NFL 2021 Halfway Mark: Assessing the Leading Super Bowl Contenders

The extended season of the NFL has reached the halfway segment, with the trade deadline passed, long-term injuries taking hold, and teams’ qualities laid out for all to see. Coming into the season, it was all about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers returning with their Super Bowl-winning roster, as well as the Kansas City Chiefs still being an almighty unit.

However, with several weeks of action in the books, the narrative has changed somewhat. New contenders have risen to the fore, others have clearly struggled, and the eventual winners of the Super Bowl looks to be anyone’s guess at this point.

Frontrunners for Super Bowl LVI

As is almost always the case – with the exceptions being when a team tears up the roster over the offseason – the reigning champions came into the 2021 NFL season as the frontrunners. After their showings so far this season, there’s little reason to doubt that this Buccaneers team can do it all over again. Better still, during their Week 10 Bye, quarterback Tom Brady got to sit back and watch the Cowboys, Packers, Rams, and Saints lose.

The Buccaneers do have quite the war the wage in the NFC South, with the New Orleans Saints taking a win from them, the Atlanta Falcons refusing to go away quietly, and the Carolina Panthers primed to improve with Christian McCaffery back. Still, with Brady, the superb offensive line, three top-class receivers, and perhaps the best linebacker duo in the NFL, the Bucs are set to take the divisional crown.

Where it gets a bit more interesting is in the case of Tampa Bay’s fellow favourites for Super Bowl LVI: the Buffalo Bills. They have an undisputedly talented roster, which is why they’re deservedly put down as the joint-favourites in the NFL betting at 6/1, alongside the Bucs. However, their 5-3 record says otherwise. In the AFC East, the Bills should still ease to the playoffs, but performances against the Jags and Dolphins are troubling.

Dark horse contenders looking better than the frontrunners

Undoubtedly, the most impressive team of the NFL season so far has been the Arizona Cardinals. With a high-powered offence and a menacing defence on the other side of the ball, the Cards are a real force this season. In fact, even when Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins missed their first games as Cardinals, along with AJ Green, Kevin Peterson, and James Wiggins, they still managed to thump the San Francisco 49ers 31-17.

While not quite to the same extent, the Los Angeles Rams have certainly thrown their hats into the equation on star power alone. A new-look offence backed up by some of the most renowned weapons on defence make the Rams automatic contenders. Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp have become one of the best offensive duos in the NFL, while they added Von Miller to the likes of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey at the trade deadline.

Arizona and the LA Rams are currently within touching distance of the frontrunners, in terms of the ratings of the oddsmakers – at 8/1 and 9/1, respectively – but by Week 10, both had superior records to the Bucs and Bills. While there are wild-card places up for grabs, perhaps the biggest issue for them both is that they compete in the NFC West. The Cards won their first head-to-head, with the next being on 14 December.

Given the rosters at their disposal, the Bills and Bucs should be rated as highly as they are, but the Cardinals and Rams are certainly proving to be dark horse contenders at the halfway stage.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 11 preview

After a downpour of hauls and the season’s second-highest average score in gameweek 9, gameweek 10 was a completely different experience. With Mo Salah not scoring for once (though he did assist), the FPL differentials took the power once again as Cristiano Ronaldo and Reece James were the only players with an ownership of more than 10% to make it into GW10’s Team of the Week. On the flipside, no less than six of last weekend’s outstanding performers currently still boast an ownership of less than 5% with four of them sitting in less than 2% of all teams. While James recorded the highest score of the week (21 FPL points), courtesy of 2 goals and a clean sheet, the likes of Gabriel (15 points, owned by 1.7%), Matthew Lowton (14 points, owned by 1.7%) and Declan Rice (13 points, owned by 5.1%) provided big as well for the few fortunate managers who own them.

This weekend could end up being another unpredictable and possibly low-scoring affair in terms of FPL. On Saturday, it’s the Manchester derby at Old Trafford at 12:30pm, while on Sunday, Liverpool (at West Ham), Leicester (at Leeds) and Spurs (at Everton) are all up for potentially tricky outings. In terms of the traditional top sides, Chelsea and Arsenal do present interesting fixtures by hosting Burnley and Watford, respectively. The home games of Southampton (vs Aston Villa), Brentford (vs Norwich), Crystal Palace (vs Wolves) and Brighton (vs Newcastle) all look winnable for the home sides (only 2 of the 10 fixtures in GW9 were home wins!), but the results might just as easily go the other way, in our opinion.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 11 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, November 5th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per November 5th, 2021)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKRaya (BRE), Schmeichel (LEI), Ederson (MCI)Ramsdale (ARS), Mendy (CHE), Sánchez (BRI)
DEFAlonso (CHE), Dias (MCI), Azpilicueta (CHE)James (CHE), Chilwell (CHE), Livramento (SOU)Chelsea defensive rotation
MIDKovacic (CHE), Mount (CHE), Sarr (WAT)Smith-Rowe (ARS), Gallagher (CRY), Son (TOT)Kovacic injury doubt, ESR and Gallagher form, Conte arrival at Spurs
FORIngs (SOU), Lukaku (CHE), Antonio (WHU)Toney (BRE), Hwang & Jimenez (WOL) & Ronaldo (MUN)Ings and Lukaku injury doubts, Toney fixtures, Hwang & Jimenez form

Premium pick

Since Salah failed to score last weekend for the first time since his blank in gameweek 2, we are immediately removing him from our recommendations. He’s over. That’s a joke, of course, the Egyptian provided an assist against Brighton for his 17th return of the season and remains the most reliable FPL asset out there, including for his upcoming away game with West Ham. For the sake of variation though, and because decent form and a good fixture seem to be coinciding for him at the moment, our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 11 is Pierre-Emerick Aubaneyang (£10.0m). The Arsenal forward had a slow start to the season, but seems to be finding his place in Mikel Arteta’s improving squad. He scored 4 goals and gave 1 assist in his last seven games for a total of 37 FPL points or just over 5.5 points per game. Not amazing for a player with his price tag, but definitely not bad either. Up next are Watford at the Emirates, followed by Liverpool away and then Newcastle at home, which looks like a run over which Auba could bring the 5.4% of managers who own him considerable joy.

Non-premium pick

Mason Mount (£7.5m) missed last weekend’s clash with Newcastle at the very last minute due to non-COVID19-related illness, which will have had more than a few fantasy managers fuming, but the English midfielder is set to return this weekend. He had initially travelled with the team to Newcastle, but was then sent home to recover and he was also left out of the mid-week squad that visited Malmö in the Champions League. Mount is a key figure for this Chelsea side and in the absence of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, is attacking creativity is much needed. Injury issues have kept his season from really taking off so far, but in the three games that he could start so far this season, he recorded 3 goals and 3 assists. Two of those assists came in gameweeks 1 and 2, while the rest of his returns formed his 24-point mega haul against Norwich in gameweek 9. Even though Burnley are considerably sturdier than the Canaries, especially in defence, this weekend’s game should be three points in the bag for the Blues and the hope is that Mount can contribute to such a result. Keep an eye on Chelsea team news.

The budget enabler

It’s hard to remember the last time we mentioned TWO Arsenal fantasy assets in the same gameweek preview article, but here we are. After highlighting Aubameyang’s potential as a premium pick, we have now come to the budget-enabler category with Emile Smith-Rowe (£5.6m). Over the past two games, the 21-year old midfielder recorded 22 FPL points, courtesy of a goal and an assist against Villa in GW9 followed by a goal at Leicester last weekend. This brought his totals to 3 goals, 2 assists and 49 FPL points from nine starts, which represents incredibly good value when taking his price tag into consideration. ESR ranks amongst the top-two Arsenal assets for several important attacking indicators, including shots in the box, shots on target and big chances creates. This bodes well for him as the Gunners take on Watford at home next. Since Claudio Ranieri took over at Vicarage Road, the Hornets have conceded 8 goals and they still have not managed to keep a clean sheet this Premier League season. Like the case with Auba, this fixture looks juicy for Smith-Rowe, with the added bonus of Newcastle at home in gameweek 13 (after an away game at Anfield).

The differential

Now this is a bit of a punt and with “bit”, we mean that it’s a pretty big gamble when looking at the season so far. Harry Kane (£12.1m) does not only have just 1 goal and 1 assist to his name so far, he also carries a very premium price tag, which is not really a combination of factors you’d favour when looking for new recruits for your FPL squad. The “punt” part of this pick comes from the fact that Tottenham’s away game against Everton will also be Antonio Conte’s first game in charge of Spurs. Very much remains to be seen when it comes to the Italian’s ideas for his new side and his the extent of his arrival’s impact on the club, but Kane looks set to be an integral part of whatever comes next at White Hart Lane. In that sense, the visit to Goodison Park could be a great beginning of a new era, as the Toffees are finding themselves in a bit of a slump at the moment. Rafa Benitez’ men have lost their last three league games and conceded 8 goals over that run, while important figures like Lucas Digne, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Abdelaye Doucouré all remain sidelined with injuries. It might just be the moment to hop aboard the Kane train early (his ownership is at 6.6% at the moment of writing), before it takes off on a very appealing run of fixtures (if you have 2 transfers to use this week and no real need to make one then consider transferring a benched player for a Spurs player due to their fixtures from GW12 and the new-manager bounce factor).

The (vice-)captaincy

Seeing as about 99.9% of FPL managers will again be captaining Mo Salah this weekend for Liverpool’s visit to West Ham, we figured we’d approach our usual captaincy segment a bit differently this time. Instead of focusing on recommendations for the captaincy (Salah, obviously), we’ll take a quick look at some interesting and, most importantly, wise picks for the vice-captaincy. Salah did play 90 minutes in Liverpool’s mid-week victory over Atlético de Madrid, after all.

For those who can afford this type of team structure, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be a more than decent pick for the vice-captaincy as Arsenal host Watford on Saturday. Much of the same goes for Chelsea’s Kai Havertz for the home encounter with Burnley and Leicester’s Jamie Vardy for the visit to Elland Road. Riskier, but also more affordable vice-captains for gameweek 11 include Brentford’s Ivan Toney against Norwich at home, Brighton’s Leandro Trossard or Neal Maupay versus Newcastle at home, and Chelsea creator Mason Mount, on condition that he is declared fit before the Burnley game.

Discuss your FPL opinions on FISO’s Fantasy Premier League forum.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 10 preview

With an average of no less than 64 points, gameweek 9 was about as action-packed as they come in the Fantasy Premier League. What greatly added to the excitement (and disappointment, depending on your squad) was the fact that, while more than a few decently owned assets delivered, the only real premium pick to haul was Mo Salah. And he didn’t just haul, he HAULED. Three goals, one assist, a clean sheet and three bonus points at Old Trafford were good for 24 FPL points, making him the first player to cross the 100-point threshold in the 2021/22 campaign.

Incredibly though, the Egyptian wasn’t the only player to record a 24-pointer, because a day earlier, Mason Mount faced Norwich at the Bridge, which resulted in exactly the same haul for the academy graduate. Other big-time stand-out performers were Man City’s Phil Foden with 18 FPL points, courtesy of a brace plus an assist, Watford’s Joshua King with 16 points, thanks to a hattrick at Goodison Park, and last weekend’s true differential Maxwell Cornet, who scored twice for Burnley against Southampton for 15 FPL points. The former Lyon man is currently owned by 0.3% of managers and preparing for a good run of fixtures on paper. Anyway, on to the coming weekend!

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 10 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, October 30th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per October 28th, 2021)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKRaya (BRE), Schmeichel (LEI), Lloris (TOT)Mendy (CHE), Martinez (AST), Foster (WAT)Raya injury
DEFAlonso (CHE), Shaw (MUN), Azpilicueta (CHE)Chilwell (CHE), Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Rüdiger (CHE)Alonso rotation, Azpi injury, Chelsea defensive solidity
MIDPogba (MUN), Raphinha (LEE), Fernandes (MUN)Mount (CHE), Foden (MCI), Salah (LIV)Good GW9 for transferred-in players, Salah red hot, Pogba red card, Raphinha injury doubt
FORLukaku (CHE), Ronaldo (MUN), Vardy (LEI)Antonio (WHU), Hwang (WOL), Vardy (LEI)Lukaku and Vardy injury doubts, Antonio ongoing form, Hwang form+budget

Premium pick

Look, we know it’s becoming repetitive, but it’s our goal to provide you every week with the best possible advice to help you form a winning squad in the official Fantasy Premier League game. That’s why we can’t possibly justify not picking Mo Salah (£12.9m) as our premium fantasy pick of the week once again. The Liverpool star might just be in the best form of his life at the moment and that’s saying a lot about the highest-scoring, most consistent FPL performer of the past few seasons. He bagged a scandalous 24 points against arch rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, helping him to become the first player to score 100 FPL points this season, and settling his current totals at 10 goals and 6 assists from nine league games. That’s just under 12 points per game. Up next are Brighton, who are having the best Premier League start in the club’s history, at Anfield and even though the Seagulls have been defensively solid in general this campaign, we can really only see this one going one way. Man City put four past Graham Potter’s men last weekend and a similar scenario could unfold in Liverpool thus coming Saturday, with Salah most likely smack in the middle of it all.

Non-premium pick

Mason Mount (£7.5m) is back. After a busy summer, a slow start to the season and some injury niggles, the England international announced his return in style after earning his first starting spot since gameweek 5 and making the most of it by scoring the first Premier League hattrick of his career. Opponents Norwich were no match for the Blues as they cruised to a 7-0 victory and in the absence of the injured Lukaku and Werner, it was Mount who took the spotlight. You might think that this pick smells a bit like points chasing, but that’s not the case here. The 22-year old midfielder is an integral part of Thomas Tuchel’s attacking set-up as he adds a certain amount of creativity and depth to a part of the pitch where Chelsea were perhaps lacking in previous games. He was initially rested for Tuesday’s League Cup encounter with Southampton, but came on in the 67th minute to end up playing added time as well. Nevertheless, we expect him to line up from the start again this coming Saturday when Chelsea visit struggling Newcastle, where another attacking return or two could be waiting around the corner.

The budget enabler

The cruciate knee ligament injury to Brentford goalkeeper David Raya has caused a bit of a stir in the FPL goalkeeper category. The Spaniard was owned by about 12% of managers before news of his injury was announced, a development that took one of the game’s most interesting budget goalkeepers out of the equation at once. One player who has seen his stock rise as a result of Raya’s bad luck is Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster (£4.0m). When looking at Watford’s performances so far this season, it’s clear what kind of value the English veteran offers. What you’re getting with Foster is a strong budget-enabler who is a sure starter for his side. He has been in the starting eleven since gameweek 5 and his only returns so far have been 3 save points, but he plays and offers you at least an additional half million to invest elsewhere in your squad, and 0.6m is you’re swapping him in for Raya. The Hornets are playing Southampton at home this weekend, a decent fixture that they’ll be looking to win. The hope is that new manager Claudio Ranieri can work his magic at Vicarage Road and who knows, our 4.0m-goalie might even start delivering the odd clean sheet from time to time as well.

The differential

Perhaps symbolic for this season so far is the fact that we are recommending Harry Kane (£12.1m) as a stand-out differential in the build-up to gameweek 10. After a noisy summer and a less than optimal start to the season off the pitch, which undoubtedly had its knock-on effects on performances on the pitch, Tottenham’s very own just has a single goal and a single assist to his name this campaign. Both of those returns came against a Newcastle side in disarray back in GW8. That probably explains his current 6.6% ownership and why he has been demoted to the differential category, at least for the time being. Up next are Manchester United at home, which normally would not be an ideal fixture for a player clearly in search of his best form, but this is not a normal season. The Red Devils are not turning up for games at the moment and the 0-5 thrashing in front of their own crowd at the hands of historic rivals Liverpool is not likely to have helped their situation much. The United defence looked suspect, to such a point that we feel this might just be a blessing in United red disguise for Kane. The England striker is, of course, still lethal and a forward of his pedigree is probably the last thing United’s defenders want to face right now, even if he’s part of a Tottenham side that is not firing on all cylinders yet, either.

The captaincy

It’s Mo Salah. We like to think and to analyse and to find those gems in the official game, but sometimes, it’s better to keep it simple. To not overthink. This is one of those times. Liverpool are hosting Brighton at home and even though the Seagulls will surely put up a good fight, it’s bordering the impossible to not captain Salah for this one, based on current form and recent hauls. There are decent alternatives, sure, but let’s put it this way: ignore Salah at your own peril.

Now, about those alternatives, if you must. Reigning champions Manchester City are playing at home to Crystal Palace, which should end in a comfortable victory for Pep Guardiola’s men. Phil Foden is the one to watch, while the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Kevin de Bruyne appeal as well. The ghost of rotation remains ever-present, though. Chelsea are visiting Newcastle, which brings Mason Mount and Kai Havertz (yep, even after his disappointing three-pointer against Norwich) into the picture. Raphinha away against Norwich could be a slightly riskier, but potentially rewarding pick as well, just like Michail Antonio at Villa Park on Sunday and Harry Kane versus Manchester United.

Discuss your FPL opinions on FISO’s Fantasy Premier League forum.

Trustfactory – Artikelplatz TF – Limits and Licenses of Online Casinos

(Source: https://www.pexels.com/de-de/foto/hande-kasino-gluck-spiel-6664205/)

Limits and Licenses of Online Casinos

Gambling licenses are one, if not the most important, tool in finding a safe online casino. They help us relax when gambling online by providing a set of rules tied to the responsible gambling regulator that the casino has to follow. If and which license an online casino chooses, is their choice. We as a potential gambler have to choose which license seems trustworthy to us or which regulations are too restrictive for our taste. Here’s a quick overview on casino licenses and how they limit online gambling.

How To Spot A Licensed Online Casino

If you are looking for a new online casino, the website will most likely present their license and legislator or a link to that information somewhere on the front page. If you cannot find info about a license or if it is hard to find, that might be things that should make you wary of that specific site.

Online reviews like the ones on Casinomeister help you figure out if a casino is trustworthy or not. The online gambling community tests casinos and collects user reviews to make sure a casino has appropriate quality and safety standards. On these review sites you will also find the information on which license an online casino has, where it is based and which games, features, and safety measures you will find on the site in question.

On International Gambling Law

There is no such thing as international gambling law. Most countries come up with their own legislation on the topic. If you look at a union like the EU, there are some other power structures in play. The EU has its own court on top of each country’s legislation. Therefore, each EU-member has to consider the EU-laws as well as their own, and they don’t always agree. That makes some legality questions difficult to answer, because many processes take time till they get implemented for good.

While online gambling was still illegal according to German law, the EU-legislation allowed it when the provider had a license by an EU-country. Since July 2021, online gambling is legalized in Germany, if the provider has a German license. But still, after years of legality limbo, EU-licensed casinos offer their websites to German citizens, and it will take some time till the difference between EU- and German law will sort itself out.

License differences

If you wonder why casinos don’t just choose to apply to the German license to make their legality in Germany official, it is because of their strict licensing regulations. Germany has a strong focus on child protection and the prevention of gambling addiction. To realize this in their license, they have implemented many limits on the most addictive parts of online gambling. Their rules include:

  • a monthly maximum deposit of €1.000 across all gambling websites
  • a panic button that allows you to ban yourself for 24h across all gambling websites
  • a minimum spin time of 5 seconds per slot spin
  • a maximum of €1 bet per slot spin
  • no autoplay feature

To put some of these in play, they have created an exclusion-system called ‘Oasis’. Every casino licensed in Germany has to use it and check their players’ status in the system. If they are banned or have already reached their monthly deposit limit, they will not be allowed access to the website.

While these are admirable and important rules, naturally not every casino or player wants to limit themselves in this way. Many players choose to look for casinos with other countries’ licenses instead. Most famous for their relaxed regulations is the Curacao-license, which has a large fan following in online gamblers that feel patronized by other licenses.

Conclusion

Licenses are an important tool in figuring out which casino to trust with your personal data and money. Without a license, a casino does not have to commit to gambling legislations and could easily be a scam site. A casino with license has to provide certain standards of safety and quality and continuously prove that they keep up with the regulations. Not all licenses follow the same rules. While they all provide a safe online gambling experience, some are stricter than others. It is often the player’s choice, which rule set they find important.

How Sports Betting Trends are Reshaping the Industry

The betting industry is always evolving. Trends in sports betting come and go. Sports will gain and lose popularity as a result of publicity or the natural cycle of the sports calendar.

What was popular in 2018 isn’t the same in 2021, and the same trend is likely to continue in future. Will people want to gamble with their buddies even more? How will bookmakers respond to the pandemic that has altered the sports betting environment since the turn of the century?

Top brands in the larger betting and casino industry, such as vWin, one of the leading bookmakers in Asia, are adopting new models to enhance user experience. From advanced technologies of following football scores online, to data analytics, we look at how some of these trends are impacting the industry.

More live streams 

Rather than sifting through pop-up-ridden websites in search of a shady feed, gamblers may now go to a bookmaker’s website and watch a variety of events. Bookies have been in the live streaming industry for years, from horse racing to lacrosse, but it appears that they are extending that portion of their service.

eSports are gaining popularity

What is the maximum size that eSports can grow to? Millions of cash are already available for the finest in the world. eSports betting has gained in popularity in recent years, but we’re still a long way from seeing an eSports event featured in one of our greatest sports betting surprises.

During the lockdown days of 2020, esports thrived. When stadiums are empty or other leagues are suspended, a sport that can be enjoyed from the comfort of one’s own home is ideal. As a result, a new generation of eSports enthusiasts has emerged.

Any new notion is received with scepticism, but those who doubt its validity are matched by others who are enthusiastic about it.

As the year 2021 wears out, esports will be a significant part of the sports betting scene. Only time will tell how much space for expansion there is, but the viewership numbers for the top events in 2021 indicate that esports may have a great future.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Although the application of AI and machine learning to automate betting odds is still in its infancy, we expect significant advancements in the near future. Large amounts of sports data are easily available, making AI an excellent tool for evaluating the richness of data and predicting athletic events with remarkable accuracy. Systems that learn from experience may be built to continuously improve algorithms and efficiently automate the complicated process of determining gambling chances.

Crypto-based betting

One of the benefits of crypto-based betting is that it does not require the involvement of a third party, unlike traditional banking methods, and it also has reduced payout costs. More transparency with provably fair games, easier, quicker, and cheaper transfers, and operational efficiency for operators are all advantages of crypto-driven betting.  Many sportsbooks now accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

Big Data and analytics

Data is king in the world of sports. When it comes to sports betting, it’s no different. For both sportsbooks and bettors, data is at the heart of the game’s mechanics. The more advanced an analytics technique is, the better a sportsbook’s odds and income may be generated.

Can artificial intelligence help you beat the odds? Regrettably, probably not, at least not on a regular basis. However, this hasn’t prevented some organizations from trying it.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 9 preview

FPL things were looking good this week with popular players like Raphinha and Antonio Rüdiger becoming available for their respective teams again. But then Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel decided that it was a good idea to start his only true number nine, the physically overloaded Romelu Lukaku, against Swedish Champions League giants Malmö. A mere 23 minutes later, just after winning the penalty for Chelsea’s decisive 2-0, the Belgian hobbled off the pitch with an ankle injury and will now be “out for some games”, according to Tuchel right after the game. Panic for just under 40% of FPL managers and probably a lot of Wildcard activations as well. Timo Werner then was next to leave the pitch injured although less of a worry for FPL managers but does press the claims of Havertz over the next 2 or 3 games.

Anyone with Big Rom in their fantasy squad had been eyeing the upcoming home fixture against Norwich as THE stand-out fixture, but that’s all down the drain now. Whilst the encounter at Stamford Bridge should still be on top of your FPL agenda, the rest of this weekend’s fixtures will draw more attention now as well. Fortunately, with favourable match-ups like Everton versus Watford at Goodison Park, Southampton at home against Burnley, and a potentially high-scoring game between West Ham and Spurs, gameweek 9 offers some alternatives. Then again, with Manchester City visiting high-flying Brighton on Saturday evening and Liverpool visiting Old Trafford on Sunday, the upcoming round feels like one of the most unpredictable ones of the 2021/22 season to date, at least from a fantasy point of view.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 9 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, October 22nd.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per October 21st, 2021)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKLloris (TOT), De Gea (MUN), Schmeichel (LEI)Mendy (CHE), Raya (BRE), Foster (WAT)
DEFAlonso (CHE), Rüdiger (CHE), Shaw (MUN)Chilwell (CHE), Azpilicueta (CHE), Cancelo (MCI)Chelsea upcoming fixtures, Chilwell/Alonso rotation, Man City defensive strength
MIDJota (LIV), Pogba (MUN), Grealish (MCI)Townsend (EVE), Salah (LIV), Son (TOT)Salah and Son form, Jota rotation
FORRonaldo (MUN), Lukaku (CHE), Antonio (WHU)Vardy (LEI), Toney (BRE), Lukaku (CHE)Wednesday evening’s Lukaku injury, Vardy ongoing returns, Toney upcoming fixtures

Premium pick

In our intro, we mentioned GW9 as looking very unpredictable in terms of fantasy football. Combine that with the stand-out premium and captaincy pick for the gameweek now missing out through injury and there really remains just one thing to do. Stop, think, and retreat to the familiar, to what you know, to the reliable. In other words, Mo Salah (£12.8m). The Egyptian has been on another level this season and currently tops the Premier League scoring chart with 7 goals. To give you an idea of his consistency: Salah only failed to score back in gameweek 2. Add to that his current 5 assists and it’s no surprise at all that he is also the highest-scoring asset in FPL with 83 points. That’s an average of just over 10 FPL points per league game, in case you hadn’t noticed. His fixture this weekend is not ideal with an away game against Manchester United, but the Red Devils are far from solid at the moment. Our feeling? Don’t overthink it in these uncertain fantasy times and go with Liverpool’s talisman.

Non-premium pick

Lukaku being unavailable for the Norwich game at Stamford Bridge does not mean that we should just discard the Blues right away, though. Far from it. While the attacking set-up is more of a guessing game for Saturday’s game, their defence offers lots of potential. Before his short bout in the sidelines that caused him to miss the GW encounter with Brentford, Antonio Rüdiger (£5.8m) had not missed a single minute of Premier League football yet this season. The German international returned to fitness in style with a clean sheet and 90 minutes in the Champions League game against Malmö this week, and we’re expecting a similar result for him against Norwich this weekend. The Canaries have been defensively resilient of late, but toothless up front, scoring just a single goal in their last five league games. The likes of Marcos Alonso, Ben Chilwell and Reece James might offer more excitement, but we’re going with Rüdiger’s certainty of starts this time.

The budget enabler

Our budget enabler of the week is a bit of a punt and you could probably leave the “a bit” part out. Why? Because he plays right-back for a currently rudderless Newcastle side. The Magpies have taken three points from eight games so far, they boast the leakiest defence in the league with 19 conceded goals, and manager Steve Bruce has just been sacked. Have we convinced you yet of considering Javier Manquillo (£4.0m) for your squad? Probably not, but we have our reasons for recommending the Spaniard as a stand-out budget enabler. He seems to have nailed down the right-back spot and actually has provided an assist in consecutive games now, against Wolves and Spurs. His price tag makes him an ideal fifth defender for most FPL squads and the upcoming fixtures give some reason for optimism. Over the next seven games, Newcastle are facing Brentford, Norwich and Burnley (at home) and Crystal Palace and Brighton away. We’re not expecting Manquillo to join the Golden Boot race all of a sudden, but he could represent decent budget-enabling value on the medium to long term.

The differential

Romelu Lukaku wasn’t Chelsea’s only injury victim on Wednesday night. Timo Werner also saw his game cut short and was substituted in the 44th minute, which suddenly leaves the Blues with a selection issue up front. In the official fantasy game, there are currently no fit Chelsea forwards available, which means that a midfielder will be featuring up front against Norwich on Saturday and we’re thinking it will be Kai Havertz (£8.1m). The German international replaced Lukaku as a false number nine against Malmö and made the most of the opportunity by scoring their third goal just after the break. Havertz has been a fringe player for the most part of the league so far, with just 317 playing minutes and a single goal to his name, but with Lukaku and Werner out of action, he could end up being an enormous differential this weekend. His ownership sits at just 4% at the moment and he looks like a sure starter against the Canaries, a game that Chelsea will dominate and should win comfortably.

The captaincy

We’ve said before and we’ll say it again: Mo Salah aka Mr. Reliable aka Mr. consistency will be our FPL captain for gameweek 9. It’s true that the away game against Manchester United counts as a tough fixture on paper, but the Red Devils are not in fine form. Their mid-week Champions League clash at home against Atalanta Bergamo saw them concede two goals before turning it around and winning it 3-2, thanks to a Ronaldo header in the 81st minute, while an up-and-down Leicester side put four past the United defence in gameweek 8 for their 4-2 victory over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.

Still, if you feel that Old Trafford is too much of a challenge for Salah, there are a few other interesting options available as well. The likes of Kai Havertz and Mason Mount could haul at home against Norwich, while Kevin de Bruyne could and should be influential for Manchester City at Brighton. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son have picked up some form and will be travelling to West Ham, who have kept just a single clean sheet in the league so far. For the real punters, Demarai Gray at home against Watford, a fully rested Raphinha at home versus Wolves, or indeed the inevitable Michail Antonio at home versus Spurs could bring serious differential captaincy joy.

Australian betting and its popularity among the population

Australia is considered one of the most gambling countries in the world, because the sports industry here is very well developed and all kinds of sports are present.  This gives an impetus to the development of new kinds of bets and bookmakers. 

The Prevalence of Sports Betting in Australia and Its Features

Betting on sports has long been part of Australian culture. This activity brings a lot of pleasure and unforgettable emotions. According to official data, in 2015 the total amount of bets on sports exceeded 27 billion, which was an absolute record. The Australians are an extremely gambling nation, which surpassed even the British in their addiction. There has been a keen interest in betting here since a long time ago, when it was illegal. In those times there was an active struggle against this promptly developing industry, but nobody could overcome people’s excitement, that is why in the 80-ies the government decided to legalize betting. This was the starting point from which betting started to flourish. Today the most popular are online bets on sports, it has become much more convenient and accessible with the development of technology. It gives an opportunity to australian online bookmakers to deploy their activities and earn real money. 

Features of Betting in Australia 

Despite the fact that betting is officially legalised in Australia, there are still some restrictions. First of all, it is related to territorial division. Each of the Australian states has its own attitude to betting and certain laws concerning the regulation of bookmakers. In the northern part of the state, online betting was legalized back in 1996. This was the beginning of the explosive growth of betting shops and the emergence of new betting sites. It is important to note that the government has a very negative attitude to betting in live mode, so they were strictly prohibited. Today, almost everyone uses the online format to bet on their favorite athlete or team. Staying within the legal framework, betting companies keep the public’s gambling spirit alive and offer new betting options. Bookmakers pay taxes to the state, thanks to which they feel quite at ease in their field of business. Since Australia is a country with a very developed sports theme, it is not surprising that sports have become an object of public attention and gambling disputes and forecasts. As far as online betting is concerned, it is today that it enjoys tremendous popularity. Many people prefer it because it is convenient and there is a huge choice of bookmakers. 

Australia’s Most Betted Sports

Despite the great love of Australians for all sports, they still have clear favorites. These are the sports on which most bets are placed. Let’s find out a little more about them. 

Rugby League

This sport is considered one of the most popular and actively developing in Australia. Moreover, it is recognized as the most popular Internet sport. It is a team game, each with 13 players. The game involves an oval-shaped ball, which players pass to each other using their hands and feet. The main goal of the game is to get the ball to the right area or behind the goal of the opponent. It is a very dynamic sport, which keeps the spectator in suspense until the end of the game. That is why many people appreciate it and bet on rugby league, because it is not easy to predict the result, it causes a strong excitement and great interest. 

Australian Football

The sport is rightly considered a national treasure and a source of great pride to the Australian people. It is a very dynamic and unpredictable team game, in which the result can change at any time, which is why it is so attractive for betting. Each team has 18 players. The main difference from the classic soccer is an oval soccer field, and the ball can be passed not only feet, but also hands. The aim of the game is to get the ball into the opponent’s goal. There are several types of bets on Australian soccer. The most common are bets on one of the teams to win, bets on the performance of teams, which implies the total number of points, as well as bets on the outcome of the season. Each of these options has its own details, which need to be kept in mind if you want to make a good bet. 

Golf

Over the past few years, golf has been gaining in popularity. The number of fans of the sport has increased, which has allowed golf to grow in the ranking of sports for betting. The most popular type of golf betting is considered to be betting on winning the tournament. It is very difficult because each event can have more than 200 players, hence it is extremely difficult to make accurate predictions. The best solution in this situation is to bet on the player who is sure not to win, this is the most likely to make the right choice. To make accurate predictions, bookmakers take into account several factors that may affect the outcome of the game. First of all, it is the professional training of players and their experience. This is an important point, which is of great importance in a game such as golf. Also very important is the psychological mood and weather conditions. Competent evaluation and comparison of existing factors allows you to make the most accurate prediction. 

Basketball

Basketball is another of the most popular sports in Australia, which has won the hearts of not only fans, but also bookmakers. A huge number of bets are placed on it every year. A significant advantage of betting is the large number of equally likely events and the regularity of the competition. In general, this sport is loved by newcomers to betting, because the game is the most predictable of all. It is much easier to assess the chances of each individual athlete during a game than it is in rugby or soccer. 

The advantages of online gambling over traditional gambling: Why try your luck at an online casino?

The exponential growth of the internet and everything and anything related to it over the past decades has also had a profound effect on the gambling industry. Where previously games of chance were only available at casinos and other land-based establishments, the internet opened a door to a whole new world of possibilities. The online casino was born.

For some, there’s nothing like the offline casino experience and we can fully understand that, but it’s undeniable that online casinos bring with them a host of advantages as well. From convenience to choice, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the advantages of online casinos in comparison to traditional brick-and-mortar casinos in the same way that The Scotsman have looked at the best UK online casinos.

Of course, regardless of the game, always remember to gamble responsibly. As the industry slogan goes: when the fun stops, stop.

Convenience

This is probably the main advantage of any online casino over a traditional casino. In order to gamble online, all you need is a decent internet connection and a device that can connect to it, like a computer, a tablet or a smart phone. If you have those, you are basically good to go. No need to dress up, no need to leave your home and no need to take opening hours into account. Just visit the online casino of your choice, log in, and let the fun begin.

Variety of choice

While the major traditional land-based casinos will have lots of different games on offer, they will still not be able to compete with your average online casino in terms of the variety of games they offer. Online casinos simply have the edge here. Many online casinos will offer countless games and not just limited to casino classics like poker and blackjack either. It’s not uncommon to see online casinos include live dealer games, sports betting and horse racing to their service offering as well, just to name a few examples. If you like to be spoilt for choice, online casinos are the place for you.

Payment options

This major advantage of online casinos can be underestimated sometimes, especially by beginners. Compared to the more traditional casinos, online casinos tend to offer a wide variety of available payment methods, including e-wallets, debit cards and even Bitcoin nowadays. This adds to the convenience of playing online, as you can choose the method of payment that best fits your situation and lifestyle.

Availability

This point seamlessly connects to our first point in this list, convenience. While the 24/7 availability of online gambling opportunities is something that should not be abused, it constitutes a big advantage for players in general when compared to a land-based casino. Online casinos do not work with opening hours and can therefore be accessed exactly when it suits the player’s schedule. This can be at 6 in the morning or at 11 at night, it doesn’t matter.

The bonuses

If you have already explored the world of online gambling a bit, you have likely come across more than a few bonus offers already. Promotions like the online casino doubling your starting bankroll from a certain amount or the house doubling your winnings up to a certain amount are far from a rarity in the online gambling world. While such bonuses can have a more than considerable effect on your gambling success, they are a lot less common at traditional casinos, which gives online casinos another edge worth considering.

What you want, when you want

One of the biggest downsides of playing at traditional casinos is that, sometimes, you need to wait for your turn. Whether it’s a specific slot machine that you want to try your luck on or a certain blackjack table you want to join, chances are that there is no spot available when you arrive and you therefore have to wait. At online casinos, those situations are a thing of the past. With the possible exception of specific poker tables, online casinos allow you to play any game at any time. All you need to do is log in, select the game of your choice and let the good times roll.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 8 preview

It’s chaos in the Fantasy Premier League universe. Once again. At the moment of writing, Premier League stars from all over the world have started returning to England after the end of the second international break of this 2021/22 season. Besides the complicating covid measures, which are especially relevant for South American Premier League players, fantasy managers have a wave of injury, fitness, and general availability issues to deal with. As we speak, the popular likes of Romelu Lukaku, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Raphinha, Antonio Rüdiger and Diogo Jota along with Goalies, Ederson and Martinez, are all carrying a yellow flag in the official game, just to give you an idea of the situation.

As a result, we’re likely to see a lot of Wildcard activity in the build-up to GW8 as well. The fixture calendar seems to be taking a turn these weeks, with teams like Manchester United and West Ham preparing themselves for a run of harder fixtures, and teams like Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton embarking on kinder runs after a difficult start to the season. These swings will have caused problems for more than a few managers and inside that probably large group, plenty will choose to play their Wildcard. Whether that’s smart, or not, considering all of the international break-related uncertainty remains to be seen but it’s sure to give us another exciting, all-over-the-place round of fantasy Premier League football.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 8 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, October 16th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per October 14th, 2021)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKSchmeichel (LEI), Sanchez (BRI), Mendy (CHE)Ramsdale (ARS), Foster (WAT), Ederson (MCI)
DEFAlexander-Arnold (LIV), Alonso (CHE), Shaw (MUN)Cancelo (MCI), Azpilicueta (CHE), Dias (MCI)City and Chelsea defences best in the league + good fixtures, TAA yellow flag
MIDPogba (MUN), Greenwood (MUN), Sarr (WAT)Townsend (EVE), Salah (LIV), Raphinha (LEE)Salah and Townsend form, United difficult run of fixtures,
FORRonaldo (MUN), Lukaku (CHE), Dennis (WAT)Hwang (WOL), Vardy (LEI), Lukaku (CHE)Lukaku yellow flag, Hwang and Vardy form

Premium pick

Before Manchester City faced Liverpool this season, the Cityzens had conceded just a single goal in six league games, boasting the league’s most solid defence as a result. Then Mo Salah (£12.7m) and co appeared and now Pep Guardiola’s men have the shared best defence, together with Chelsea, having conceded three goals. While one of those goals came from a brilliant Salah assist on Mané, the other came from the man himself and well… we’re going to see that one in many goal compilations for years to come. With a 13-point haul, the Egyptian continued his excellent form, and brought his league totals to 6 goals and 4 assists. Salah is currently the highest-scoring player in the official game with 70 FPL points and up next are Watford as the Hornets kick off the new era under manager Claudio Ranieri. It remains to be seen how the living Leicester legend will have his men line up on Saturday, but we feel that one way or the other, Liverpool’s star man will get chances to build on his current red-hot form.

Non-premium pick

Rotation. That’s the big risk when it comes to picking Phil Foden (£7.9m) or indeed any Man City asset. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s continue with the upsides, because there are some serious upsides here. First of all, Man City are facing Burnley at home this weekend, followed by Brighton away and Crystal Palace at home. There is, of course, the small matter of European football to take into account here, but League-wise, that looks like a tasty run. Second of all, Foden has been in great form of late. He was electric at Anfield in gameweek 7, and he played the full 90 minutes in both of England’s international games against Andorra (1 assist) and Hungary, on last Saturday and last Tuesday, respectively. Third of all, Foden’s chances of starting against Burnley are considerable, especially now that Ferran Torres has been ruled out with a foot injury and Gündögan is still suffering from a knock as well. Adding all those factors together and looking at his current price tag, we doubt that there are many better alternatives in the non-premium category than Phil Foden.

The budget enabler

We mentioned the expected Wildcard activity for this week earlier and one of the players that we’re expecting to see in many new squads is Tino Livramento (£4.2m). The Chelsea Academy graduate is starting to show more and more signs of being this season’s stand-out budget pick since he rather unexpectedly made Southampton’s right-back spot his since gameweek 1. In the seven league games he played since then, Livramento collected a more than decent 21 FPL points, courtesy of 2 clean sheets and 1 assist. He gets plenty of freedom to bomb forward during games, which only fits his speed and dribbling style, and the Saints have looked pretty good defensively of late. They have conceded 4 goals in the last four games and three of those goals came against Chelsea in GW7. The other was conceded against Wolves, while the home game against on-fire West Ham in GW4 and the away encounter with Manchester City in GW5 both ended in goalless draws. Up next is a much kinder run of fixtures for Livramento and the rest of the Saints, starting with a home game against Leeds this weekend. In the four games after that, Soton are facing Burnley and Villa at home, and Watford and Norwich on the road. Livramento looks like the ultimate defensive enabler for at least the medium-term.

The differential

After a good 2020/21 Premier League campaign and a summer in which the final of the European Championship was reached, Mason Mount (£7.4m) has not really gotten off the mark yet this season. The Chelsea midfielder started well with 2 assists in the first two league games, but he then started suffering from injury troubles. As a result, his assist back in gameweek 2 was his last attacking return of the season so far. The most positive part of all this is that Mount has featured twice during the international break, as a 73rd-minute substitute against Andorra last Saturday and then for 90 minutes against Hungary on Tuesday. In other words, the 22-year old looks to fully back in action and despite the abundance of choices available to Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel, we feel he will play a big role in the Blues’ upcoming run of mostly favourable fixtures. The fact that Mount carries a share of the team’s set-piece duties only adds to that picture. The team seemed to miss his vision, creativity and incisive passing during his absence, and with an ownership of just 8.8% right now, the England international has all the makings of an excellent differential pick.

The captaincy

Our FPL captain for gameweek 8 is Mo Salah and we’re expecting a majority of the FPL community to make the same choice. The Egyptian talisman looks simply unstoppable at times and with an away game against Watford coming up, it takes a very brave man to bet against him. He featured once over the international break, during 90 minutes against Libya as part of the African World Cup qualifiers, so he should be fit and ready to kick off gameweek 8 this coming Saturday noon.

If you’re not convinced by Salah so far or if you’re one of the 38% of fantasy managers who don’t own him yet, then you’re probably looking at the Etihad for your captaincy. Barring the known rotation risk, the likes of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, KDB and even Riyad Mahrez could all deliver big this weekend against Burnley. Then again, if you’re one of the 5% of managers who own Harry Kane, you’re probably inclined to captain him for the away game against Newcastle. His teammate Heung-Min Son also has the makings of becoming one of the weekend’s stars. For riskier captaincy picks, the likes of Neal Maupay (away against Norwich), Adam Armstrong (versus Leeds at home) and Michail Antonio at Goodison Park could see your squad soaring up the ranks this weekend.

Discuss your FPL opinions on FISO’s Fantasy Premier League forum.

Online casino games for beginners: An introduction

Poker, blackjack, baccarat, online slots, you name it. If you have visited an online casino, you know how much choice there is in terms of games such as the huge variety of games available at Neon Vegas. Browsing the games can be a thrilling experience, but it can also be a little daunting, especially for beginners. And that might not be a great way to start your online gambling adventure, right?

That’s why we have decided to take a look at some of the most popular games and briefly break them down for you. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to online casino gaming, and it’s true that some games will fit you and your risk profile much better than others. You should normally come across these games in most online casinos, so we suggest you just try them out first, without going in big straight away.

Of course, regardless of the game, always remember to gamble responsibly. As the industry slogan goes: when the fun stops, stop.

POKER

Poker is probably the best-known and most popular online casino game out there right now. The name “poker” actually refers to a family of card games with varying rules in which players wager over which hand is best according to the specific rules of the game they are playing, like Texas Hold ‘M, easily the most popular format, and 7-Card Stud. The game has been around since the early 19th century and experienced a great surge in popularity during the second half of the 20th century, especially after the start of the World Series of Poker in 1970. The big difference between poker and many other online casino games is the fact that, at poker, players compete with each other instead of individually against the house and there is a considerable element of skill involved in winning which is why there are a number of poker societies set up.

BLACKJACK

Speaking of playing individually against the house, blackjack is possibly one of the best examples. It’s a fun game with a rather low barrier to entry, as the rules are quite easy to learn. Based on a standard classic deck of 52 playing cards, where each player competes against the dealer (or the house), the goal of the game is to get a total card value of 21 or as close as possible to 21, without exceeding it. Once you get deeper into the odds involved in blackjack, you will learn how to better take advantage of the low house edge, meaning that the odds of the dealer winning a round are relatively low compared to other online casino games, and how to better control your chances.

ROULETTE

Regardless of where you are gambling, online casino games don’t come much simpler than roulette. It’s a game that is purely based on chance and does not require much experience or preparation. The players basically bet on a number between 0 and 36 and then a small ball dropped onto a spinning wheel will end up at one number within that range. If you guessed correctly, you win. It’s that simple. There are, of course, some strategies you can adopt to spread your chances, for example by placing bets on several numbers at once, but in the end, it will come down to luck in every turn. This is one for the beginners who prefer to start off very easy.

BACCARAT

Another online casino game that is very easy to learn and understand is baccarat, James Bond’s favourite. The game uses three to six standard 52-card decks, with cards 2 through 9 valued at face value, while a 10, jack, queen and king cards have a value of zero, and an ace is worth one. The dealer starts by handing two cards to the banker (the house) and two cards to the player. Very much like blackjack, where players need to get close to 21, the goal of baccarat is to guess, based on the game’s specific scoring system, which of the dealt hands is closest to 9. It’s really quite simple to master and despite it being an almost entirely luck-based game, there exist plenty of strategies and expert tips to help you get off to a flying start at baccarat.

SLOTS

If you are a beginner and you are really looking for easiest, most straightforward online casino game available, then the slot machines are probably for you. It effortless, it can be hugely exciting, and the pay-outs can be gigantic. All you need to do is insert a virtual coin or token, virtually spin or pull whatever you need to pull to get the machine going, and pray for the best. For added fun, most online casinos also offer different versions of slots, based on aspects like themes and specific bonuses that can be win, for example.