The long-awaited return of the Premier League, and more importantly Fantasy Football, is almost upon us!
In this new series of articles, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at how odds compilers, the mathematical brains behind the betting industry, are pricing up different markets, and what that means for our Fantasy Football team selections, transfer options, and captain choices.
As we analyse different markets, we’ll be looking at the best price available (at the time of writing) from all of the online bookmakers. This will tell us what the bookies believe to be the lowest percentage chance of an event occurring, which we will in turn use to make more informed decisions about our Fantasy Football team.
There are two main sources of points in Fantasy Football: goals and clean sheets. Goals normally come from forwards and midfielders, whereas clean sheets benefit defenders and goalkeepers the most. These two points sources also greatly influence the aforementioned positions when it comes to the allocation of bonus points. Assists are also an important source of Fantasy Football points, but the anytime assist market is not often priced up by the bookies, and is therefore not included in this analysis. Still, the odd bookmaker does offer betting on the anytime assist market from time to time, and when they do we’ll be analysing their offering in our article.
As any good football team should, we’ll start by doing our best to be solid at the back. In order of likelihood of keeping a clean sheet, the bookies are offering the following:
|Team||Clean Sheet Odds||Implied chance|
Arsenal are given the best chance (54%) of a clean sheet this weekend by the bookies, so owners of Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, and Nacho Monreal should be confident in fielding them against Stoke, who have blanked twice in their four Premier League matches this season. A note of caution, Stoke have scored in both of their away matches this season as they prepare to roll up to the Emirates.
With three clean sheets in four, United defenders have proven a profitable investment for Fantasy managers so far this season, so it’s no surprise to see them come in second in the rankings, with the bookies affording them a 40% chance of a clean sheet in their home clash against a Liverpool side who haven’t scored in their last two Premier League games. Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmian, and Chris Smalling should all get the nod for your Fantasy team, but the situation in goal is a little less clear, with David de Gea staying at the club after the closure of the transfer window but Sergio Romero preferred so far this season.
Chelsea and Leicester rank third and (joint) fourth this week, with 39% and 38% chances of clean sheets respectively. Given that neither side have kept a clean sheet this season and both face opponents who have to date averaged one or more goals per game (Everton 1.25 gpg, Villa 1 gpg), we prefer defensive options elsewhere. Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany and Aleksandr Kolarov have 4 clean sheets on the trot and are given a 38% chance of adding to that, and whilst they face a dangerous Palace side, they also offer good attacking potential themselves. Swansea, meanwhile, are given a 33% chance of a clean sheet and face a Watford side who haven’t scored since the opening day of the season, heightening the appeal of Ashley Williams, Kyle Naughton, and Lukasz Fabianski.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the bookies suggest that we should be avoiding goalkeepers and defenders from the likes of Stoke (10% chance of a clean sheet), Crystal Palace (14%) and Aston Villa (20%), although the likes of Jack Butland and Alex McCarthy should provide some save points if you don’t have a better option in goal.
Our recommendations for your back line this week; Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Luke Shaw, Aleksandr Kolarov, Ashley Williams.
Having analysed defensive options, we now begin our search for attacking returns.
|Player||Goalscorer Odds||Implied chance|
|Mame Biram Diouf||6||16.67%|
It is no surprise to see Sergio Aguero is the player with the highest chance of scoring this gameweek according to the bookies. The Argentine, who plays an attacking Crystal Palace side without a clean sheet this season, has a 51% chance of finding the back of the net after an international break where he scored three goals in two games. The City powerhouse is a default captaincy choice every week, and that remains the case in gameweek 5.
The stats suggest that Olivier Giroud (47%) and Harry Kane (43%) should join Aguero up front in our optimal three-man front lines. Kane was back amongst the goals for England during the latest round of international games and faces a leaky Sunderland defence on Sunday. He is, however, still to get off the mark in the Premier League this season. Giroud’s situation is cloudier as Arsene Wenger rotates him and Theo Walcott up front. With that in mind, form and odds suggest there are a healthy number of options to complete our forward lines and cater to any budget if we want to avoid the rotation risks of the Gunners striking department. Jamie Vardy (36%), Diafra Sakho (35%), Bafetimbi Gomis (34%) and Callum Wilson (32%) all offer points potential and are deserving of our attention.
In midfield, goalscoring points are deemed most likely to come from Alexis Sanchez, with the bookmakers giving the Chilean a 42% chance of scoring against a Stoke side without a clean sheet this season. Sanchez was another player to find the net during the international break for his country and, having only played once during that period, should be a strong contender for the captain’s armband this week.
Eden Hazard comes into the reckoning with a 32% chance of breaching Everton’s defence following two goals in two games for Belgium. Raheem Sterling is also high on the list, with the bookies pricing him up to have 29% chance of finding the net against Palace. Form players Riyad Mahrez (29%), Andre Ayew (25%) and Pedro (22%) all provide intriguing options in different price brackets.
Our recommendations for your attacking line-up this week; Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane, Bafetimbi Gomis, Alexis Sanchez, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling.
Finally, one online bookmaker has priced up a market for the highest scoring Fantasy Football player of the gameweek. Sergio Aguero is the overwhelming favourite to come out on top with a 36% chance, with Alexis Sanchez (15%) and Harry Kane (14%) the next best options.
Our recommendations for your captain; Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez.
Victory is a Fantasy football and anytime goalscorer betting enthusiast. Enjoys SSS – statistics, strategising and spreadsheets. Follow his tips on Twitter.