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two players to back in Golden Boot market

The 2022-23 Premier League season is only one week away, giving us another chance to dissect some futures markets.

Today’s subject — the Golden Boot award. Presented to the player(s) that lead the English top flight in goals, this award is perhaps the most popular to bet on from a players futures perspective.

The favorite to take this year’s crown in new Manchester City signing Erling Haaland (+225) while Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (+450) is second on the odds board. Other notables include Tottenham’s Harry Kane (+550) and Heung-Min Son (+1200) and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo (+1000).

Though the award is generally claimed by the top-tier, I’m choosing to look further down the board to attempt to find longshots with value. In general, bettors choosing to bet this market should look for players that both a) consistently start matches and b) are the penalty takers for their team.

With that in mind, here are my best bets for the 2022-23 EPL Golden Boot. All odds come courtesy of BetMGM and are reflective at time of writing.

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Best Bet No. 1: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) (+4000)

I’ll be honest — this is moreso a hunch on Bowen, but 40/1 is still way too high of a price.

Last season, Bowen led the Hammers in goals with 11, a number that was right on line with his underlying xG data (11.1). Nevertheless, the England international was involved with 22 total goals last season, which was almost 35 percent of West Ham’s season total.

With the retirement of Mark Noble, that opens up a penalty-taking slot for manager David Moyes. Although forward Michail Antonio is also a candidate to assume that role, I’m left questioning Antonio’s role in the squad following the summer signing of Gianluca Scamacca.

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Plus, since Bowen joined West Ham before the 2019-20 season, he has improved his underlying metrics with each subsequent season. For reference, the 2020-21 campaign saw Bowen create 0.22 non-penalty expected goals per 90 minutes. Last season, that figure rose to 0.34 xG/90 minutes, per fbref.com.

Assuming Bowen improves upon his xG/90 rate by the same percentage (approximately 54 percent), that will take him to about 0.53 xG/90 this season and — based on that rate — he would bag about 18.55 goals.

He will need a few penalties from there to have a chance at the Golden Boot, but I’m willing to take a shot at 40/1.

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal scores their team's first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on November 27, 2021.
Bukayo Saka
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Best Bet No. 2: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) (+8000)

Much like Bowen at West Ham, there’s an unknown at Arsenal with which player will take over penalty duties.

In their first full season without both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, Saka feels like a good candidate to take over from the spot. Plus, he did attempt two penalties for manager Mikel Arteta last season, scoring on both.

Though new signing Gabriel Jesus is also a candidate for the role, I expect Arteta to go with a more experienced Saka. Beyond that, though, there are reasons to back Saka at a lofty price.

Despite Arsenal arriving at this season absolutely loaded in attacking midfield, Saka featured regularly last season in Arteta’s Starting XI. Last season, he played in all 38 matches for the Gunners, starting in 36 of those matches.

He also led the team in total goals with 11 and goal involvements with 18. Plus, although it’s a relatively small sample to consider, Saka improved upon all of his expected goals, expected assists and xG+xA year-over-year. A season prior, he registered 0.24 xG/90 before notching 0.30 xG/90 last year, again per fbref.com.

He will need a much bigger leap to contend for this year’s Golden Boot — hence the sizable price with the England international — but I believe there’s decent value to be had with this price.

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