October 2015 Preview

We take a look at the next 4 game weeks in the English Premier League season to highlight fixtures that Fantasy Football managers should be thinking of taking advantage of. Home fixtures for the in-form top clubs particularly against clubs at the bottom of the table could present a bucket-load of points to the savvy manager.

Manchester City have stumbled in their last 2 matches but now have lined up 3 home matches against teams in the bottom half of the table although the 3rd of their next 4 matches is the Manchester derby away against United who have just deposed them from the top of the table. Manchester United on the other hand have 3 away matches against other teams in the top half of the table as well as the Manchester derby. City should end up with more fantasy points than United by 1 November.

Chelsea have spluttered at best this season but their rise back up the table cannot be far away and with 3 home fixtures out of 4, this month could see a turn of form. Their 2nd home match is against Aston Villa who are in the bottom 3 having conceded 12 goals from their 7 matches.

Crystal Palace, who are sponsored by Mansion Casino UK, are currently lying 7th and have 3 home matches to look forward to in the next month (albeit two are against teams above them in the table) and the away match is against Leicester City who have conceded 14 goals in their 7 matches, mainly thanks to the 5 Arsenal put passed them last weekend.

The full fixture list for the next month is:

Saturday 3 October 2015
12:45 Crystal Palace v West Brom
15:00 Aston Villa v Stoke
15:00 Bournemouth v Watford
15:00 Man City v Newcastle
15:00 Norwich v Leicester
15:00 Sunderland v West Ham
17:30 Chelsea v Southampton

Sunday 4 October 2015
13:30 Everton v Liverpool
16:00 Arsenal v Man Utd
16:00 Swansea v Spurs

Saturday 17 October 2015
12:45 Spurs v Liverpool
15:00 Chelsea v Aston Villa
15:00 Crystal Palace v West Ham
15:00 Everton v Man Utd
15:00 Man City v Bournemouth
15:00 Southampton v Leicester
15:00 West Brom v Sunderland
17:30 Watford v Arsenal

Sunday 18 October 2015
16:00 Newcastle v Norwich

Monday 19 October 2015
20:00 Swansea v Stoke

Saturday 24 October 2015
15:00 Aston Villa v Swansea
15:00 Leicester v Crystal Palace
15:00 Norwich v West Brom
15:00 Stoke v Watford
15:00 West Ham v Chelsea
17:30 Arsenal v Everton

Sunday 25 October 2015
12:00 Sunderland v Newcastle
14:05 Bournemouth v Spurs
14:05 Man Utd v Man City
16:15 Liverpool v Southampton

Saturday 31 October 2015
12:45 Chelsea v Liverpool
15:00 Crystal Palace v Man Utd
15:00 Man City v Norwich
15:00 Newcastle v Stoke
15:00 Swansea v Arsenal
15:00 Watford v West Ham
15:00 West Brom v Leicester

Sunday 1 November 2015
13:30 Everton v Sunderland
16:00 Southampton v Bournemouth

Monday 2 November 2015
20:00 Spurs v Aston Villa

Gameweek 8 Preview – October 2015

Gameweek 8 Preview of Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365.

We’ll start with Sunday’s action this week, as there’s two huge matches taking place in the Premier League. First up, Everton welcome Liverpool to Goodison Park for the Merseyside Derby. It’s well known that this fixture is usually a lively affair, and has produced more red cards than any other match since the Premier League’s inception in 1992. With this in mind, it would be wise to avoid any players who are prone to ill-discipline, with yellow/red cards and resulting suspensions a distinct possibility. Liverpool’s full backs could be well worth consideration, as both have decent disciplinary records and love to get forward to help with the attack. On the right side, Nathaniel Clyne (£5.5m) has 3 goals and 10 assists from 3 Premier League seasons, which is a good haul for a defender. On the left, Alberton Moreno (£4.7m) has forced his way back into the side recently. The Spaniard got 2 goals last year and already has an assist to his name this term. On top of this, clean sheet points could be on the cards for them – Everton haven’t beaten their local rivals in the Premier League in almost 5 years, and Liverpool have kept clean sheets in 5 of the 8 fixtures since that 2-0 defeat in October 2010. Up front, Daniel Sturridge is a big player for Brendan Rodger’s men, and he marked his first full match back from injury with 2 goals and 13 Fantasy Football points last week. He’s only in 3.5% of teams at the moment, so could help you to claw back some points on teams ahead of you if you think he’s worth the £10.5m price tag.

Following this, two of the most successful teams of the Premier League era go head to head – it’s Arsenal v Manchester United at the Emirates. Arsène Wenger endured a truly miserable night on Tuesday, with the Gunners losing 3-2 at home to Olympiakos to make it 2 defeats from 2 Champions League games. With back-to-back fixtures coming up against Bayern Munich, it’s tough to see Arsenal getting out of the group stage now, which adds importance to this season’s Premier League campaign. They’ll be keen to make amends on Sunday but have a wretched recent record against Man United, with just one win in their last 12 Premier League encounters (including an 8-2 mauling at Old Trafford). Arsenal haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 5 matches, and United’s only clean sheets in their last 7 were both at old Trafford (against Sunderland and Ipswich). It could therefore be wise to avoid defenders from both sides and concentrate on the attacking options. Four players stand out above everyone else for this fixture. Alexis Sánchez (£11.1m) seems to have found form, hitting a hat trick last week at Leicester and following that up with a goal and assist in midweek. Theo Walcott (£8.5m) also got a goal and an assist in that defeat to Olympiakos, and has 2 goals in his last 3 Premier League matches. For the away side, Juan Mata (£8.8m) seems to be involved in everything good that they do at the moment. He has 3 goals and 2 assists from his last 4 Premier League games, and on Wednesday night in the Champions League it was his cross that won the penalty from which United, and Mata himself, scored the equaliser, and he followed this up with a sumptuous assist for the winner. Finally, it’s impossible to ignore Anthony Martial (£8.4m). He has 3 goals and an assist from 3 Premier League appearances, and his all-round play has been mightily impressive since his arrival from Monaco.

Saturday’s action, whilst being lower key than Sunday’s, still throws up some intriguing matches. Bournemouth v Watford isn’t a regular on the Premier League fixture list, but both sides have given good accounts of themselves in their 7 games since promotion from the Championship. Watford have 9 points so far and Bournemouth have 7, so the home side will be keen to secure a victory that would see them overtake the visitors in the league table. The Cherries have had some terrible luck with injuries already, with Callum Wilson now joining Tyrone Mings and Max Gradel on the treatment table, and all 3 are expected to be out for months. Glenn Murray (£5.6m) will surely be the focal point of the Bournemouth attack now. He scored 7 goals and got 5 assists from just 868 minutes on the pitch last season for Crystal Palace, so given regular game time he could rack up the points. On the opposing side, Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo (£5.2m) has bagged 4 goals already this season and his partnership with Troy Deeney (£5.3m) is causing problems for Premier League defences. Deeney hasn’t yet scored himself, but surely it’s only a matter of time based on his goalscoring exploits in the Championship and he has 3 Premier League assists to his name so far.

Manchester City will hope that their Champions League win helps them rediscover their form in the Premier League. After winning their opening 5 games without conceding a goal they’ve now lost their last 2 league fixtures and conceded top spot to local rivals Man United. A home match against Newcastle looks a banker home win on paper though – the Geordies have recorded just one away win in the Premier League in the last 10 months, sit second bottom of the table and have only beaten Man City once in the last 14 meetings between the sides. A lot of Fantasy Football managers will be once again placing their faith in Sergio Agüero (£13.2m). The Argentine striker has not yet reached his usual high standards this season, but it will be a surprise if he’s not back amongst the goals in the league soon. David Silva (£10.1m) made his return from injury in the midweek win in Germany, and will also be a popular captain choice, He scored 191 Fantasy League points last year after bagging 12 goals, 12 assists and 12 clean sheets. He has 4 assists and 4 clean sheets from his 4 Premier League games this season, and you’d fancy him to add to that if he’s in the starting line-up on Saturday.

In addition here is Bet365‘s review of Super Sunday’s action:

13:30 BST – Everton v Liverpool

Super Sunday kicks off in a big way with the massive Merseyside Derby. These sides have met 224 times since 1894 incredibly, with the last 2 results ending in a draw, which does reflect the current odds. Liverpool are marginal favourites and will be pleased to have long-lost Daniel Sturridge available again following a year’s absence due to injury. His 2 goal haul this weekend will give the Reds greater confidence in front of goal with Sturridge overtaking Torres and Suarez as Liverpool’s most prolific goal scorer in the Premier League era with a 0.65 goals per game ratio. Everton did well to earn 3 points away at West Brom last night and put 3 goals past a side who rarely concede at all. They’ve done very well in the last month and do have the superior goals for and goals against record so far when compared to their rivals, with a 3-1 win over Chelsea a key highlight. They’ll go into this match as favourites in some respect and could look to cause further distress to an anxious Brendan Rodgers who will be desperate to avoid another defeat. If we can guarantee one thing, it’s that it’ll be a full-blooded affair, with the fixture producing an incredible 20 red cards since the Premier League began; the highest of any fixture. Over 2.5 goals is a tempting 1/1 (2.00) with bet365.

16:00 BST – Arsenal v Man Utd

Following on from the Merseyside Derby, we have a huge fixture between current title-contenders Arsenal and Man Utd. The sides have met 221 times, with some memorable results over the years, including a phenomenal 8-2 United win back in 2011. Rooney has bagged the most goals in this fixture over these years, and would be a good option to score first here. Arsenal are favourites for the tie and will be very pleased with Alexis Sanchez’s return to goal scoring ways following a brilliant hat-trick at the weekend, and he could well strike again now the flood gates have opened. United also secured a strong win at the weekend and currently top the Premier League table with the league’s joint-top defensive record, so it will be a true test for both sides who will look to continue recent form. Over 3.5 goals looks attractive at 2/1 (3.00) despite United’s defensive record.

16:30 BST – Bayern Munich v B Dortmund

First of all, we’ll be live streaming this fixture with exclusions applying to Germany, Austria, Italy, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, San Marino and USA, so please do outline the geo-restrictions and funded account requirement.

Bayern Munich have of course dominated the league for years, and this one has been no different thus far – topping the table with 7 wins from 7 games, scoring 23 goals in the process. Dortmund are 2nd in the chase however, but are 4 points shy of their rivals. Following on from his 5 goal haul in 9 minutes against Wolfsburg, Lewandowski bagged a further 2 against Mainz at the weekend – the Pole is on fire and is will be a great choice to score against Dortmund. Dortmund have had back to back score-draws in recent weeks, so Both Teams to Score will be a stand-out option at 8/15 (1.53), or Over 2.5 goals at 1/2 (1.50).

19:30 BST – Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid

You’ll be pleased to hear we’re also live streaming this colossal fixture – but similarly to above, exclusions do apply and it’s not available in Spain, Middle East, North Africa, Andorra and USA.

Our second Derby of the day comes from Madrid, with just two points separating the sides in the 2015/16 campaign so far, so this is an early title-credentials test for both! Villarreal caused an upset at the weekend, defeating Atletico 1-0 to go top of the table! This will put pressure on Atletico to avoid back-to-back losses when facing their neighbours on Sunday, but with Los Blancos so far undefeated in the league campaign and hungry to gain ground, it could be a very cagey affair. 2014/15 offered up 6 matches between the Madrid sides in all competitions extraordinarily, which led to 3 draws, 2 Atletico wins and 1 Real win in total; with an average of 1.6 goals per game. A Draw and Under 2.5 goals is 3/1 (4.0) at bet365!

All odds above are accurate as of 12:00 BST 29.09.15 and are subject to change.

Euro Soccer Bonus – remember that all of the above fixtures and other key European leagues and Champions League are available for this offer, on ‘Full-Time Result’ and ‘Result + Both Teams to Score’ markets. Earn a huge 10% bonus on your winnings from a qualifying 4-fold accumulator.

Gameweek 7 Preview – September 2015

Gameweek 7 Preview of Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365.

There’s a cracking game to kick of this week’s action, with Tottenham Hotspur entertaining Manchester City at White Hart Lane. This one has goals written all over it – City have won the last four Premier League matches between the sides by an aggregate score of 16-2, including a 5-1 away victory in January last year. Sergio Agüero (£13.2m) has scored in each of these four fixtures, scoring half of City’s 16 goals in them. He’ll be a popular captain choice this week without a doubt. Kevin De Bruyne is worth consideration in midfield, despite his hefty £10.0m Fantasy Football price tag. He played the full 90 minutes and scored City’s consolation goal in their 2-1 defeat to West Ham in their last Premier League game, and scored again in Tuesday’s midweek Capital One Cup victory against Sunderland. With David Silva doubtful for the weekend De Bruyne could start in the number 10 role and considering Spurs’ historical defensive frailties against City goals and assists are very much a possibility for the Belgian.

Later in the day we get another chance to see Anthony Martial. The young Frenchman has been compared to Thierry Henry, and has made an explosive start to life in England with 3 goals in his first 2 Premier League games. On Sunday he was available at £8.0m, but he’s being recruited fast by Fantasy League managers and has shot up to £8.3m already this week. With his team Man United facing Sunderland’s dire defence at Old Trafford he’ll be fancied to score at least one, and is another obvious captain choice. In midfield Juan Mata has been impressive this season, scoring or assisting 4 of United’s 9 league goals so far, and at £8.6m he’s a reasonably-priced midfield option.

Just across the M62 from Manchester there’s a game between two managers under early-season pressure, with Brendan Rogers’ Liverpool hosting Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa. Christian Benteke is likely to miss out against his former team after suffering a hamstring injury in last week’s disappointing home draw with Norwich. Danny Ings came on for Benteke in that match, scoring Liverpool’s goal, and he followed that up with another goal on Wednesday evening as Liverpool battled to a penalty shoot-out victory over Carlisle in the Capital One Cup. At just £7.1m Ings could provide a good cut-price option up front for Fantasy League managers. Villa’s captain Micah Richards has been in good form this season, and was unlucky to have a goal chalked off last week. He could cause plenty of problems for Liverpool’s defence from set pieces, and is available at £4.6m.

The evening kick-off features another manager under huge pressure. Ex-England boss Steve McClaren is yet to taste victory in the Premier League his new role at Newcastle, picking up just 2 points from 6 matches. To make matters worse, the Toon Army were dumped out of the Capital One Cup this week at home to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday. The last thing they need now is a match against the reigning champions, especially with Chelsea showing signs of improved form in their last 3 matches. The Blues have actually lost on their last 3 visits to St James’ Park, but few people would fancy this Newcastle team to make that 4. Various attacking options appeal for Chelsea, with Loic Remy (£7.1m) set to deputise for the suspended Diego Costa, Eden Hazard (£11.3m) finally looking like he’s recovering form and Pedro (£9.5m) impressing since his arrival from Barcelona.

There’s one game on Sunday and one on Monday, with neither promising much in the way of goalmouth action. Watford, with 3 clean sheets from 6 league games so far this season, face a Crystal Palace team who’ve failed to score in their last 2 league matches on Sunday, then on Monday the top 2 goalkeepers currently in Fantasy Football go head to head. Boaz Myhill (£4.6m) has 37 points after picking up 4 clean sheets in his 6 matches and Tim Howard (£5.1m) has scored 33 points from his 3 clean sheets. Definitely worth considering one of these two for your goalkeeper slot this week, as well as Watford, West Brom and Everton defenders!


Tottenham v Manchester City

(12:45pm BT Sport 1)

Leicester v Arsenal

Liverpool v Aston Villa

Manchester United v Sunderland

Southampton v Swansea

Stoke v Bournemouth

West Ham v Norwich

Newcastle v Chelsea

(5.30pm Sky Sports 1)


Watford v Crystal Palace

(4.00pm Sky Sports 1)


West Brom v Everton

(8.00pm Sky Sports)

Simple Verse Reinstated As St Leger Winner After Three Hour Hearing

After lodging a successful appeal against the decision of the steward’s enquiry, Simple Verse has been reinstated as the winner of the prestigious St Leger.

The three-year-old, who became the first filly in more than 20 years to win the famous race at Doncaster, had originally been relegated into second place behind Bondi Beach after a steward’s enquiry found her and jockey Andrea Atzeni guilty of ‘interference’ during the closing stages of the chase.

An appeal was lodged by Simple Verse’s owners Qatar Racing, principally Sheikh Fahad al-Thani, and heard at the HQ of the British Horseracing Authority in London.

And the panel, led by Tim Charlton, found that the cumulative effect of the ‘coming together’ between the two horses was not significant enough to have an impact on the outcome of the race.

Simple Verse’s trainer Ralph Beckett was overjoyed at the outcome of the hearing, but understandably frustrated that his team’s moment in the sun had originally been taken away from them. “It’s not quite the same, and it’s never going to be quite the same, in the sense of when you have it taken away on the day,” he told Sky Sports’ ‘At The Races’.

“It was horrendous at the time and it’s been a pretty miserable 11 days for those who live and work with me. It’s not been much fun.”

Collision Course

The steward’s enquiry was originally called after Bondi Beach’s jockey, Colm O’Donoghue, complained of a collision in the immediate aftermath of the race. His heated debate with Atzeni in front of the stewards took place live on Channel 4 television.

Both were also present at the BHA hearing, which lasted for a full three hours, before the panel finally came to their verdict.

It is the first time in more than 200 years that a horse has been disqualified from first place in the St Leger, and the first time in history that a horse has won a British Classic, been disqualified and then reinstated upon appeal.

Money Talks

Having paid a £50,000 supplement to add Simple Verse to the race, it is no wonder that the Qatar Racing team were willing to go the extra mile to ensure justice was served; that and the £393,000 prize money for first place. Compared to the £149,000 reward for second place, perhaps Sheikh al-Thani did the right thing.

Simple Verse’s upward trajectory continues following her victory in the Lillie Langtry Stakes earlier this year, and the 3-year-old has seen her odds shortened to claim another British Classic title in the coming months as a result.

The last word should go to Atzeni though, who was robbed of his second major victory this year by the original decision. “On the day I was heartbroken,” he said. “However, there are worst things in life, and at least we can move forward now.”


A new app aimed at helping Fantasy Premier League managers was released on September 10, 2015.

FMPL Logo-30x30 The Fantasy Manager Premier League app is an analytical tool intended to help support player selection in Fantasy Premier League.


Costing only £ 1.5 (taxes included in the price), this app is free of ads and allows you to:

• Compare how your own players rank amongst all other players for each position.
• Filter player points in a flexible manner by X number of GWs (i.e. Last 3 GWs –see image).
• Plan 2, 3 or 4 games ahead including trend analysis per team (as of GW5).
• Identify your top team players and potential candidates for captain by viewing how often they have scored more than “X” number of points (i.e. 8 points and over).
• Show objective information about upcoming games per player, including team trends, team difficulty (in 5 levels) and a summary that gives you an idea of how challenging future games may be for them.
• Review and compare game-by-game point differences between teams to decide whether to add a particular player or not.
• Add players to your wish list and to your team (within the app).

This interactive and analytical tool is ideal for helping serious Fantasy Premier League fans become much more competitive as Fantasy Premier League managers. To get the most out of the app, it is important for the user to be familiar with both the concepts and terms of the Fantasy Premier League and those defined in the app.

Last year, this model helped move the developer’s team from about the 1,100,000th ranking to the 60,000th ranking after only started using it halfway through the season.

Hoping that you will be able to bring your game to the next level by using Fantasy Manager Premier League!

(Available for Android. An iOS version will be available in October.)

Some screenshots of the first version (1.0.0) are provided below:
MyTeam CaptainSelector StatsPlanning GWViewPlanning

Gameweek 6 Preview – September 2015

Gameweek 6 Preview of Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365.

No doubt about the big game of the week, with Chelsea welcoming Arsenal to Stamford Bridge at lunchtime on Saturday. The defending champions have suffered an awful start to this campaign, and just 5 matches in have already suffered as many defeats as they did in the whole of last season. They’ve amassed just 4 points from these five matches, which could just give Arsène Wenger hope of securing his first ever Premier League victory over José Mourinho. There’s a lot of misfiring players in this Chelsea team and Fantasy League managers are losing faith, with 15 of the squad having dropped in value since the start of the season. It’s difficult to recommend anyone from the Chelsea line up at the moment, and Pedro’s injury means that one of the players who has actually performed well for them is out of the game. In goal though, Courtois’ long term injury means that Asmir Begović could be a shrewd purchase at just £5.0m. Surely the defensive woes can’t carry on like this for long with Mourinho in charge! Arsenal have kept 3 clean sheets in a row in the Premier League, and Gabriel Paulista has impressed in the absence of Per Mertesacker. He could keep his place ahead of the giant German, and at just £4.9m could be an excellent addition to your squad.

With none of the big teams in action at 3pm there could be a real chance for some of the Fantasy Football bargain buys to shine. Bournemouth have only scored once in their opening two home games in the Premier League, but will fancy their chances of grabbing a few more on Saturday as Sunderland are the visitors to Dean Court. The Black Cats are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, so Callum Wilson could be the perfect option for goals, and perhaps a consideration for captain. He’s the highest-scoring forward in the Fantasy Football game at present with 30 points for the season, and at just £5.9m is very affordable.

Meanwhile, Leicester City take their unbeaten record to the Britannia Stadium, where they’ll face a Stoke side who have had a tricky start to the season. Just 2 points from 5 matches is the return so far for Mark Hughes’ men, and despite Leicester’s excellent form anything less than 3 points will be seen as another setback for them. Despite not yet keeping a clean sheet Jack Butland has been in inspired form in goal, with 27 saves to his name so far. He’ll no doubt be worked by an attacking Leicester team, so is likely to pick up some points for saves and with Stoke favourites to win the match a clean sheet isn’t out of the question either. He could be a good purchase at £4.5m. For the visitors you can’t look any further than Riyad Mahrez, who started the season at £5.5m but has now rocketed to £6.3m. It’s easy to see why too, with Mahrez currently the highest points scorer in the league after bagging 4 goals, 2 assists and 12 bonus points so far for a total of 47. He’s almost halfway to his total points tally from the whole of last season and we’re only 5 games in!

Later, Man City will be looking to put midweek Champions League misery behind them and maintain their 100% start to the league season as they host West Ham. Sergio Agüero (£13.2m) made a substitute appearance on Tuesday evening, so the injury suffered at Palace last week is not as serious as first thought. He’s expected to be back leading the line for the late kick-off on Saturday and hoping to get back amongst the goals. He’ll be at the forefront of Fantasy Managers’ minds for captain, despite scoring just 1 goal so far this season. At the other end of the pitch, City are yet to concede a Premier League goal this season, and Aleksandar Kolarov has racked up 46 points so far. Another clean sheet could well be achieved at the weekend, making him very good value at £5.9m.

On Sunday both Tottenham and Liverpool have winnable home fixtures on paper, but with teams often struggling after playing Europa League games on Thursday nights it may be best to avoid captaining any of their players. Having said that, both Palace and Norwich have failed to keep any clean sheets so far this season, so Liverpool and Spurs attackers could be good purchases. Christian Benteke (£8.5m) will be buoyed by his stunning goal at Old Trafford last week and will be looking to add to his tally against Norwich, while Harry Kane (£9.4m) will be keen to break his duck for the season having gone 5 games without a goal for Spurs so far.


Chelsea v Arsenal

(12:45pm BT Sport 1)

Aston Villa v West Brom

Bournemouth v Sunderland

Newcastle v Watford

Stoke v Leicester

Swansea v Everton

Man City v West Ham

(5.30pm Sky Sports 1)


Tottenham v Crystal Palace

(1.30pm Sky Sports 1)

Southampton v Man Utd

(4.00pm Sky Sports 1)

Liverpool v Norwich

Fantasy Football Tips: Using Blackjack to Boost Your Win Rate

Choosing the perfect fantasy league football team isn’t easy. For many players it’s the same story at the start of each new season. You start full of optimism, but then quickly realise that your budget won’t go as far as you thought and then you gradually start regretting every decision you’ve made.

These struggles aside, we all still love to take a gamble on fantasy football even if we don’t really know what we’re doing. Naturally, everyone has their own theories on how you can improve your chances of success in the fantasy arena. Some will try to emulate their favourite manager and use their player selection methods, while others will choose the top three teams and fill their squad with luminaries.

Unfortunately, despite everyone thinking that they’ve got it locked down, only one fantasy manager can triumph in their respective league and their tactics will probably differ wildly from yours. Of course, there is no guaranteed route to success. However, there are some ways you can improve your chances of making the right picks.

Learning a Lesson from Blackjack

(Image Source: flickr.com)

As unusual as it sounds, there is a lot that a fantasy football fan can learn from the humble blackjack player. In the spectrum of casino games, blackjack is one that lends itself most readily to skilful play. Given the structure of the game and the choices the player is allowed to make, blackjack players be able to gain an edge over the casino in seemingly difficult circumstances.

Although the set-up may differ wildly, there are a number of underlying crossover attributes between fantasy football and blackjack. For example, before the start of each season you know exactly how many teams will be involved in the competition. Moreover, you’ll also know which players are strong and which ones are weak. You’ll also know how you earn points and, potentially, how many points you’d need to win.

These factors are also present in a game of blackjack. Before the game starts you know how many decks are in play (from one up to eight), you know how many cards you’re going to be dealt and what total you need to achieve to win. Like fantasy football, you also have a budget and, therefore, an idea of how much you’re going to bet.

Beyond these similarities, there are also a number of game theories and psychological principles that overlap between the two disciplines. So, if this is the case, then it should also be the case that tips from the blackjack world should be able to help the aspiring fantasy football manager. To prove this point and to give you a better chance of winning your league, we’ve compiled some blackjack tips that will give you the edge in the fantasy football realm.

Stay Focused

(Image Source: brandcraftmedia.com)

One of the biggest skills a blackjack player needs to master when they ante-up is focus. Because the game operates at a frantic base (both online and live), it can be tough to keep your concentration at the necessary level and that can lead to silly mistakes. In fact, because there are many variants of blackjack both in live and online casinos, it’s also important to stay focused so you know what game you’re playing.

One of the best ways to maintain focus is to continually analyse every move and focus about the optimal play, rather than the things going on around the table. Another strategy is to take regular breaks. The human brain is wired in such a way that it can’t concentrate for extended periods of time, so taking a five-minute break every hour is a great tactic.

In a similar way to blackjack, success in the fantasy football world is a matter of concentration. Thousands of players start the season full of enthusiasm but quickly stop caring and forget to invest time in their teams. Throughout the season you should be analysing all the data you can and making changes as necessary. However, you should temper this focus with regular breaks. Don’t get burned out and waste all your early hard work.

Using Your Wild Card

(Image Source: brunoboys.net)

In most fantasy football leagues you’ll be given wild cards throughout the season (usually two) and it’s up to you when you choose to use them. Although there are no set rules on when you should and shouldn’t use a wild card, the blackjack world may be able to offer some advice.

One thing you need to know about a game of classic blackjack is that you can do something known as doubling down. If you’re playing online and click on a classic game, this means you can put in an extra bet and receive one extra card. The reason for doing this is that it allows you to put more money in the pot when things are in your favour. However, when you play online, the rules of classic blackjack are such that you can double on any two cards.

Doubling on any two card total is insane – just as it’s insane to randomly use your wild card in fantasy football. The best times to double down are dictated by two factors: your total and that of the dealer. When you have a strong starting total (such as 11) and the dealer is weak (showing a 5) this is a great spot to double down because the chances are that you’ll hit a great total and the dealer won’t.

The same is true when you’re playing fantasy football. If you’re watching the results closely and the performances of those around you, then you’ll get to see when people are strong and when they are weak. The best time to strike is when you are running well (but could make a slight improvement) and your opponent is going through a rough patch. If you can make the move at this point you should be able to push home your advantage and crush your opponents.

Learn to Embrace Variance

(Image Source: footballfirst.co.uk)

Whether someone is playing blackjack online or in a live casino such as the Bellagio in Vegas, the notion of variance is one they need to embrace. In a nutshell, variance is the deviation of results away from the expected average for a particular move. This basically means that good and bad results will sometimes happen, regardless of the moves you make. By understanding the fundamentals of variance, blackjack players can continue to make mathematically sound moves regardless of the stakes and regardless of whether they are winning or losing.

The same thing is also true in fantasy football. The chances are that on any given week the results are going to go your way and the players you thought were bankers for points start to underperform. However, if you’re able to grasp this concept of variance, then you should be able to overcome these problems with ease. Yes, some players are going to have bad weeks, but you need to be able to look beyond this and always make the best play for the situation. If you think a move is correct, then don’t concern yourself with you current run of bad results.

Becoming a fantasy football hero isn’t easy, but if you can adopt the mindset of a professional gambler then you can seriously improve your chances of success. Although the tactics outlined in this article won’t guarantee you’ll always win, they should improve your overall expectation and that can only be a good thing.

Gameweek 5 Preview – September 2015

Gameweek 5 Preview of Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365. Before the preview we’d like to draw to your attention that this weekend is the first time Bet365’s Spanish La liga livestreaming are available for UK, South American viewers as well as other European countries (excluding Spain). There is a big game in Spain on Saturday night Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona and as Claudio Bravo, Dani Alves, Sergio Roberto, Gerard Piqué will all miss the game due to injury and suspension, so Barca’s defence will become vulnerable in the away game. A high score line from both side would be expected. With Goals over 2.5 at 43/40(2.07), both teams to score at 4/5(1.8). Watch the game live at Bet365.

On to the EPl preview: The early kick-off on Saturday sees defending champions Chelsea travel to Goodison Park for a tough match against Everton. José Mourinho’s men were victors in a scintillating clash in the corresponding fixture last season, winning 6-3 to secure their third consecutive win at the start of the season. Diego Costa scored twice in that game, and he’ll certainly fancy his chances of another goal on Saturday against an Everton defence that have conceded 2 goals in each of their home league matches so far this season. He’s not cheap at £11.1m, but is the clear first choice striker at Chelsea, and with 20 Premier League goals it’s a safe bet that he’ll add to this season’s tally sooner rather than later. In midfield Pedro could be a great addition to your Fantasy League side. He’s made an instant impact in England, with a goal and 2 assists in his first 2 matches helping him to 20 Fantasy league points so far. He’s still available at £9.5m, but that’s sure to increase quickly if his form continues. In the defensive third Chelsea have looked vulnerable this season though, with no clean sheets and a couple of red cards from their 4 matches. Ross Barkley (£6.7m) and Arouna Koné (£5.1m) could therefore be excellent additions to your squad at low prices this week.

On Saturday evening the biggest game of the week, and arguably still the biggest game in English football, takes place at Old Trafford with Manchester United ‘welcoming’ Liverpool. Both teams have started the season well defensively, with 3 clean sheets each from their first 4 matches. However, the last week before the international break was a reality check for them both with Liverpool suffering an embarrassing 3-0 loss at home to West Ham and United throwing away a lead against Swansea to lose 2-1. It’s likely to be a cagey affair though, so defensive options are advisable. David De Gea could return to the United starting line-up after the collapse of his proposed move to Real Madrid. His price has dropped to £5.3m, and he could be worth considering if he’s restored to the first team. Luke Shaw has firmly established himself as first choice left-back this season, and has scored bonus points in his last 3 matches. He loves to get forward, and with 25 points already this season he could prove a shrewd addition to your defence at £5.6m. Liverpool’s left-back is also catching the eye, with Joe Gomez making a confident start to life in the Premier League. He’s priced at just £4.8m and already has 22 points this season.

Elsewhere on Saturday Arsenal, without a home victory so far this season, host Stoke City. Stoke have lost in every one of their eight visits to the Emirates, so could be the perfect opposition for Arsène Wenger’s men. With Danny Welbeck out injured and Olivier Giroud getting booed off in midweek while playing for France it may be better to look to the attacking midfield options for Fantasy Football points this week. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£5.8m) could be a good option if he gets the nod on the right wing, with Theo Walcott looking ineffective so far and Aaron Ramsey out of position there. Safer, although more expensive options, are Alexis Sánchez (£11.0m) and Mesut Özil (£8.4m). Both have an assist to their name so far this season, and more is expected from them in the coming weeks. Sánchez scored 16 and assisted 8 in the league last season, and Özil has 9 goals and 16 assists in 2 previous Premier League campaigns.

Manchester City have yet to concede a goal this season, but their defence is sure to be tested away at Crystal Palace. Palace have scored in every game this season, including one against Arsenal and two against Chelsea. The Eagles are flying high in second position in the league, so this match is an early top of the table clash. Bakary Sako has made a sensational impact since his signing from Wolves. He was in last year’s Championship Team of the Year and has 2 goals and an assist for Palace in just 2 matches. He also scored the maximum 3 bonus points in each of those matches, so he has 23 points already. At just £5.5m he’s certainly an attractive option. For City there’s a whole host of attacking options to consider. Yaya Touré (£8.9m) and David Silva (£10.2m) have made impressive starts to the season, with 31 and 26 points respectively. Fernandinho already has 2 goals to his name, and is a much more cost-effective option at £6.0m. In attack they have arguably the best striker in the league in Sergio Agüero, and he is sure to add to his solitary goal in the coming weeks, but at £13.2m you may need to use your wildcard to get rid of some other players to free up the funds for him.

Gameweek 4 Preview – August 2015

Gameweek 4 Preview of Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365.

Following last weekend’s credible draw at Old Trafford, Newcastle United are again involved in the early kick-off as they host Arsenal. Both sides were involved in goalless matches last weekend, thanks in no small part to their respective goalkeepers. Tim Krul and Petr Cech picked up 11 points each after both made 8 saves and kept clean sheets. That’s unlikely to happen again though, with encounters between these two sides generally producing plenty of goals, including a 4-4 in February 2011 and a 7-3 victory for Arsenal in December 2012. Arsenal are odds-on favourites to win this clash, and with this in mind it would be advisable to look to their attacking talents for points this week. Alexis Sánchez (£11.0m), Mesut Özil (£8.5m) and Santi Cazorla (£8.4m) could all be worth a look.

Moving onto the 3pm matches, and Bournemouth v Leicester could provide some bargain buys with points potential this week. Bournemouth won for the first time in the Premier League last weekend, as Callum Wilson bagged a hat trick at West Ham. He’ll fancy his chances of some more goals this weekend, as despite Leicester’s excellent start to the season they haven’t yet kept a clean sheet. Wilson is now the top points-scoring forward in the game, and at just £5.5m could be an excellent buy. The top-scoring midfielder in the game is on display for the away side though. Riyad Mahrez has scored 4 goals in the first 3 matches of the season, and picked up 3 bonus points in each game too. 35 points from 3 matches is an unbelievable haul, and his price has increased accordingly (now £6.0m from £5.5m at the start of the season). He’s still very cheap at that price though, especially if he can keep up his goalscoring form.

Three sides who will be confident of routine home victories are Chelsea (v Crystal Palace), Liverpool (v West Ham) and Man City (v Watford).

Chelsea got their first win of the season last time out despite being reduced to 10 men at West Brom. If you fancy Chelsea to keep a clean sheet then Kurt Zouma could be an interesting pick. John Terry’s sending off means he’s unavailable this weekend with Zouma, who is available at £5.5m, expected to fill in for the captain. In attack Pedro made an inspired start to life in England following his move from Barcelona, with a goal and an assist helping him to secure 13 points on his debut. He had an excellent goal scoring record at Barca, and will be keen to make an impression in his first game for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. He’s not cheap at £9.5m, but could still be a good purchase ahead of the misfiring Hazard (£11.4m) and Fàbregas (£8.8m).

For Liverpool Philippe Coutinho has started the season in excellent form. He scored the winner on the opening day at Stoke, and was unlucky not to add to his goal tally on Monday night when he hit the woodwork twice at Arsenal. He’s priced at £8.1m, which seems reasonable given he’s the main attacking threat for one of the top sides in the Premier League, who have also secured clean sheets and extra points for their midfielders and defenders from all of their first three matches. Joe Gomez is the pick of the defenders at just £4.7m, having picked up 21 points so far.

Man City’s impressive form means they’re now odds-on for the title after just 3 matches. They’re yet to concede a goal, and not many will fancy Watford’s chances of halting this run. Aleksandar Kolarov (£5.7m) and Vincent Kompany (£6.3m) have scored 31 points each in those matches, so are well worth considering. Many will be captaining the likes of Sergio Agüero (£13.2m) and David Silva (£10.1m), with City expected to bag a few goals on Saturday.

Plenty of options to consider this week!

There’s an international break next week and the transfer window will also be closed after that time, so with no more new players coming into the Premier League it could be a good time to consider your wildcard (if you’ve managed to save it beyond week 4!).

Manchester United Team Analysis

Manchester United are one of the big clubs in the English Premier League, having won the EPL numerous times, and consequently Fantasy Football Managers look closely at every player within the Man United team to see who should be brought into their own fantasy team. Below is a review of how the Man United team has started the 2015/16 season.

In goal, Romero has been preferred to the normal number 1 de Gea who the manager van Gaal decided was not in the right frame of mind due to transfer interest from his home country Spain. Man United have started the season without conceding a goal so the manager’s decision has been justified.

In defence, the starting back 4 have been Darmian, Smalling, Blind & Shaw with Smalling impressing more so this season in the centre than last and his central defensive partner, Blind, dropping back from a defensive midfield position last season. Shaw has recovered from his injury problems last season and Darmian a new Italian acquisition has slotted in extremely well. Maybe you are also interested in slotmachine reviews? No goals conceded so far this season for this defense!

In midfield, van Gaal has mixed things up a bit with the defensive midfield mainly coming from recent summer signing, Schneiderlin, and ex-Spurs player, Carrick. In a more adventurous role are Mata (bought from Chelsea in January 2014), Januzaj (rejunivated this season) and Memphis Depay (a big money signing in the summer from PSV). Other midfielders that have been used are Schweinsteiger (another major signing over the summer who was not match fit at the start), Young (attacking winger), Herrera and Fellaini who’s been serving a domestic ban for a red card last season.

In attack, England forward Wayne Rooney has been deployed as an out and out striker, as indicated by van Gaal in pre-season leading to many fantasy football managers selecting Rooney, but despite his hat-trick against a below strength Brugges last night he has failed to hit the back of the net in his 3 EPL starts. Rooney has been supported by the attacking midfielders (particularly Memphis) and ‘little pea’, Hernández has been used as a substitute striker.