Betting for the World Cup tends to be dominated by markets for the outright winner and strikers expected to be crowned as leading goalscorer. The main contenders for topping the scoring charts are assessed below in addition to a few outsiders…

Leading GoalscorerFred and Neymar – Both Brazil In last summer’s Confederation Cup, they scored five and four goals respectively and with Brazil expected to progress to the later rounds of the World Cup, both players could net a few goals in a free scoring attack. In a team containing several players eager to play in an advanced role, the goals could also be spread amongst the squad.

Lionel Messi – Argentina In recent seasons, Messi has been the dominant goalscorer for Barcelona and has been described as the World’s best footballer. Argentina are well-fancied to win the tournament but possess other prolific strikers, including Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Ezequiel Lavezzi, who may share the goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal After another productive campaign at Real Madrid coupled with helping his nation to qualify for Brazil via the UEFA playoffs, Ronaldo is the principle attacking player for Portugal. However, there are suggestions that the remainder of the team are far too dependent on his ability and they face competition from a useful Ghana team to emerge from their group.

Luis Suarez – Uruguay Suarez finished the season as English Premier League leading scorer but has since been involved in an injury scare threatening his participation. He may not be fully fit, and Uruguay face strong competition from England and Italy to progress to the knock-out phase.

Thomas Muller – Germany Muller is not recognised as a genuine striker but contributes his fair share of goals for both club Bayern Munich and country, netting 13 times in the Bundesliga last season. With Germany tipped to comfortably win all three group games and to progress to the later rounds, as a consistent goalscorer, Muller could be an outside bet to score most goals in the tournament.

Diego Costa – Spain After a prolific season with La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, Costa has hampered by injury problems lately but may have recovered by Spain’s opening match against Netherlands. However, the Spanish team have failed to score more than two goals in each of their previous 12 internationals despite producing results.

Robin van Persie – Netherlands After an injury ravaged season, van Persie may be fresher than most players but the Dutch squad have not been the most prolific of teams in recent games. Yet should Louis van Gaal galvanise the team, Netherlands could progress to the later rounds and van Persie could be among the leading scorers.

Mario Balotelli – Italy The temperamental Italian possesses the ability to be leading scorer especially with Italy expected to qualify for the quarter-finals as a minimum. However, despite his striking abilities, avoiding suspension will be considered an achievement for the Milan attacker.

Other Contenders

Josip Drmic – Switzerland. He scored 17 goals for Nuremberg in their relegation from Bundesliga and Switzerland could cause a surprise.

Edin Dzeko – Bosnia-Herzegovina In their first ever World Cup finals, Bosnia could qualify alongside Argentina and Dzeko produced some decent form in the latter stages of Manchester City’s Premier League title victory.

Wilfried Bony – Ivory Coast He led the Erevidisie goal charts in 2012-13 and achieved a creditable second half of the season with Swansea in the Premier League. Ivory Coast could be one of the better African teams.

Romelu Lukaku – Belgium Although he has been troubled by a very recent ankle injury, Lukaku has experienced a fairly prolific season at Everton and Belgium are outside bets to progress to the later stages of the tournament.