After the irrepressible Lionel Messi reached another incredible milestone at the weekend, it’s time to take a look at one of the most popular La Liga betting markets each season. Barcelona’s little magician bagged his 400th goal in the Spanish top flight with his team’s second against Eibar, which also lifted him to 17 for the season.
The Pichichi trophy is awarded to La Liga’s top scorer every year, a coveted prize won by some of football’s biggest names. From Telmo Zarra to Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas, right through to Hugo Sanchez, Romario and both Cristiano and Luis Nazario de Lima Ronaldo, it’s a who’s who of the world’s greatest goalscorers.
Messi has won the trophy five times, which is one shy of legendary Athletic Bilbao goal machine Telmo Zarra. Although Messi is so much more than an out-and-out goalscorer, hitting the back of the net with metronomic regularly has of course been a staple of his career. While outwardly modest, there’s no doubt he has his eyes on this year’s Pichichi, to have the chance of taking another record all for himself next season.
Barca’s No 10 has certainly looked as though he’s gone about this campaign with that in mind, with those 17 strikes so far. He’s odds-on favourite at 1/8 to finish as La Liga’s top scorer, but there may still be some value in the market if you’re willing to bet against the Argentine maestro.
Luis Suarez is only three goals behind his Barca team mate in the scoring charts, yet you can back him at 7/1 to claim his second Pichichi after bagging the award with 40 goals in the 2015/16 campaign. If Barcelona are still in the hunt for another treble come the latter stages of the season, there’s every chance Ernesto Valverde will look to save Messi’s legs a little towards the end of the campaign.
More minutes on the pitch would bring Suarez back into contention for the Pichichi, and that price of 7/1 could start to look a steal. The same goes if Messi picks up an injury that rules him out for a month or two. He’s not particularly injury prone, but misfortune and mishaps can never be ruled out.
Cristhian Stuani is currently hot on the trail of Suarez, two further back from his fellow Uruguayan. Few Middlesbrough fans would believe he’s in the hunt for the Pichichi, but the 32-year-old has been in fine form for Girona this season and is 25/1 in the La Liga top scorer odds.
Next up is Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas, who trails Messi by seven goals heading into this weekend’s La Liga fixtures. He’s very unlikely to catch up, and his price of 66/1 looks like it’d be a waste of money.
The same probably goes for French World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann, who has nine goals to his name so far. He’s shorter in the odds than Aspas at 50/1, but it’s tough to look past Suarez if you’re after the best La Liga top scorer odds without Lionel Messi.