Had you bet on Luka Modric before the WC to win the Golden Ball, you would have gotten odds @ 50. The Protipster crew found something similar for this year...
Virgil van Dijk to win the Golden Ball @12.
Bear in mind, this is a long shot, but also a clear example of a good value bet. For this year there is no World Cup or European Championship on schedule, so the club results will be even more important and probably crucial. And Liverpool is, as we can all see, doing pretty well.
But first we need to eliminate those who stand no chance but are being considered at odds somewhere around 15-20: Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard, Mbappe Lottin, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero. CR7 has no chance what so ever after that crushing defeat against Ajax in the Champions League. Juve did win Serie A (something that was largely expected) and Portugal could go on and win the Nations League, but it just won’t be enough as Ronaldo’s promise was to brong the CL to Turin.
Chelsea may win the EL and come third in the BPL but it won’t be enough for Hazard, as Belgium failed to qualify for the final of the Nations League. PSG may win everything at home, but after another crushing exit from the CL, none of their players (both Neymar and Mbappe Lottin) stand a chance in this election, even if Neymar can lead Brazil to win Copa America.
Sterling can win the triple crown with City and Nations League playing for England but he is simply not the ‘face of the franchise’ to win the Golden Ball. At best, he’ll finish top five. And pretty much the same goes for Sergio Aguero, even if City wins it all and Argentina wins Copa America. Both of them are just not recognized enough as true stars of their teams.
So, there are just three candidates remaining: Lione Messi (a huge favourite @1.44), Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah.
If Barcelona wins the Triple Crown, it would probably be all over. But even if that happens, Liverpool can still win the BPL and Holland can win the Nations League. And if Argentina is to fail yet again at Copa, one can see another anti-Messi campaign stating he can win only for Barcelona. And Liverpool winning the BPL would be historical to say the least. And the visibility helps a lot. Additionaly, Barcelona is only a 60-40 favourite against Liverpool, and either of those teams would be huge favorites against either Tottenham or Ajax.
If Liverpool were to win BPL and/or the CL, Van Dijk would just have the edge over Salah. Liverpool is the best defensive team in the Europe and Van Dijk is just the face of their entire defensive strategy. He is also a keen goalscorer, so he has a chance of scoring perhaps a crucial set-piece goal until the end of this season. Salah is playing good, but one gets the feeling he is a level below his last season’s performances.
In any case, if Liverpool is to win either BPL or ECL and Holland gets at least to the final of the Nations League, Van Dijk has a good chance. Especially if Argentina is to fail at Copa America and nothing is suggesting they are playing any better this season. So, the value is there, especially considering Liverpool has a decent chance to win both the CL and the BPL.