It’s not just the Premier League title that’s up for grabs this season. The Golden Boot offers an annual chance for the best strikers in the EPL to stake their claim as the top finisher in England, and this season’s lineup looks as competitive as ever.
Let's take a look at the top contenders with the British bookies and pick out the likely winner(s) from the pretenders...
The Favorite: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Best price: 10/3 (Coral, BetVictor)
A real no-frills finisher, Tottenham’s hitman may not be blessed with breakneck speed across the pitch, but he has the uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time when it matters.
Kane has developed from young prospect to line-leading talisman for Spurs, and won the Golden Boot in each of the last two seasons. Understandably, he's currently atop the list of contenders to top the charts again this season.
He’ll be there or thereabouts again this season, but I have a feeling he’ll be challenged by the next man on my list.
The Belgian Battering Ram: Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
Best price: 9/2 (Coral, Betfair)
The big Belgian is no stranger to Premier League fans, having developed into a serious attacking force during his time as a youngster at Chelsea, then more recently at Everton.
He was already one of the most feared center forwards in the league, but didn’t necessarily have the sort of service he needed to become one of Europe's very best.
Now he’s at Manchester United, and all that’s about to change. He’s my pick to finish at the top of the charts as he fires United much, much closer to the EPL title.
The Title Winner: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Best price: 7/1 (widely available)
Or, as he’s known over here, Sergio Agueroooooooooooo!
In stark contrast to the battering ram style of Lukaku, the Argentine hitman is a pint-sized fox-in-the-box with razor-sharp finishing abilities.
His ability to find space where there seemingly is none is what makes him a goal threat every time he steps onto the field. But despite his undoubted abilities in front of goal, injuries have regularly played their part in his career, and that makes him a somewhat risky bet.
Throw in the fact that City head into the season with an array of striking talent, and it could see the goals spread across a few strikers this season. That’s another reason to perhaps avoid backing Aguero for that Golden Boot prize.
The Boy From Brazil: Gabriel Jesus
Best price: 9/1 (Bet365, BetStars, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Coral)
City’s Brazilian starlet has been tipped by some to outscore Sergio Aguero this season, and that’s some statement.
The 20-year-old arrived in England last January with bags of talent and confidence to spare, scoring seven goals in 10 Premier League games last season.
He’ll get his share of goals, for sure, and in doing so may reduce Aguero’s own output. But I don’t think he’ll finish ahead of the likes of Kane and Lukaku.
Spanish Assassin: Alvaro Morata (Chelsea)
Best price: 11/1 (10Bet)
Chelsea’s latest striking arrival from Spain arrives with the shackles off and a point to prove.
After spending most of last year as a backup to Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, Morata is now certain to be handed a leading role in Chelsea’s attacking lineup, and I’m expecting him to deliver.
Usually a top scorer tends to come from a team that uses one striker as the focal point of the attack, and that could well be the case with Morata this season.
He isn’t the betting favorite, but he’s certainly worth a look.
New Gunner: Alexandre Lacazette
Best price: 12/1 (Bet365, Coral, Betway, 188Bet)
The French front man could prove to be a huge hit at Arsenal after his arrival from Lyon, where he hit an incredible 28 goals in 30 Ligue 1 games last season.
Some have compared him to another Arsenal striking great - Ian Wright - which is praise indeed. Moving from the French league to the Premier League is a step up, and he won’t get the same room as he was afforded in Ligue 1, but I fancy him to do well at the Emirates. Arsenal always create chances but don’t always have a natural finisher to put those chances away. Now they do.
I can see Lacazette being right up there in the goal-scoring charts, and at a healthy-looking 12/1 with a few bookies, he could be worth a punt. They often offer each-way betting with a quarter of the odds to finish in the top two or three, too, so if you can find a bookie who’ll give you 3/1 on Lacazette finishing in the top three, take it.
While I don't think they'll win the EPL this season, I'm expecting a big year from Manchester United as Jose Mourinho starts to put his stamp on the team at Old Trafford.
And because of that, I'm picking Lukaku to top the Premier League's scoring charts by the end of the season. He's a capable penalty box finisher, offers an aerial threat from crosses and set pieces and has the pace to be a danger in behind defenses.
In short, he's a threat whatever style of play United choose to use. He's also the clear No. 1 striker at Old Trafford and will become the focal point, with United using pace out wide and creativity from midfield to ensure the big Belgian has plenty of service.
I'd also consider an each-way bet on Arsenal's Lacazette. If he gets off the mark early and Arsenal hit their stride in the first month of the campaign, I can see him hitting in excess of 20 goals for the Gunners, and if he can do that he'll be right up there on the top scorers list.
[Photo Credit: © Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports]