The rivalry between the two superstars has long been fascinating football fans. Ronaldo has also admitted that it motivates them. Their competitive spirit will be tested on many levels at the 2018 World Cup. One of the most important of these levels is the questions of goals. Should you bet on Ronaldo to score more goals than Messi or the other way around?
Online betting sites in Russia consider Ronaldo to have significantly lower chances of surpassing Messi’s goal output. VBet Sportsbook, for instance, is offering 1.40 for the Argentinian playmaker and 2.70 for the Portuguese team captain. What could be behind the bookies’ preference and do the statistics predict the same outcome?
Both teams in difficult groups
Neither player has much time to gain momentum at the World Cup, as the first few matches will already be challenging for both of them. Group B (where Portugal will be facing Spain, Morocco and Iran) and Group D (where Argentina will go against Croatia, Nigeria and Iceland) have been described as the toughest, most competitive groups in the tournament.
Online sportsbook sites in Russia are estimating Argentina’s chances at winning the World Cup to be better (10.00) than Portugal’s (26.00). This has undoubtedly had a major role in the returns they are offering on the Messi vs Ronaldo rivalry: if Messi plays more matches than his rival due to an early exit by Portugal, he will obviously have a golden opportunity to outdo the Portuguese star’s records. However, will Argentina truly have an easier route to the finals in Russia?
If Portugal finish second in their group, they could easily meet Uruguay in the second stage of the tournament, while Argentina may have to defeat Spain to get past the round of 16. The Spanish squad actually takes the third place on the list of the bookies’ favorites to win the World Cup (7.00), so Argentina will arguably have a more formidable opponent in their first knockout match. Consequently, their getting further than Portugal is far from guaranteed.
Portugal is one of those underdogs at the tournament that can create an upset. Considering who their potential opponents could be in the knockout stage, the bookies’ preference for Argentina over Portugal should not discourage you from betting on Ronaldo to score more goals than Messi. In fact, you might want to trust the stats instead of online sportsbooks in Russia.
The statistics indicate that you should bet on Ronaldo to score more goals than Messi
As goal.com points out, Ronaldo has had a better ratio of goals per match this season. While CR7 netted 42 goals in 41 matches, Messi needed 51 matches to score 43 times.
The numbers are also in Ronaldo’s favor if we focus on his appearances with the national team. During the qualification campaign for the World Cup, Ronaldo scored 15 goals in 9 matches compared to Messi’s 7 in 10 matches.
Out of the three past World Cups they participated in, Ronaldo’s goal output equalled that of Messi in 2006 (they both scored one), exceeded it in 2010 (CR7 one, Messi zero), and came short in 2014 (CR7 one, Messi four). Despite Messi’s dominance at the previous World Cup, the statistics above indicate that it is Ronaldo who is more efficient this season, at least when it comes to goals.
This year’s World Cup will likely see the Portuguese striker surprising the bookies and outperforming his rival once again. So why not take advantage of the favorable 2.70 odds offered by Vbet Sportsbook and bet on Ronaldo to score more goals than Messi?