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MLS Golden Boot Odds and Contender Analysis – October 2021 Update

| October 4, 2021 12:07 pm PDT

As we approach the business end of the 2021 Major League Soccer season, the race for the Golden Boot is heating up.

DC United’s Ola Kamara (17 goals) currently leads the way, with Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz (16 goals) and Sporting KC’s Daniel Salloi (15 goals) hot on his heels.

Below the top three, five players are locked on 13 goals, while the Galaxy’s Javier Hernandez and Real Salt Lakes’ Damir Kreilach have 12 goals apiece.

With the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs set to kick off next month, you can still find plenty of value in the bookies’ latest odds for the 2021 MLS Golden Boot.

Below, I discuss the MLS Golden Boot odds, take a look at the current goalscoring charts, and carry out analysis of all the leading contenders.

Latest MLS Golden Boot Odds (2021)

As it stands, all the leading online sportsbooks view Ola Kamara (3.00) as the favorite to win the MLS Golden Boot in 2021.

Raul Ruidiaz (4.50) is seen as Kamara’s main rival, while Daniel Salloi (6.50) and Valentin Castellanos (6.50) are also expected to challenge for the award.

Gustavo Bou (9.00) and Javier Hernandez (9.00) have the same price, with Ricardo Pepi (11.00) and Hany Mukhtar (12.00) rounding out the top eight.

The MLS Golden Boot odds then take a significant jump to the rest of the cashing pack.

Current Top Goalscorer Standings in MLS

Before we analyze the 2021 MLS Golden Boot betting favorites, let’s take a look at the current goalscoring charts.

As you can see, there are just two goals between the top three scorers. The other seven players in the top ten are separated by only a single goal.

CURRENT 2021 MLS GOLDEN BOOT LEADERBOARD
Player Team Games Goals
Ola Kamara DC United 21 17
Raul Ruidiaz Seattle Sounders 25 16
Daniel Salloi Sporting KC 25 15
Gustavo Bou New England 25 13
Adam Buksa New England 27 13
Valentin Castellanos New York City 25 13
Hany Mukhtar Nashville SC 25 13
Ricardo Pepi FC Dallas 26 13
Javier Hernandez LA Galaxy 15 12
Damir Kreilach Real Salt Lake 26 12

Although Kamara currently finds himself atop the leaderboard, the majority of teams still have to play seven or eight regular-season games before the playoffs get underway.

So much can change between now and the end of the campaign, meaning even guys such as Hernandez and Kreilach could overtake the likes of Kamara, Ruidiaz, and Salloi if they string a scoring streak together.

It’s time to take a closer look at the frontrunners.

Ola Kamara is in Pole Position

It’s safe to say that Kamara made a slow start to the 2021 MLS season.

After missing DC’s opening three matches through injury, the Norwegian striker only managed to score one goal in his first four outings this year.

Yet, when he netted three goals across back-to-back games against Inter Miami in June, he kick-started a remarkable scoring streak.

Having hit the target against Minnesota in midweek, Kamara has now scored 16 goals in his past 17 appearances. As a result, he boasts the best goals-per-game ratio in the top three.

GOALS-PER-GAME RATIOS
Player Games Goals Goals Per Games
Ola Kamara 21 17 0.81
Raul Ruidiaz 25 16 0.64
Daniel Salloi 25 15 0.60

When it comes to betting on the MLS Golden Boot winner in 2021, Kamara’s superior goals-per-game ratio is definitely worth considering, as it indicates he can score goals at a rapid rate.

With DC sitting pretty in third place in the Eastern Conference, the former Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy star is arguably playing the best soccer of his career right now.

If he continues at his current rate, nobody will be able to catch him.

Never Write Off Raul Ruidiaz

Unlike Kamara, Ruidiaz made a flying start to the season – netting five goals across his first four appearances. And by his fifteenth outing of the campaign, he had 11 goals to his name.

The Peruvian marksman was enduring something of a scoring drought in the lead-up to Seattle’s clash with San Jose last time out. But in true Ruidiaz style, he netted a double to keep himself in contention for the Golden Boot.

The 31-year-old has been nothing short of immense since joining the Sounders in 2018, scoring 60 goals in 94 matches across all competitions.

Although Ruidiaz has reached double figures for goals in each of the previous three Major League Soccer campaigns, he is currently enjoying his most prolific season to date.

If he carries on scoring goals like the one below, he – and the Sounders – will almost certainly enjoy more success in the coming months.

Daniel Salloi is on Fire Right Now

What are they feeding Salloi in Kansas City? Whatever it is, I want some!

Across his first four MLS campaigns with the Wizards, the Hungarian only managed to score 15 goals in 84 regular-season appearances. Nothing special, right?

This year alone, he has netted 15 goals in 25 games!

  • First 84 regular-season games for SKC – 15 goals
  • Last 25 regular-season games for SKC – 15 goals

Salloi has transformed into a goal machine in 2021, finding the back of the net on a consistent basis throughout the season. He also has six assists to his name this year, underlining his importance to his team.

Having bagged a brace in SKC’s 3-1 victory on FC Dallas in midweek, the 25-year-old remains within touching distance of Kamara and Ruidiaz.

As the Wizards prepare to fly into the playoffs, Salloi is only going to score more goals.

Could an Outsider Scoop the Prize?

Although there are three clear frontrunners for the 2021 MLS Golden Boot, there are plenty of outsiders that could finish as the league’s top scorer come December.

Let’s take a closer look at the potential MLS Golden Boot sleepers this year.

Bou and Buksa Mean Business in New England

In Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa, the Revs boast not one, but two prolific goalscorers. That probably explains why they find themselves 19 points clear atop the East.

Bou started the season slowly, scoring one goal in his first five matches. Since then, however, he has netted 12 goals in his previous 20 outings.

BOU AND BUKSA (2021 MLS SEASON)
Player Games Goals Minutes Goals Per Games
Gustavo Bou 25 13 1,947 0.52
Adam Buksa 27 13 1,817 0.48

Buksa, on the other hand, has scored sporadically throughout the campaign. He could be peaking at just the right time, though, having hit the target in each of his last three games.

New England already has the Supporters’ Shield wrapped up and looks set to dominate the playoffs, too. Bou and Buksa are destined to score more goals before the season ends.

Castellanos Has Rediscovered His Scoring Touch

When Valentin Castellanos kicked off the campaign by scoring in each of his first four appearances, he immediately put himself in the Golden Boot conversation.

However, a subsequent nine-game goal drought saw numerous players overtake the Argentine in the scoring charts.

Castellanos finally found the back of the net again in June, scoring in back-to-back games against Orlando and Columbus. And since then, he hasn’t stopped scoring.

The New York City forward has netted nine goals in his last 12 outings, dragging himself back into Golden Boot contention.

What About the Best of the Rest?

Unfortunately for Ricardo Pepi, he is playing in a struggling team. Although the 18-year-old has exceeded all expectations for Dallas this year, I can’t see him overtaking Kamara.

Damir Kreilach has also enjoyed a stellar campaign on a personal level, but the Real Salt Lake midfielder isn’t likely to significantly enhance his current tally of 12 goals between now and the end of the season.

Keep an eye out for Hany Mukhtar. The Nashville forward has bagged five goals across his past five appearances and also notched the fastest hat-trick in MLS history earlier in the year, proving he can score goals at a frightening rate.

I also recommend monitoring Javier Hernandez. Despite missing a whopping 12 games through injury, the LA Galaxy star still has 12 goals under his belt.

The Mexican netted ten in ten before his injury and has since scored two in five following his return. Boasting a goals-per-game ratio of 0.80 – better than both Ruidiaz and Salloi – Chicharito could mount a late charge for the Golden Boot.

Who Will Win the 2021 MLS Golden Boot?

At this stage, it is difficult to look past Kamara when it comes to betting on the MLS Golden Boot in 2021.

Not only does the DC striker sit one goal ahead of Ruidiaz at the top of the current leaderboard, but he has also scored 16 of his 17 goals across his previous 17 outings.

By contrast, Ruidiaz has scored ten goals in that time, while Salloi has scored 12. This suggests that Kamara is on course to clinch the Golden Boot.

It is worth noting, however, that a lot can change between now and the end of the season. With guys like Bou, Buksa, Castellanos, Mukhtar, and Hernandez continuing to score goals, the Golden Boot race is far from over.

Right now, backing one – or more than one – of Kamara, Ruidiaz, and Salloi is a safe Golden Boot bet. But if you’re looking to make a big profit, the sleepers I detailed above are all good options.

Check out our Major League Soccer betting guide for more useful information.

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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