Theo Walcott has been the subject of much media attention in the last few weeks after contract negotiations stalled with Arsenal and suggestions were made that the England international wants his opportunity to play in a central striking role for the Gunners if he is to remain at the Emirates Stadium.
Bet365 have priced Walcott as an even money (2.0) shot to score nine or more Premier League goals this season, a potentially tempting price considering he already has one goal to his name. Under 8.5 goals is available at 8/11 (1.73).
If boss Arsene Wenger needed any convincing of Walcott's goalscoring potential, the former Southampton man made an emphatic statement against Coventry in the third round of the Capital One Cup, two well-taken second half goals in front of the Emirates Stadium crowd were a timely reminder of his ability.
Walcott will face stiff opposition for the central striker position vacated by Robin van Persie though, both Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski could make a claim to lead the line for the Gunners.
Podolski has hit the ground running in north London, netting two Premier League goals and one in the Champions League since his summer move from Koln. Giroud also opened his Arsenal account with a well-taken goal against the Sky Blues but his second-half penalty miss will not have helped his cause.
Despite competition for the places up front, there is also pressure on a starting berth on the wing for the 23-year-old, fellow Southampton academy graduate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being preferred in recent matches, relegating Walcott to three substitute appearances so far this season in the Premier League.
History suggests that shrewd punters would be better off backing the 8/11 (1.73) for under 8.5 goals, Walcott has only beaten this line once in his five seasons at Emirates Stadium, albeit for the majority of his time he has been occupying a wider position so is less likely to get as many goals as he would centrally.
If he is given the opportunity to prove himself up front, it could pay to back the Evens (2.0) available on nine or more league goals with Bet365.
With the fierce competition for places and uncertainty over the ongoing contract negotiations though, it's difficult to place a sizeable wager on this market.
Given Walcott's tally of 17 goals in the past two seasons for the Gunners, if Arsene Wenger does grant him his wish to play centrally more often, he is more than capable of reaching double figures and landing this bet, but the 8/11 (1.73) appeals more given the competition for places and ongoing contract negotiations.
Theo Walcott's Premier League Goals 2012-13 season (Currently on 1)
Over 8.5 goals - Evens (2.0) with Bet365
Under 8.5 goals - 8/11 with Bet365
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Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast
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