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The start of the new season is now so close you’d have to swerve to maintain your social distance if you met in the street.
Time then for our first bet with Football Index (FI) on a match day.
A quick reminder that FI is, basically, a stockmarket for footballers, with people using real money to bet and trade shares in stars and the value of those shares then going up or down based on market forces.
Players can also win with their share owners through a series of dividends, which are individual pay-outs based on match day performances, positive coverage in the media and consistent excellence across each month of action.
I’ll be playing FI as a complete newcomer to see if my picks and punts – some of them influenced by Fantasy Premier League (FPL) factors – can help me profit with this knowledge.
I’ve already spent a good deal of my modest budget on three players. They’re all strikers, but my motives have been different with each purchase.
The Patient Punt
At a very basic level – the only level I know, quite frankly – the idea with FI bets is to buy low and sell high.
That requires a certain amount of long-term thinking, which has led me to bet on Leeds United’s new striker Rodrigo (£1.01).
The Spanish international has barely met or trained with his new teammates yet – he was in Leeds last week, but quarantined – so I’m not expecting big things from him early doors, especially as Marcelo Bielsa’s men kick off their season away at champions Liverpool.
In fact, the Whites’ short-term schedule is tough, with Sheffield United away and Man City at home also among their first four fixtures.
But Leeds under Bielsa have never been boring and that will definitely continue to be the case in the top flight.
If Rodrigo can adapt and thrive, his price is not going to stay low for long.
The Early Dividend
As soon as the rumours started to fly, I decided to tap into Callum Wilson (£1.05).
Why? For starters, I wanted to see what kind of upside there was to a player likely to be in the news enough to gain an FI media dividend.
That dividend is paid out to players who appear the most – in a positive light – across a range of media outlets over each 24-hour period.
Sure enough, as stories touting a Wilson move to Newcastle or Villa started to pile up, so the media dividend kicked in, earning me 9p per share. That doesn’t sound much, but it’s profit.
Looking at the schedule for Villa, with Liverpool, Leicester, Arsenal and the wildcard that is Leeds to play in their first seven fixtures, plus a blank Gameweek 1, I’d much rather have seen Wilson go to Newcastle.
Now that he has, he looks like a decent bet to bring in some match day dividends as the Magpies have a really attractive run of games for months ahead.
Then it’s the Christmas From Hell in the company of Man City and Liverpool, a new year involving Leicester, the Blades and Arsenal and me wondering why I didn’t sell him sooner.
For now, however, it’s all good as his value is on the rise and I’m in profit.
This Week I Will Be Mostly Buying…
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£2.23).
The Arsenal striker – he’s still a forward in FI unlike his change to a midfielder in FPL – is both my Gameweek punt and, in all honestly, a season keeper.
With the most expensive players in FI costing you well over ten quid (and beyond) per share, his valuation seems very low indeed for a key player in a team on the up.
He has an attractive Gameweek 1 fixture away at Fulham ahead of him, a fine goal in the Community Shield just behind him and pretty much a guaranteed starting berth in Mikel Arteta’s evolving side, barring injury, from now until the season ends.
He also has Europa League football, which is another competition in which you can win match day dividends for players in your portfolio, although it remains to be seen how much Arteta will rotate the squad with, presumably, a Champions League spot the major target for the Gunners this season.
Many FPL managers will be handing Auba the captain’s armband this weekend. I’ll be hoping they’re right as it should lead to a decent match day dividend for me.
BEST PLAYERS BY POSITION:
- Goalkeepers: Budget
- Goalkeepers: Premium
- Defenders: Budget
- Defenders: Mid-Price and Premium
- Midfielders: Budget
- Midfielders: Mid-Price
- Midfielders: Premium
- Forwards: Budget
- Forwards: Mid-Price
- Forwards: Premium
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