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The new season is already underway, as is my debut campaign betting on Football Index (FI).
As mentioned previously, I’m going to be dipping my toe into the potentially lucrative FI waters all year, hoping to build a modest budget into something a little showier.
We ran over the basic rules of the game in that first article, so today I’m going to start looking a bit deeper into how I might be successful betting on the football stockmarket.
One other thing of note is Premier League bias. We will mostly be looking at Premier League players this season so we can tie FI coverage into our FPL content.
However, FI runs across five major European leagues – England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France – as well as the two UEFA club competitions, so we’ll be removing our Little Englander blinkers from time to time, and especially when there’s a player or Euro event that just can’t be ignored.
And so onwards to…
Will Cheap = Cheerful?
At the most basic level, betting and trading in shares requires you to buy low and sell high.
With that in mind, a good place to start looking for FI bargain bets is among the unknowns, either in terms of their overall (lack of) celebrity among football fans or as a first-time Premier League performer.
In other words, who will be this season’s Teemu Pukki?
Well, first up it’s wise to remember that a breakthrough striker from the Championship is not an every-season phenomenon. Don’t try to force players into pre-conceived narratives. Instead, discover the narrative that fits a player.
Last season, in FPL, that included both Pukki’s early goals and the out-of-position delights of John Lundstram.
This term, my eyes are being drawn to Leeds United.
Manager Marcelo Bielsa is not nicknamed ‘El Loco’ because of his singular devotion to steam trains, so it’s highly unlikely the Whites are going to be shunted into the sidings of dull irrelevance, to mix a metaphor or two.
There’s a feeling of all or nothing about him and his team. They could crash and burn, or they could win hearts, minds and a fine haul of points with a heady mix of high pressing at home and counter-attacks on the road.
Record signing Rodrigo Moreno has already caught my eye – mainly because he’s currently available for about one quid a share. For context, the most expensive player in FI at present is a certain Borussia Dortmund youngster available for well over £14.
Should Moreno quickly find his feet in a Leeds team with, it must be said, a tricky opening set of games, then the striker’s value is not going to stay so wonderfully low.
‘Should’ is doing all the heavy lifting in the previous sentence, mind, so we shall see.
The Fixtures ‘N’ Form Boys
If Leeds’ early schedule is not the easiest, there’s always another team with a brighter immediate outlook.
That leads me on to an FI tactic probably the closest to standard FPL practice – pinpoint a player with a great schedule and tap into it, and them.
With FI, the upsides of this are many.
As well as getting in-play dividends (see below) early doors, they’re in with a chance of the usual match day and team of the month bonuses.
And, if they’re doing the business consistently, they’re also likely to feature heavily in the press, which opens up opportunities to win media dividends on a daily basis.
Success should also breed success, with more fellow managers buying into your prescient pick and bumping up his overall value.
Chelsea have one of the kindest opening set of fixtures, with ‘opening’ here meaning ‘all the way through to Christmas’. Of the biggest teams in the league, Frank Lampard’s men will face only Liverpool (at home) and Man United (away) across their first 14 matches, running into the dim and distant future that is December 19.
Tapping into the wealth of Chelsea’s attacking options seems wise, therefore, with their most expensive FI asset, a certain new striker from the Bundesliga, setting you back close to £6 a share.
Their other major summer transfer business involved Hakim Ziyech, who looked good in the pre-season game at Brighton before succumbing to a knee injury. That has knocked quite a bit of value off him, so he could be worth a look at the mid-£3 mark if he recovers sooner rather than later.
Another team with a great initial schedule is Manchester United.
As you might expect, there’s a lot of money tied up in their key assets, but at around £3 a share, a certain French striker looks well-priced.
If he can continue last season’s fine form – he was United’s leading scorer in FPL with 200 points – then he looks under-valued, particularly with Champions League football to further sweeten the deal.
This is the closest FI comes to an FPL-style short-term bet.
Some managers might buy a player in for a specific Gameweek. That’s some managers. It’s rare and, presumably, not overly successful, but many of us have eyed up an asset with a good run of, say, four fixtures before things turn nastier further down the line.
FI pays out in-play dividends to all players you bet for the 30 days following that purchase.
It is, potentially, a canny way to win in the short term. How long you keep these players after that initial burst of potential profit is, as ever, the key to longer-term success.
Again, Man United’s early run looks so tempting – Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal should be their toughest tests in the first 11 matches, and all three of those are at Old Trafford.
Tapping into that schedule across the first 30 days of a bet could be lucrative if you buy a United player at the right time (and price, obviously).
Make a bet, for example, just before the early October home game with Spurs, and you’ll have opportunities to win in-play dividends from both domestic and Champions League football.
But don’t forget, this is gambling with real money, so always gamble responsibly: https://www.begambleaware.org/. 18+.
FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 1
- Fulham 0-3 Arsenal
- Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton
- Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United
- West Ham United 0-1 Newcastle United
- West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Leicester City
- Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Everton
- Sheffield United 0-2 Wolves
- Brighton and Hove Albion 1-3 Chelsea
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