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MLS Top Goal Scorer: Golden Boot 2024 - Odds, Prediction, and Best Picks

Written by: Nikhil Kalro
Fact-checked by: James Whitelock
Updated March 8, 2024
8 min read

The new season of the Major League Soccer (MLS) is underway, and the race for playoff qualification is expected to be intense. While the clubs fight for a ticket to the knockouts, a few players will gear up to become top contenders for the Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the season.

After scoring 20 goals in 31 appearances during the regular season, Denis Bouanga clinched the MLS 2023 Golden Boot. The Los Angeles FC added five more to his tally during the playoffs, but the knockout stage goals do not count in the Golden Boot race. The winner of the individual award is decided before the playoff season begins.

FC Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta and Atlanta United’s Giorgos Giakoumakis were tied for second place, with both players scoring 17 goals. The former was eventually named the MVP of the MLS 2023 campaign after he ended the campaign with 31 goals. The Argentine scored 19 goals and provided 12 assists in 36 games.

Juan Hernandez was influential in Columbus Crew’s title-winning run last year. At the end of the regular season, the Colombian had a goal tally of 16. He scored five more goals during the playoffs, including the opener against Los Angeles FC in the final. This season, Hernandez is off to a great start again, as he has scored two goals in two games.

MLS Top Goal Scorer 2024 - Odds

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Lionel Messi+250
Luis Suarez+600
Christian Benteke+800
Giorgos Giakoumakis+1000
Hany Mukhtar+1000
Denis Bouanga+1400
Juan Hernandez+1400
Aaron Boupendza+1600
Luciano Acosta+2000
Cristian Arango+2000

Lionel Messi will be the top competitor for the Golden Boot in any league that he plays in. Hence, the bookmakers have backed him as the firm favorite to win the award. His former Barcelona and current Inter Miami teammate, Luis Suarez, is ranked second, with DC United’s Christian Benteke completing the top three.

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Mls Top Goal Scorer

MLS 2024 Golden Boot Winner – Analysis

Benteke started the season in style and launched himself at the top of the goalscoring chart with a stunning hat-trick against New England Revolution in DC United’s opening game of the new season. Two headers and a right-footed shot from close range handed DC United a vital win over a club that was quite strong during last season.

While Benteke has scored three goals in just one game, Messi has matched his tally in three games. The Argentine is in fiery form, having scored four goals and nabbed one assist in his last four appearances for Inter Miami across all competitions. Now playing with three of his former Barcelona teammates, the 36-year-old is expected to finish with a high goal tally.

One of his teammates, Luis Suarez, has made an exceptional start to his MLS voyage. The Uruguayan has scored two and assisted three in his last three league appearances. Experts were skeptical about his form before the season, considering his age, but the 37-year-old has delivered what was promised and will certainly be a Golden Boot contender this season.

Behind the top three contenders is Giakoumakis. The Greek striker scored 19 goals in 30 games last season but has started the new campaign by firing a blank against defending champions Columbus Crew. If the 29-year-old fails to find form in the next match, he will drop down in the outrights table.

Hany Mukhtar won the Golden Boot at the end of the regular MLS 2022 season. Last season, his goalscoring statistics dipped towards the end of the campaign, and the Nashville SC striker finished fifth with a goal tally of 15. The winger is out with a hip injury, and his club is missing his attacking presence as they have drawn both games this season.

Bouanga is ranked surprisingly low in the outrights table, but that could be because no player in history has ever won the MLS Golden Boot in two consecutive seasons. The Gabonian has played two games but is yet to get off the mark. He came close to breaking his duck in the 3-0 loss against Real Salt Lake but only found the woodwork with his attempt.

We can expect Hernandez to climb further up the outrights table and the goalscoring charts because the Columbus Crew striker has started the new season exactly the way he ended the last campaign. He has already bagged two goals in two appearances, and the club will expect plenty more goals from the 24-year-old Colombian.

Aaron Boupendza is a surprise inclusion in this list. However, that could be because of his effective performance during a short spell for FC Cincinnati last season. The Gabonian scored five goals in 14 appearances for the club, and this season, he got off the mark when he got his first league start against Chicago Fire FC.

Last season’s MVP, Luciano Acosta, has yet to get off the mark after firing blanks in the first two games of the new season. He has registered one assist, and the 29-year-old will focus more on creativity than goalscoring this year. That is what he did last season as well, but ended up getting a decent number of goals that almost won him the Golden Boot.

Cristian Arango is off to a great start and if he can maintain the momentum, the Colombian will be a genuine contender for the Golden Boot. In three league appearances, the 28-year-old has scored two and assisted one. His goals came against last season’s Western Conference league leaders, St. Louis City, and playoff finalists Los Angeles FC.

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MLS 2024 Golden Boot Winner – Prediction

Predicting the winner at this stage of the competition is tough, but some signs cannot be ignored. Messi is in top form and is hungry for goals. The Argentine is not thinking of slowing things down. However, it will not be a one-horse race for the Golden Boot.

Expect major competition from players like Benteke, Hernandez and Arango. Only one of these players is in the top three, but that could change. However, the overall strength of Inter Miami will help Messi secure the Golden Boot award, with Hernandez finishing very close to him in second place.

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Nikhil Kalro

681 Articles

With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]

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