the knockout rounds of the tournament.

Ronaldo has one goal in the competition so far, dispatching a controversial penalty in Portugal's thrilling 3-2 win over Ghana in their first group match. A second tournament goal was then taken off him in his country's subsequent victory over Uruguay, having been adjudged to have made no contact with a Bruno Fernandes effort on its way to the back of the net.

Although Ronaldo clearly has work to do to claw his way back up the top goalscorer rankings, his xG of 1.325 suggests he has actually underperformed in front of goal so far and thus has scope for further improvement during the knockout stages.

Ferran Torres

Current odds - 33/1

The second Spanish candidate on this list alongside Alvaro Morata, Barcelona's Ferran Torres has looked sharp in attack for Spain so far at this winter's World Cup.

Hitting two goals in Spain's 7-0 hammering of Costa Rica in their opening game, Torres' typical deployment in a front three for his country makes him one of Luis Enrique's side's primary goal threats.

A versatile player capable of scoring different kinds of goals, Torres' xG of 1.218 ranks him in 22nd place amongst all players in the tournament.

Bruno Fernandes

Current odds - 33/1

As perhaps Portugal's standout player in Qatar so far, Bruno Fernandes has put himself in contention to finish as the World Cup's top goalscorer after notching a brace in his country's 2-0 win over Uruguay.

The first of which proved a subject of debate across the football world, with Portugal's captain Cristiano Ronaldo originally awarded the goal after seemingly glancing an attempted Fernandes cross into the net, before the goal was later officially awarded to Fernandes. 

The Manchester United midfielder's second could have also been Ronaldo's on another day, after dispatching of a penalty after the veteran football icon had already been substituted.

With Portugal looking strong and tipped to go deep into the tournament, Fernandes certainly looks to have an outside chance of putting himself in the top goalscorer mix. 

Olivier Giroud

Current odds - 33/1

After Karim Benzema was forced to withdraw from the France squad on the eve of the tournament through injury, Olivier Giroud has retained his status as his country's number one centre-forward.

Bagging a brace in France's 4-1 win over Australia in their opening match, Giroud was able to draw level with Thierry Henry in the all-time goalscorer standings for Les Bleus.

With France safely through to the Round of 16 to face a Poland side who largely failed to impress in the group stages, Giroud will certainly be confident of reaching this famous milestone in Qatar.

Offering a trusted foil for France's golden boy Kylian Mbappe to wreak havoc up front, Giroud will have an important role to play should Didier Deschamps' men go on to retain their World Cup title.

Giroud's xG in Qatar of 1.847, the sixth highest in the whole tournament, certainly suggests he is putting himself in the right areas to score goals.

Bukayo Saka

Current odds - 40/1

The star of England's opening match 6-2 demolition of Iran with two goals, Bukayo Saka has developed into a vital player for his country despite his tender age.

A popular pick for England manager Gareth Southgate, Saka provides a real goalscoring threat for the Three Lions when cutting in from the right-hand side onto his preferred left foot.

However, with an xG of 0.542, ranked 65th in the whole tournament, it's fair to say Saka remains an outsider when it comes to the Golden Boot reckoning in Qatar.

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