World Cup Betting Special: Back Messi to lead the scoring for Argentina

Having watched him all season in La Liga, our Spanish expert Phil Kitromilides believes Lionel Messi will have little problem in finishing as Argentina's top scorer in Brazil
Lionel Messi only scored 41 goals for Barcelona last season. When you score a number like that during a campaign blighted by injury and it is considered by some as disappointing then you know you have some serious standards to live up to.

Yet this is a man who has won four Ballon d'Or awards and mesmerized the world with his scintillating wizardry, so big things are expected of him at all times regardless of the setting or situation, and that is no different at the World Cup.

Messi, who finished the La Liga season with 13 goals in the last 11 games, is the clear favourite to be top scorer in the tournament at 15/2 (8.50) with bet365.

Although that price could seem on the short side considering the amount of runners and unknown factors, it is hard to argue against with too much conviction that given Argentina's extremely favourable draw plus the fact that they are playing in a neighbouring country.

The Albiceleste have goals in abundance throughout the team and Messi will be at the heart of the side's attacking play.

Their opponents in Group F are Bosnia, Nigeria and Iran and while Argentina's opener against the Bosnians
could be slightly tricky the other two games should see them (and Messi) rack up plenty of goals.

Alejandro Sabella's side are such clear favourites that they are priced at just 4/11 (1.36) to achieve more than six points from their three group matches.

That price is a little short as is the price of 2/7 (1.29) for them to reach the quarter finals. bet365 also offer an industry best price of 5/4 (2.25) that Sabella's side go through the group stage with a perfect record of nine points from their three matches.

Finding some value in these type of markets can be tough, but the price of 11/8 (2.38) for Messi to be Argentina's top scorer seems to be a standout selection.

It is worth remembering that Messi not only takes free kicks but also penalties for the national side and the likes of Nigeria and Iran will no doubt employ some physical tactics in an attempt to neutralise Argentina's attacking flair.

Messi is a lethal finisher and remains the fulcrum of Argentina's offensive play. Backing him to be their top scorer offers punters a great chance of some profit.

bet365 are offering World Cup Penalty Payback on every bet in the outright winner market. The bookmaker will refund losing wagers if your selection is knocked out of the competition on a penalty shootout.

Lionel Messi to be Argentina's top scorer at 11/8 (2.38) for a 2.0pt stake with bet365

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