Fantasy Sports and How It Became a Money Spinner

Part of the massive appeal of sports is the fact that there is so much more to it than the games being played on the field. Television rights are worth billions viewing numbers for the biggest games run into similar numbers and the wages for the top players can be astronomical. The financial perspective for observers often comes down to sports betting but fantasy sports has been running alongside for just about as long and the heightened sense of involvement and interest has long appealed to players around the world. It has now become one of the biggest money-spinners in the sporting world, enjoyed by millions of players every single week.

It All Began with Golf

While we are staying on the fence with this one, for some observers no sport requires a bit of added excitement and interest while the contests are playing out than golf! Surprisingly, yet justifiably, the sport is widely considered as being the first to involve fantasy sports. Oakland businessman Bill Winkenbach first devised fantasy golf back in the 1950s with participants choosing a team of golfers each and the one with the lowest total score based on strokes throughout the tournament would win. It makes sense as while fantasy football and other sports have evolved into all sorts of different kinds of statistics, when you’re literally just keeping score there can be little room for any arguments!

Baseball Came Next

Winkenbach reportedly formed the first fantasy football league in 1962, but progress from golf was first achieved by baseball in 1960 where William Gamson started the Baseball Seminar. The aforementioned increase in the use of statistics began to take hold here with batting averages, RBI, ERA and wins all coming into play – so it was a good job that this all went down at Harvard!

However, perhaps the biggest development and influence that baseball had in fantasy sports was the founding of Rotisserie League Baseball in 1980. Editor Daniel Okrent is the man who is regarded as being the first to come up with the concept and he named the style after a local restaurant. It was perhaps a happy coincidence that Okrent worked in the media, as his style of fantasy sports soon spread and by 1988 there were an estimated half a million players getting involved.

And Then Came the Internet

Fantasy sports were around for a long time before the internet caught on but real growth in the sector both in its ‘home’ market of the US and around the world really started to kick on thanks to unparalleled connectivity.

With just about anyone able to set up a fantasy sport and to connect with like-minded people around the world, there soon were fantasy leagues based on just about everything. Understandably, the biggest sports remained the most popular with football, baseball and soccer leading the way and, along with specialist companies, even some big names of the late 1990s got involved with Yahoo even famously offering its own free fantasy sports section.

How it Became a Money Spinner

In the online age, fantasy sports have just about always been a money spinner, at least for the sites that provided the services! At some stages fantasy sports companies were charging as much as $300 to participate in a fantasy league although Yahoo changed the game somewhat in that regard and virtually forced the rest of the industry to follow suit with cheap or even free gaming opportunities. That’s certainly not to say that there is no money left in the fantasy sports industry – it is estimated to be worth as much as $2 billion in the US alone and with millions of players around the world, all vying for some great prizes, there is always going to be plenty of cash flying around!

How You Can Get a Piece of the Action

One of the genuine benefits for players, especially since the internet boom is that you really can enter fantasy leagues on just about any sport imaginable and a bit of knowledge and passion for your game of choice can always be a helpful as you only win big for being right, after all!

There are many pay to play options out there and it goes without saying that the biggest prizes you can win have been contributed to by numerous players. However, if you like to play as cheaply as possible, then you will be pleased to know that virtually every major, reliable operator is more than happy to entice players in with some free money. The codes for this and the operators that offer them are not hard to find either, and all you’ll need to do is head on over to a leading no deposit bonus portal to see the top picks of welcome offers. There are no deposit bonus codes for UK players and plenty of options for players around the world too, so no matter what you want to play and where, you can always get a feel for fantasy sports with no strings attached.

Once you’re in, you have a choice not only between the various sports offered among the biggest providers but specialist leagues, fantasy drafts that run for the entire season and now even fantasy sports leagues that operate daily! This is where insightful players can really get into the action and make the most of their knowledge as the leagues and competitions are short and take much of the guesswork out of the trials and tribulations of a regular season.

Essentially, if you know a thing or two about your sport of choice and want to make some extra cash with it you can get involved with absolutely no commitment and if you’re as good as you think you are, could well come out ahead before putting out any cash of your own!

Fantasy Sports: Between Gambling and Skill

How do you define “gambling”? Well, if you look it up in the dictionary, the first definition to pop into your eyesight is “play games of chance for money”. “Games of chance” translate to completely random games, like the slot machines at All Jackpots, for example, that are completely random (and have the papers to prove it). This is how they are supposed to be. Those who join the fun with this action-packed cricket game called Cricket Star or choose any other slots game at All Jackpots can expect to play a game that’s absolutely random, with nothing they (or the All Jackpots, for that matter) can do to influence its outcome.

Things are different in the case of other similar activities, like sports bets, and fantasy sports. These are seen as “gambling” by regulators and policymakers because they involve spending money on “activities with an uncertain outcome”. Note that the term used is “uncertain”, not completely random – which is a term that best describes sports and fantasy sports alike.

Fantasy sports, in special, have been compared to stocks trading, not because of the uncertainty factored in (even though stocks trading can be a surprising endeavor at times) but because of the manner, they are practiced. Originally, stock trading was a long-term investment based on skill, focused on compound earnings over a long time – until day trading came along, shifting focus toward the “exciting and immediate” practice of taking short-term financial risks. Similarly, fantasy sports was originally a season-long game based on the actual performance of players – and daily fantasy sports turned it into a short-term activity with the results coming in at the end of the day. As such, the risk is higher – and so is the excitement.

But is daily fantasy sports a form of gambling?

Well, from a regulatory point of view, it is – and it isn’t, depending on who you ask. In some US states, DFS is considered a game of skill, without the need of regulation. Sports leagues also embrace it, as opposed to sports betting, which most of them are against to this day. The federal legislation of the US also considers DFS not to qualify as gambling, even if some states require DFS operators to obtain a license from their gambling regulators to be able to offer their services to the locals.

When FanDuel, one of the biggest DFS operators in the US, entered the UK market, it had to obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission first. Which, considering that the UK has one of the biggest gambling markets in Europe, says a thing or two about the nature of the activity.

Whether or not DFS is a form of gambling is still something left to be decided. It is different from what the textbook definition of gambling looks like, that’s for sure. And the rest depends on the regulators on one hand, and the players on the other.

Pogba to miss Derby showdown

Manchester United will be without midfield ace Paul Pogba for the derby clash with City at Old Trafford next weekend after he was sent off in the 3-1 win at Arsenal.

Pogba was shown a straight red card 16 minutes from time at the Emirates Stadium, as his mistimed tackle saw him end up stamping on the leg of Gunners defender Hector Bellerin.

A three-match suspension is certain to follow, meaning that Pogba will have to sit out the crunch clash with the Citizens next weekend, having only recently returned to the United side after injury.

Boss Jose Mourinho was left a little disappointed in the decision to dismiss Pogba, telling MUTV: “I just know Paul is frustrated and a bit disappointed with his colleague Laurent Koscielny for his reaction. Everybody knows he is a clean player and it was not his intention, not at all, to be close to a red card.”

United are 23/10 to defeat Premier League leaders City next Sunday and are 11/1 to claim a 1-0 victory on home turf, with the Red Devils 10/1 to be crowned champions come the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Mourinho also heaped praised on goalkeeper David de Gea after he made a string of superb saves to ensure that the Red Devils left the capital with all three points.

The Portuguese added: “I told him after the match that what I saw today was the best goalkeeper in the world. You need the goalkeeper to be there for you when the team needs him.”

United are back in action on Tuesday evening when they play host to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

Premier League news courtesy of Bet365.

Five NFL hot shots you need to jettison from your fantasy squad

NFL Referees
NFL Referees (CC by 4.0) by Keith Allison

It came as something of a surprise this weekend to see that week eleven of the NFL was already upon us – where have those weeks gone? Of course, for anyone with a fantasy team, the playoffs are even closer than in real life. With a couple of weeks to go, many of us are in that all too familiar “all or nothing” struggle to make it over the line and into the postseason.

It is tempting at this stage to become superstitious and adopt the “don’t touch anything now” approach, but to stand the best chance, this is really the moment when you need to step back and reassess what is going to work best to get instant results.

Gambling it all on a playoff berth

When we get to this point in the season, it becomes a tunnel-visioned quest to make the playoffs. What came before is forgotten, and what will come afterwards is to be considered later. While fans study the odds at online sports betting and casino sites like the ones at http://www.casinosinuk.co.uk, team owners and head coaches are making tough decisions based on the here and now.

You need to do the same with your fantasy team. Remember, that playoff berth is all that matters, so it is time to get ruthless and cull some big names. Here are some stars who might have been logical choices at the start of the season, and might become so again next year, but will only be dragging you down right now.

1) Theo Riddick

A perfect example of a player that fantasy owners hang on to because he is “sure to come good.” The fact is, the Lions running back has only really come up with the goods once in the past nine weeks. It is time to make space.

2) CJ Anderson

Another RB who always promises much but in fantasy terms is something of a liability. Sure, he scored a great touchdown last week against the Bengals, but when was the last time he was in the end zone before that? Answer – it was back in week 3.

3) Hunter Henry

A good tight end can pay great dividends in a fantasy league. Make no mistake, Henry has talent by the ton, and is a favourite among fantasy owners. The truth is, though, he’s just not produced this year, and now is the time to admit he’s not going to.

4) Jordy Nelson

A controversial choice, perhaps. He’s certainly a receiver of rare quality, but from the moment Aaron Rogers was sidelined with a broken collarbone, the writing was on the wall. Five weeks on, it is painfully clear that Hundley / Nelson is never going to be Montana / Rice.

5) Jordan Matthews

The Bills are quietly imploding, but even if the quarterback situation had never happened, Matthews has slipped ever further down the pecking order over the past few weeks. Question marks over his fitness mean he could spend even more time on the bench in forthcoming games.

Manchester City fear Stones lay-off plus more EPL Injury News

Manchester City are worried they could be without defender John Stones for around six weeks after he limped out of the win at Leicester with a hamstring injury.

The Citizens made it 11 wins from 12 matches in the Premier League as they saw off the Foxes 2-0 at the King Power Stadium but the gloss was somewhat taken off the win by the sight of Stones limping off after 31 minutes.

Boss Pep Guardiola revealed after the game that an initial assessment suggested the England international would be out of action for between four and six weeks, much to his disappointment.

“It is unfortunate for us and for John and I think he might be out for six weeks with that type of injury,” Guardiola said.

“We don’t have a lot of central defenders, but the spirit in the team – and with all the players – is good so we are going to find a solution.

“It is tough because the calendar is so demanding.”

Guardiola has had defensive injury problems all season, losing left-back Benjamin Mendy to a serious knee problem early on, while Vincent Kompany has missed a large chunk of the campaign with a calf injury.

The Belgian centre-half played just his fourth game of the season against Leicester at the weekend and looked rusty early on when diving in to a challenge on Jamie Vardy.

Foxes boss Claude Puel felt Kompany should have been sent off but Guardiola was full of praise for his performance, claiming he was impressed given how little action he has seen recently.

“I am really impressed because he’s had more than two months injured and had one international game against Gibraltar, and to play at that level shows how strong he is in his mind,” said Guardiola.

“In the last part of last season he came in and helped us a lot. Vince is a little mystery and hopefully he can be fit for the coming games.”

With Stones now sidelined, Eliaquim Mangala made a rare start for City alongside Otamendi when they beat Feyenoord 1-0 in the Champions League last night.

Abraham injury adds to Swansea woes

Swansea face an anxious wait to discover the extent of Tammy Abraham’s back injury after he was stretchered off during the 2-0 loss at Burnley.

The 20-year-old struggled during the course of the second half and eventually had to be replaced on after the problem became too much to overcome.

The sight of the on-loan Chelsea striker leaving the field only made a bad day for manager Paul Clement and the travelling fans worse after they went down to defeat for the sixth time in seven matches Premier League matches.

The Welsh outfit are one from bottom in the standings, two points from safety, and are 4/9 to be relegated.

Abraham had been the one bright spark in a difficult campaign for the Swans, scoring four of the club’s seven Premier League goals this season.

Clement will be desperate to have his star striker available as soon as possible given their struggles in front of goal, the former Derby boss admitting they need to break their current losing habit as soon as possible.

“As a side, we are playing under our potential and I have to find a way to break this cycle. We have to find a way to grind out a win and get the best out of our players,” said Clement.

“We’re not getting the results at the moment but they’re not far away and I see no reason why those results won’t come against Bournemouth next week.”

Clement is a man under pressure after recent results and is in desperate need of a win when fellow struggles Bournemouth come to town.

Swansea are 13/8 to get the better of the Cherries next Saturday, while Eddie Howe’s men are 17/10 to come out on top at the Liberty Stadium. The draw is 11/5.

Chadli injury leaves Pulis fuming

West Brom are set to be without Nacer Chadli for the foreseeable future after he picked up a thigh injury on his return from international duty.

Chadli has barely featured for the Baggies in the Premier League this season but started both of Belgium’s friendlies against Mexico and Japan earlier this month.

Former Tottenham star Chadli suffered the injury in training on Thursday 16 November and he is very unhappy that the midfielder was so heavily involved in Belgium’s two matches.

The WBA Managaer said that “We’re very disappointed that Chadli’s come back, having played two games for Belgium,” he said. “He missed pre-season, we played him in a couple of games, but he didn’t feel 100 per cent fit.

“I think him going off to play for Belgium, and to play in the two games for the full 90 minutes in a short period of time, has unfortunately caught him out. He’s had a scan and he’s got a tear.”

Premier League injury news courtesy of Bet365.

Countdown to Russia 2018 – a couple of favourites, a couple of outsiders

DV1579521

“Portugal’s star player, Cristiano Ronaldo” (CC by 2.0) by Ajith Kumar

While for some countries the target of qualification for the 2018 World Cup next year has been met already, a few other nations are still facing two intense play-off games to determine the final participants. During this international break qualified nations like England, Brazil and hosts Russia will be starting their run-up to the World Cup with a couple of friendlies, while big names like Italy, Australia and Ivory Coast are still in contention. So for those worrying about the effects of FPL withdrawal, don’t, because there is plenty of edge-of-your-seat football coming up before the next Premier League matchday. In this article we’ll shine a light on some of the favourites as well as some of the outsiders for the World Cup title, from among the countries that have already secured their spot in Russia, along with their World Cup 2018 betting odds.

Favourite: Germany (5/1 odds)

A famous former player and current pundit once said “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win”. Of course, Mr. Lineker was exaggerating slightly, but he nevertheless has a point. Few nations have a richer World Cup history than the Germans do, who will, as a matter of fact, be defending their 2014 title in Russia. They’ve won the trophy four times already and they are definitely a top favourite to win it for a fifth time next year.

After a slightly disappointing Euro Cup run in 2016, in which the Germans were kicked out by France in the semis, coach Joachim Löw got his selection right back on track, resulting in a perfect qualifying phase (10 wins out of 10, with a record 43 goals scored) and a Confederations Cup title in 2017. Few coaches can pick from such a large and vastly talented pool of players like Löw can, with players like goalkeeper Neuer, Bayern icon Müller and City star Leroy Sané, just to name a few. There’s no doubt about it, Germany is aiming for the gold in Russia.

Favourite: Brazil (6/1 odds)

Has there been a World Cup in recent memory for which Brazil wasn’t among the favourites to win it? Probably not, and next year won’t be any different. The Selecão won the South American qualification group with authority, winning 12 games out of 18, garnering an impressive 41 points in the process and leaving number two Uruguay behind by 10 points.

After a disappointing campaign on their own ground in 2014, where they finished in fourth place after losing the last two games (semi-final and third place play-off) by 7-1 and 3-0 to respectively Germany and Holland, the Brazilians will be aiming to re-establish themselves as a global footballing superpower. With the likes of Coutinho, Dani Alves and Paulinho amongst a plethora of other talented players in their squad Brazil is capable of out playing any team on any given day. And of course there is Neymar, the world’s most expensive player who plies his trade in Paris since last summer and who will be fired up to show the world that he really is football’s best.

Outsider: England (20/1 odds)

Yes, we’re playing with fire here, because everyone knows that the more superlative the mood surrounding The Three Lions, the closer another international disappointment is as well, but one could have less cause to get enthusiastic. The Premier League is the most-watched league in the world, the England U-17’s just clinched their own World Cup and the Gareth Southgate’s squad contains more talent than most coaches could dream of. With the likes of Dele Alli, Harry Kane and John Stones not only England’s chances for glory in Russia look promising, but so does the future as a whole.

The English might not (yet) be at the same level as top favourites like Germany, Brazil or Spain, but a World Cup stands on its own. With a strong spirit in the team, a decent preparation and a winning start of the tournament there is no telling where the limits of this England squad could go.

Outsider: Portugal (20/1 odds)

Spain, Argentina, France – any of these countries could’ve easily been in this list, but for the article choices had to be made and it just seemed illogical to leave out European champions Portugal. The Portuguese under coach Fernando Santos has not seldom been criticized for their defensive and unspectacular style of playing, but the fact is that it brought them the Euro Cup in 2016, for the first time in their history, and they’re not going to change styles for the coming World Cup.

A Seleçcão combine a strong tactical discipline with a group of talented players in each zone (think of supertalent Renato Sanches, goalie Ederson and veteran Pepe, for example) and, of course, the undeniable talents of four time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. The upcoming World Cup might just be CR7’s last trick on the international stage with his country, so he’ll be motivated to the bone to add that title to his already overflowing list of trophies and conquests.

FPL 17/18 Gameweek 11 Preview – players on the watchlist

Harry Kane

Tottenham’s nr.10, Harry Kane” (CC by 4.0) by Brad Tutterow

When one of England’s most free-flowing teams hosts back-to-back European champions and historic European mainstays Real Madrid at Wembley, and the Spaniards in white are sent back home with a 3-1 thumping after 90 minutes, most FPL managers know its time to check their squads. When this team is Tottenham and their Premier League encounter this weekend is at home against Palace, you can expect the Spurs roster to be stormed before tonight’s deadline. The eleventh gameweek of the 17/18 season offers other interesting matches for FPL managers as well, including Newcastle versus Bournemouth and City hosting Arsenal. In this article we’ll shed a light on some potentially interesting transfer targets for the coming weekend. If however your attention is not focussed on football this weekend but you still wish to enjoy some online entertainment then try these top slot games.

Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur (£12.7m)

Not a very original way to start the list, not very much of a discovery and not very much of a differential player (Kane is in more than 33% of all teams in the official game), but simply inevitable at this point. Kane is in blistering form at the moment and despite not getting on the scoresheet on Wednesday against Real Madrid he played an excellent game, constantly leaning heavy on the Merengue defense and providing a lovely assist for Christian Eriksen’s 3-0.

There was a slight fear about Kane’s fitness after he was left out of the squad last weekend, but his 79 minutes against Real Madrid don’t only show that he’s fit again, they also give us reason to believe that Hurrikane will be starting against the Premier League’s ugly ducklings Crystal Palace coming Sunday. If you can afford it you should probably try to get Kane into your line-up and you might as well give him the captaincy while you’re at it.

Sterling/Sané/De Bruyne, Manchester City (£8.2m/£8.8m/£10.1)

The reason this pick consists of three names is Pep Guardiola, and his love for rotation and surprising (and for FPL managers often frustrating) tweaks to his formations. Each of the mentioned City midfielders played 90 minutes in one of the most entertaining European games of the past years against Napoli last Wednesday, so rotation risk for coming Sunday against Arsenal exists. Pep has nevertheless shown over the past PL games that he trusts these players to be able to perform twice a week, so the suggestion here, more than anything, is to keep a close eye on news coming from well-reputed City sources in regard to Sunday’s most probably line-up.

Sané registered 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 3 PL games, Sterling scored twice and assisted twice, and KDB provided three decisive passes over the same period. The City attack is red hot at the moment and despite several clean sheets most of us know that an Arsenal defense never boasts a very high reliability percentage. In other words, doubling up on City assets might be worth it this weekend.

Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle (£4.7m)

Back in gameweeks 4 and 5 Jamaal Lascelles was an absolute FPL star as he scored in consecutive weeks, including a 1-0 matchwinner away against Swansea, and even though the scoring has stopped he is still an interesting prospect, especially this weekend at home versus Bournemouth. Newcastle are ranked ninth in the table, but fifth when you look at the home results. They have won 3 out of 5 games so far, in which they only conceded four times. You know Benitez knows how to make a team defend, but still, not bad for a newly-promoted side.

Bournemouth on the other hand now only have Crystal Palace below them in the table and when looking at their away form we can see one of the reasons why. The Cherries have managed to take only 3 points from a possible 15 so far, and they’ve conceded 8 goals in the process. They are low on confidence and while they’re not leaking goals in the back their attack has been unpredictable to say the least.

Transferring in Lascelles is a bit of a gamble, but his chances of points at both ends of the pitch are real this weekend. Add to that the fact that the next three games are United away, Watford home and West Brom away, and you might just have found an ideal rotation player who can still get the points for your team.

Top of the Table Clashes This Weekend

The Premier League starts with an early kick off between Stoke City and Leicester City this weekend but much of the attention is on the Sunday afternoon fixtures.

Four of the top five teams meet in the Premier League on Sunday and leaders Manchester City will get things under way as they welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City have enjoyed a tremendous start to the 2017/18 season and added to their tally of exciting wins as they defeated Napoli 4-2 away from home in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

The Citizens have qualified from their Champions League group with two matches remaining and have opened a 5-point gap at the top of the Premier League.  Manchester City have won their last 8 Premier League games in a row and have not only been successful in terms of results but have been playing attacking football, which is good on the eye.

Arsenal have a job on their hands to pick anything up from this game, especially having played in the Europa League at Koln on Thursday.  Thankfully for the Gunners, it is a short journey and should they win the game, they will have booked their place in the next round of the tournament.

Arsenal will start this match 9 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League table and although it is still early days, a loss in this game would realistically end any lingering hopes Arsenal have of challenging for the title this season.

Arsene Wenger’s team have won only one of their last 5 away Premier League games and could find the back of the net at the Etihad Stadium but will struggle to prevent the hosts from scoring.  Expect to see goals when Manchester City are playing and with home advantage, this should be another 3 points for Guardiola and his players.

If Manchester City do claim maximum points, the pressure will be on their city rivals, Manchester United, to win 3 points at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.  This is the second of the huge top of the table Premier League clashes this weekend.

The Red Devils have a terrible recent record at Chelsea and have failed to win in their last 7 attempts in all competitions.

They will feel this is their chance to change that statistic, especially after the way Chelsea performed at Roma in mid-week, conceding 3 goals without reply.  Chelsea were poor defensively in that match and Antonio Conte will be working hard in training to ensure they are solid this weekend.

Unfortunately for the neutral, this could mean we are in for a tight match, as Jose Mourinho has already shown himself to be happy with a point when playing the top teams away from home in the Premier League.  A clean sheet is what Mourinho wants first and foremost and if Chelsea are also focusing on their defence after what happened on Tuesday night, this could be a very cagey game.

A point is no good for either team unless Arsenal defeat Manchester City in the earlier kick-off but that doesn’t mean they will be prepared to play open, attacking football.  Manchester United have scored 2 goals in their previous 6 visits to Stamford Bridge and it would be a surprise to see them score more than a single goal in this one.

Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping both Manchester clubs drop points this weekend, as they aim to reduce the deficit at the top of the table following their 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford last weekend.

Having tasted defeat to Manchester United, there was only one way to respond and Tottenham produced a magnificent display to beat defending champions Real Madrid 3-1 in the Champions League at Wembley.

This will see them make the short trip to Selhurst Park on Sunday full of confidence and believing they can win maximum points at bottom of the table Crystal Palace.

The Eagles picked up a point thanks to an injury-time winner against West Ham last weekend but will need to play well for the full 90 minutes if they are take anything from this match.

Tottenham have shown they can be held by teams this season, as both Burnley and Swansea City have taken a point against them but with the adrenaline running through their veins from Wednesday night, Tottenham should claim all 3 points.

At the bottom of the Premier League, Everton host Watford at Goodison Park.  The Toffees have been struggling this season and Watford have lost their last two league games, making this a tricky one to call.  Everton have won only one of their last 9 Premier League matches and have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 4 at home.

Watford will expect to get on the scoresheet in this game and could pile on further misery for Everton and whoever comes in to manage the club for the remainder of the season.

Moving to the Championship and the pick of the games must be the clash between Bristol City and Cardiff City at Aston Gate.

As everyone has established so far this season, the Premier league has been a closely fought contest, regardless of a team’s position in the table (bar perhaps Man City and Palace, respectively). This has made it difficult to consistently predict the outcome of matches, much to the delight of bookmakers.

An incredibly popular way to get around this is via a betting technique called matched betting, which guarantees profits from football matches, no matter the result. So even if Palace go and beat Man City you’d still win. Oddsmonkey are the best service for taking advantage of matched betting, but don’t just take my word for it. They’re reviewed extensively throughout the community, however check out the most comprehensive review from TeamProfit.com

The Bluebirds start his match second in the Championship table, a point off the leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers following their 3-1 victory over Ipswich Town in mid-week. Bristol City also won impressively on Tuesday night, defeating Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage.

However, Bristol City suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat in their last home Championship match against Leeds United and Cardiff City have enjoyed some good away wins recently, defeating Sunderland and Middlesbrough 1-0.

In 6 of the last 8 meetings between the teams in the Championship, both have scored and with a passionate atmosphere at Aston Gate, we could be in for a thrilling game.  Recently, it has only been local pride which has been at stake when these teams have met but promotion to the Premier League appears to be a real possibility for both this season.

Bristol City have failed to defeat Cardiff City in their last 5 attempts and may be forced to wait a little longer for a win. Under Neil Warnock the Bluebirds have become difficult to beat and should at least claim a point from this match.

There is so much to look forward to in the Premier League and Championship this weekend.  Will Manchester City extend their lead at the top, can Everton climb out of the relegation zone and will Cardiff City get one over on their English rivals in search for promotion?

Mourinho reveals Pogba uncertainty

Jose Mourinho has again revealed that he does not know when Paul Pogba will return to the Manchester United line-up.

The 24-year-old France international midfielder has not been seen since suffering a hamstring injury on 12th September and he has already missed the Red Devils’ last 10 games in all competitions.

I have no idea. Honestly. I am not in control of his recovery process. He is not training with me. He is on individual work.

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho revealed at the time that Pogba was facing a long-term lay-off and, despite encouraging progress reports over the past month, the Portuguese tactician is still unsure when he will be available for selection.

When asked if he could play ahead of next month’s international break, he said: “Again, I have no idea. Honestly. I am not in control of his recovery process. He is not training with me. He is on individual work.

“For example, Marcos Rojo is working with me, with certain conditions, and I would expect him to be ready to play after the international break. I can predict that. But Paul, I have no idea.”

It means Pogba will definitely miss United’s next game against Benfica in the Champions League at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening which they are 7/20 to win.

The Portuguese outfit are priced at 10/1 and the draw is available at 17/4 with Bet365.

Potential football signings to look out for

Although the Premier League season is already well underway, there is plenty of speculation about which players might be planning to switch teams in the coming months.

Danny Ings is one star who has been receiving plenty of interest from several clubs. The Liverpool forward struggled with an injury to his right knee for much of last season, and it seems as though the club may place Ings on loan in January 2018.

Crystal Palace have already expressed a firm interest in snapping up the striker. But with promising Championship clubs like Leeds United and Hull City also giving Ings plenty of attention, it seems as though he will definitely get a second chance after his devastating injury.

We’ve seen plenty of German stars like Mesut Ozil successfully making the switch from the Bundesliga to the Premier League. And it seems that Marco Reus could be the next German star to come the UK, as both Arsenal and Manchester United have hinted that they could give the Borussia Dortmund midfielder a Premier League home.

Similarly, it seems as though the ex-Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel could be lined up for replacing Ronald Koeman in the coach’s role at Everton. Whilst the club would have a lot to do in order to improve their odds to win the Premier League, it’s clear that they could use Tuchel’s managerial expertise.

Julian Nagelsmann is another Bundesliga coach who could be coming to the aid of a struggling Premier League club. The young coaching star was one of the best things that has happened to Hoffenheim in the past few years, but it seems that West Ham are making real efforts to prise Nagelsmann away in order to save their Premier League aspirations.

But it’s not just our struggling Premier League clubs who are getting caught up in some transfer fever. It’s almost inconceivable to imagine Tottenham without Harry Kane, but Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Perez, has already put a price tag of over £200 million on the striker. Such a move would undoubtedly affect Tottenham’s chances in the Champions League as Kane has been highlighted as one of the key scorers in this epic footballing tournament.

Liverpool could be looking to boost their goalscoring power by signing the Paris St-Germain star forward, Julian Draxlerif. This could be part of a trade deal with the French side who have expressed an interest in taking Philippe Coutinho away from Anfield, although Barcelona have also made efforts to sign the highly rated Brazilian midfielder.

And whilst Arsenal fans await the outcome of Arsene Wenger’s meeting with the Arsenal board this week, they face the troubling prospect of losing Mesut Ozil next year. The German star has already hinted that he would only be interested in leaving to play for massive clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United.

All of which shows how the behind-the-scenes transfer speculation is almost as dramatic as the action that takes place on pitch.