Premier League preview 2021/22: Vardy offers cracking each-way value in Golden Boot betting

Leicester man ‘scores goals and should do again’ says Andy Schooler as he casts his eyes over the Premier League top goalscorer betting.

There's much to like about Jamie Vardy at 25/1 in this season's Premier League Golden Boot market.

He wears the tag of 'proven Premier League goalscorer' well with his goal figures for the last six seasons (most recent first) being as follows: 15-23-18-20-13-24.

Those tallies have resulted in one Golden Boot win, plus two place finishes - that's a top-four finish for which the standard return is a quarter of the odds.

The Leicester striker has also finished fifth and seventh in the scorers' list in that time period.

The man scores goals and should do again - the Foxes are a very good side, as back-to-back fifth-placed finishes show, not to mention last season's FA Cup win.

Despite the signing of Patson Daka and the strong finish to last season of Kelechi Iheanacho, Vardy remains the main man in Brendan Rodgers' eyes - he's been virtually the first name on the team sheet for a long time at the King Power Stadium.

The arrival of Zambian Daka is no doubt a look to the future - Vardy is now 34 and won't go on forever - but don't be surprised if the new challenger only spurs on the England international.

Importantly, Vardy is on penalties. The top three in the scorers' list last season all took spot-kicks with Son Heung-min the first man on the chart who didn't. He finished with 17 goals.

Given the average total needed to win the Golden Boot over the past 10 years is 26.7 and that more penalties were awarded last season than ever before, having a penalty-taker onside looks pretty crucial.

Vardy took nine Premier League penalties last season, missing only one, and is very much the man in possession when it comes to spot-kick duty.

Critics will point out Vardy's slumps in the second half of the last two campaigns - in 2019/20 17 of his 23 goals came in the first half of the season, while in 2020/21, 11 of 15 came in the opening 19 matches.

However, for me that is more a reflection on the Foxes' tailing off as a team, rather than Vardy's form being responsible for it all.

Certainly last season injuries really mounted up in the second half of the campaign with key men such as Harvey Barnes and James Justin picking up season-ending injuries and James Maddison missing a significant amount of time.

Stronger supply lines should be available to Vardy when kick-off comes and thanks to the excellent recruitment since at the club in recent years, even the loss of Arsenal target Maddison would not be the body blow it otherwise might have been.

All things considered, an each-way bet on Vardy at 25s makes a lot of sense.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Dominic Calvert-Lewin also looks worth considering at a slightly bigger 28/1.

The Everton man really came to the Premier League party last season, finishing with 16 goals - one shy of a place in this market.

His finishing was particularly impressive, the England international scoring time and again with his first touch and showing a real predator's instinct.

Carlo Ancelotti famously compared him favourably to the great Filippo Inzaghi and while the Italian boss is now gone, his replacement looks set to utilise his star striker in a similar way.

Pre-season games suggest Rafael Benitez is going to take a more direct approach, getting the ball forward quickly to his forwards.

So far, the Spaniard has focused his recruitment on pacy wide men - something the club's fans have been crying out for in recent times.

They will be tasked with getting the ball into the box for their main man and if that plan comes to fruition regularly, then DCL should enjoy another good season.

It could easily get better if Calvert-Lewin is handed penalty duty by the new manager, something which seems fairly likely.

Gylfi Sigurdsson took Everton's last spot kick and, not for the first time in a blue shirt, missed it. He seems unlikely to be in the first XI.

When it comes to Calvert-Lewin, it's a fair comment to say 'but he's only playing for Everton', whose odds suggest they will finish just above mid-table.

However, playing for a less-fancied team hasn't been the problem it once was of late.

In only seven seasons of the Premier League era has the Golden Boot been won by a player representing a team which finished outside the top four. However, three of those seven have been the last three - the men in question being messrs Kane, Vardy and Aubameyang.

Everton disappointed in the closing weeks of last season but it should be remembered they were very much in contention for a top-four finish for the first 30 games so if Benitez can tweak things a bit, it's far from out of the question that the Toffees are once again at the right end of the table and if that's the case, Calvert-Lewin looks sure to play a big role.

Golden Boot long shot

I usually like to throw in a real long shot in this market and over the years I've often picked out a midfielder with the potential to claim a place at big odds.

However, the market this season is giving little away.

I considered Phil Foden at 100/1.

He's playing in a Manchester City team which scores goals for fun - a tally of 83 last season was their worst in four seasons but still excellent by virtually any other standard.

The England star netted eight times in his 17 Premier League starts but that shows the problem facing potential backers.

Stretch that scoring record out over a full season, say 34 games, and he's very much on course for a place - you've needed 18.7 on average for a top-four finish in this market over the last 10 years.

However, the chances of Foden starting 34 league games looks remote.

Last season he was regularly saved for Champions League nights and rested on weekends. Foden started 12 of 13 in Europe. If that's repeated, he's got little chance of landing the big-priced winner.

Foden really pushed on last season and is now very much established.

If someone is to follow a similar path this term, it could be Mason Greenwood a few miles across Manchester.

The 19-year-old looks to have all the tools to become a Premier League star and he finished last season superbly, scoring six times in his last eight league appearances.

A price of 66/1 back in May would have looked tempting but a few months on and Greenwood now has his route into the first XI seemingly blocked by Jadon Sancho.

I'm sure Greenwood will still get games but despite what happened with Donny van de Beek, I can't see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaving his marquee summer signing out of the early matches so I suspect Greenwood's chances of continuing the momentum built up at the end of 2020/21 are slim.

Some will still be prepared to take a risk on the large prices but with these sorts of bets you are really betting for a place finish.

How many of the places are going to up for grabs this time, though?

Even if Harry Kane doesn't get his move to Manchester City, it's hard to see him being outside the top four, while the same can be said of Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea.

Lukaku scored plenty of goals at Everton in the Premier League and has developed into one of the world's best centre forwards.

Of course, the transfer window being open until the end of August makes it very difficult for punters to know exactly how to approach things. But as it stands, I'll ditch the search for a long shot and instead focus on Vardy and Calvert-Lewin in this market.

Premier League top scorer stats and facts

Recent winners and goals (team played for and position they finished in brackets)

  • 20/21 - Harry Kane (Spurs, 7th) - 23
  • 19/20 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester, 5th) - 23
  • 18/19 - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal, 5th), Sadio Mane (Liverpool, 2nd) & Mo Salah (Liverpool, 2nd) - 22
  • 17/18 - Mo Salah (Liverpool, 2nd) - 32
  • 16/17 - Harry Kane (Spurs, 2nd) - 29
  • 15/16 - Harry Kane (Spurs, 3rd) - 25
  • 14/15 - Sergio Aguero (Man City, 2nd) - 26
  • 13/14 - Luis Suarez (Liverpool, 2nd) - 31
  • 12/13 - Robin van Persie (Man Utd, 1st) - 26
  • 11/12 - Robin van Persie (Arsenal, 3rd) - 30

  • Average number of goals scored by Golden Boot winner over last decade - 26.7

  • Average number of goals scored to finish 4th (and claim a place) in the top scorers' list over the last decade - 18.7

  • In the last 10 seasons, only once has the Golden Boot winner played for the champions.

  • In 29 Premier League seasons, there have been 36 Golden Boot winners (including joint winners), nine of whom have played for the champions.

  • Most goals scored by Golden Boot winner - 32 (Mo Salah 17/18)

  • Fewest goals scored by Golden Boot winner - 18 (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Dwight Yorke, Michael Owen 98/99, Michael Owen, Dion Dublin, Chris Sutton 97/98)

  • Most goals scored to finish 4th (and claim a place) in top scorers' list - 23 (Carlos Tevez 09/10, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Alan Shearer 01/02)

  • Fewest goals scored to finish 4th (and claim a place) in top scorers' list - 13 (Jermain Defoe, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Frank Lampard, Yakubu 04/05)

  • Above stats for 38-game seasons only

READ MORE: Jamie Vardy’s iconic moments for Leicester City and England