Football betting shares many of the same principles as picking your FPL line-up each week; only instead of trying to outwit your fellow managers you are trying to outwit the bookmakers. Hopefully this column can show that by applying some of these same methods there is profit to be made in addition to the prizes.
Regular Inside FPL readers know it is important to dig beneath the surface of a players statistics to get a better idea of their true performance to date. This information can then be used to hopefully better predict their future. It is an obvious example but Asmir Begovic is now Stoke City’s joint top scorer but I don’t think anyone will be rushing to bet on him to repeat the feat this weekend!
There is a wealth of information available on InsideFPL and this week we will look at how the season-to-date Player Ratings might be used to find some possible bets in the popular First Goal Scorer market.
Just like with fantasy football, it's important to not just spot the players who may be underrated; but just as important to recognise and avoid those who may be overrated. On Sunday Tottenham entertain Newcastle and Andros Townsend will look to continue his record of having the most shots in the league this season (40 so far!). This tally has yielded just one goal though, so is Townsend just unlucky?
The true numbers suggest not, as a whopping 35 of these shots have been from zone D and his total expected goals is only 1.6.
The player with the highest expected goals for Tottenham so far is actually midfielder Paulinho. He also only has one League goal to his name but the Expected Goals value of his shots is an impressive 3.1 goals. He has had a healthy 14 attempts from the valuable zones A/B, so why hasn't he scored more goals? The Brazilian had a decent scoring record at Corinthians last year (7 in 23) and has started his international career equally well (5 in 22) so I am confident the goals will come and will make him my first selection at 10/1. By way of comparison Andros Townsend is a stingy looking 9/1.
Swansea City face the next few weeks without their talismanic striker Michu. This however should open up an opportunity for Ivorian international Wilfried Bony to finally make his mark. It has been a stop-start beginning to his Premier League career for Bony who has only 4 starts and one full 90 minutes in the League so far. However, when he has been on the pitch he has recorded an impressive 1.9 Expected Goals in just 442 minutes – he also looks to have taken over as the team’s first choice penalty taker which is a nice bonus. By way of comparison Michu has an Expected Goals of 2.4 this season but it has taken him almost twice as long to achieve this (874 minutes). With the Spaniard on the side-lines we will back Bony to open the scoring against Stoke on Sunday at 5/1.
Finally, another striker injury may open up a chance for a bet in the Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion game on Saturday. Predicting the Chelsea starting line-up is often a thankless task but with Fernando Torres on the injury list we can be pretty confident Samuel Eto’o will get the nod up front. Similar to Bony, Eto’o only has one full 90 minutes and one goal to his name this year which has led some to already right him off as a signing. A closer look at the numbers though again suggests there should be more to come from the Cameroon international. Eto’o has only played 275 minutes in the Premier League this season for an Expected Goals number of 1.6. On a per90 minutes basis this is actually one of the highest the League, so playing at home to an average West Brom team we can be confident that Eto’o will get chances to score. He bagged two in Europe midweek (albeit one was a fluke) so let’s back him to continue where he left off at odds of 9/2.
- Saturday – Chelsea v WBA: Samuel Eto’o first goalscorer @ 9/2 (Bet 365)
- Sunday – Swansea v Stoke: Wilfried Bony first goalscorer @ 5/1 (Bet 365)
- Sunday – Tottenham v Newcastle: Paulinho first goalscorer @ 10/1 (Bet 365)
The best all round odds we've found on one site are with Bet 365.