After the first seven games in Serie A, everything is proceeding as predicted as far as the table is concerned. Juventus have played eight and won eight, have a 13+ goal difference, and has already opened up a six-point gap over Napoli in second place.
However, what isn’t quite going according to the script is the leading goalscorer. Cristiano Ronaldo has long been the odds-on favourite with punters who like to bet on football sites, but at this early stage of the season, he is a little off the pace.
Instead, the surprise pacesetter is Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek, with the Poland international having found the net nine times already in what is being called the best Serie A debut in 70 years. Piatek’s statistics are unexpected to say the least — he has played 630 minutes thus far this season, meaning he has remarkably scored a goal every 70 minutes. During this opening phase of the season, Piatek has had 29 shots, 14 of which have been on target, which represents a fantastic strike rate.
Piatek wasn’t even being quoted in most pre-season betting markets, but his excellent all-round performances have certainly brought him into the reckoning. Bookmakers aren’t convinced that he can maintain this form for a whole season, but nevertheless you can now get 14/1 on the Pole ending Serie A as Capocannoniere.
However, Piatek isn’t the only one whose scoring this season has come as something of a surprise. Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne is second on the goalscoring chart, having scored six times in this campaign (with one assist), his best ever start to a Serie A season. Before the season began, you could have gotten odds as high as 50/1 on the 27-year-old Italy international finishing the year as top goalscorer, but these have been halved and you can now get 25/1.
It’s a similar story with the next three on the goalscoring table after eight games. Gregoire Defrel (Sampdoria – five goals), Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese – four goals) and Mario Mandzukic (Juventus – four goals) were not much fancied in the pre-season betting. Mandzukic was the only one figuring in the markets before the campaign began at 100/1, but he’s now priced at 33/1, along with Defrel. De Paul is now at 501 to end the season as the Serie A leading goalscorer.
But of course, no discussion of goalscoring in Serie A can be complete without Cristiano Ronaldo. Countless words have been written about the Portuguese’s move from Real Madrid to Juve during the summer, and after being the top goalscorer in La Liga three times (2010-11, 2013-14 and 2014-15) the expectation was that Ronaldo would take Serie A by storm. Before a ball was kicked, he was already odds-on favourite to be Capocannoniere at 8/11.
However, while his overall contributions to the team have been praised, Ronaldo has not thus far been as prolific in front of goal as most observers anticipated. In 720 minutes of playing time, he has scored four times, giving him a goal every 180 minutes. The much more ominous statistic, however, is that Ronaldo has had an astonishing 47 shots (almost twice as many as Piatek), with a League high 26 shots on target (56%).
With his clinical finishing skills, and as he settles in to the League and his new team, it’s hard to imagine that Ronaldo won’t justify his ongoing favourite status, and he is still odds-on at 18/25 to bag the most goals this season. This puts the Portuguese star a long way ahead of the next two in the betting, Lazio’s Ciro Immobile at 8/1 and Inter’s Mauro Icardi at 10/1. It would be a brave punter who bets against him.