For us loyal supporters of non-Premier League sides, the footy season is already two matches old. But the media spotlight only begins to burn all its halogens this weekend as the top tier of overpaid prima donnas pull on their Nike ballet shoes for thirty-eight rounds of arabesques and gargouillardes, with the occasional outbreak of sheer footballing joy.
Lest you think I'm not a fan of 'the beautiful game', let me be clear. I love football with a deep passion. I'm just not especially fond of many footballers!
Fantasy Football Competition
Anyway, personal prejudices aside, I am really looking forward to the top league kicking off, and in time honoured tradition, I've created a mini-league for geegeez readers. It's free to play, and there will be a first prize of £100 cash (whoop).
I'll also offer sporadic 'game week' prizes for the top scorer in a particular week of fixtures, as and when I have anything interesting and racing related to give away.
Of course, far more important than either of those mere glittering trifles is the overwhelming kudos associated with being the Geegeez Super League Fantasy Football Champion 2014/15. Huzzah! 😉
Right, so how do you enter? Simple simple...
1. Go to http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ and register
2. Read the rules, gen up on the scoring system, and choose a team
3. Go to http://fantasy.premierleague.com/my-leagues/ and click 'Join A League', then select 'Private League' and click 'Next'
4. Enter this code in the box: 1814706-410601
5. Confirm, and you're all set!
If you're already registered and playing this game, you need only do steps 3-5
Come on, what are you waiting for? It'll be fun!
My Football Bets
If that's the fantasy football, then my season wagers this year maybe more akin to football fantasy. But faint heart never won fair maiden, and safe wager never tickled geegeez' fancy... if you see what I mean.
So, I've placed a relegation/promotion trixie with a twist this term. For those of you unfamiliar with the work of the trixie, it's a bet involving three selections, and comprising four parts: three doubles and a treble, as follows - 12 13 23 123
The twist is that for one of the 'selections', I've actually chosen two teams!
My picks are:
West Brom to be relegated from the Premier League at 11/4 or 5/2 (now a best priced 13/5 with Coral)
Sheffield United and/or Leyton Orient to be promoted from League One at 7/4 and 7/2 respectively (now 2/1 and 10/3 respectively)
Shrewsbury Town to be promoted from League Two at 12/5 (now 5/2 with BetVictor)
Because I had a reasonable sized bet, rather than simply place a trixie with one bookie, I went sniffing around for the best odds on each different part of the bet. That means I have the following seven wagers in place...
|Stake||Team 1||Team 2||Team 3||Odds||Bookie||Payout|
As you can see, any double will cover stakes and return a small profit. Any treble will involve repeated trips to a local bar. And if both Sheffield and Leyton cop, along with WBA and the Shrews, the Milky Bars will be on me.
It's fair to say that the opening fixtures were a tad damp and squibby, but it's a 46 game season for those to have played already, and I'm still happy with the struck wagers.
As for the Baggies, well, unless Brown Ideye, the £10 million record signing from Nigeria via Russia, turns out to be a sensation, I fear they're going to struggle badly this season. They have a relatively easy start, but Ideye is not going to be available for it. And, anyway, he wasn't even good enough to make a Nigeria World Cup squad that did include 32 year old Shola Ameobi (since released by Newcastle, and has signed for a Turkish second division club).
They've signed a lot of players this summer, have West Brom, and it will take time for the new faces to bed in, even assuming they're good enough for Premier League.
I don't mind admitting I've also had a ton on West Brom to finish bottom of the league, at 10/1. I know there are a bunch of other weak sides, but this was a team in freefall at the end of last term, they have a rookie manager, and a host of unproven players. It's a recipe for disaster in my book, and I've wagered accordingly.
Sorry West Brom fans.
Best Premier League Bookie Offers
Finally in today's football-related post, I wanted to highlight a few good (actually, very good) bookie offers for the new season. They are the usual mix of new customer/all customer, and my favourites are these:
If you fancy either Manchester City of Chelsea to win the League, and you don't currently have a Winner Sports account, they'll pay your pick of 5/1 Chelsea or 11/2 Man City. That's for new customers, stake capped at £10.
Or if you'd rather nominate another team to win the league, how about Boylesports' new customer offer of double the odds your selection. So, for instance, if you fancy Arsenal, you can have 11/1 instead of 11/2. This, as I say, is for new customers and the max stake is capped at £20.
Offers open to all customers
For those of us with all the accounts already, there are some juicy goalscorer offers flying around. Here are my top four, all well worth getting involved with. And, obviously, if you don't have an account with these guys already, you'll get more free bets on top of these specials...
888sport have an interesting offer, as follows: Choose three Premier League players; bet £10 at 1.5 (1/2) or higher on any match any of your players is involved in, and get £5 free bet every time your players score.
Say you choose Diego Costa, and have £10 on Chelsea to win at 1.6 (3/5). Costa scores two goals, and you get a £10 free bet. And that works every time one of your guys scores in a game in which you've wagered. (I actually think this offer is going to cost 888sport a few quid, to be honest, and I will be playing it religiously).
totesport have a top goalscorer offer, which pays out a £5 free bet voucher every time your top scorer nomination hits two in a game. You must stake £20 on a player in the top scorer market to trigger the qualification, but the likes of Diego Costa, RvP, Rooney, Sturridge and Dzeko look decent options in this market.
And Betfair's Sportsbook have a rather curious offer of a free £5 bet every time your team plays a Premier League match in August and September. You need to place a £20 qualifying bet on the team of your choice to win the league. Each time that team plays, you'll get a £5 first goalscorer token to play with. Let's say you select Manchester United. You could back Robin van Persie to score first every game and, if he manages it in just one of the six games, you'll have got your initial stake back on betting United to win the league. Neat, huh?
This is for all Betfair Sportsbook customers. (In case you didn't know, if you're an exchange customer at Betfair, you're also a sportsbook customer: just click the sportsbook link top left of the exchange home page)
Finally, Paddy Power have one of the very best offers. Bet £20 in the top scorer market - either win or each way - and Paddy will give you a £2 free bet voucher each time your man scores. Ten players scored fifteen goals or more last season, meaning you could be banking £30 in free bets for a £20 cash bet. Nice. Offer!
Here's how I'm thinking of playing these 'all customer' bets.
888sport - I'm taking Robin van Persie, Diego Costa and Edin Dzeko, and will be betting United, Chelsea and City at as close to the qualifying 1/2 mark as possible (albeit on a market I expect them to win). I'll then be cheering goals!
totesport - I'll be having £20 on Daniel Sturridge to be top goalscorer at 11/2. Sturridge scored 21 last season, and Rodgers is a manager who plays attacking football. With no Suarez this term, Dan the man could get even more this season, and might do it in pairs!
Betfair Sportsbook - I think Man City look the most likely League winners (though I quite like Arsenal at the prices too) and I'll be having £20 on them at 5/2. That gives me six £5 free bets on the first scorer market. I'll be backing one of Dzeko or Aguero in each of the six matches, and should get my stake money back for just one instance of a first scorer bet copping.
Paddy Power - As Paddy are taking each way bets, we can have some fun a bit further down the lists. Wilfried Bony scored sixteen last year in a moderate Swansea side, and should improve for the Premier League experience. He's been heavily linked with Liverpool too, and the free-scoring comments above apply. He's a shoo in to score a dozen or more if staying largely fit, and 25/1 is my first dart.
My second arrow is 50/1 Eden Hazard. He scored 14 last year and, though he's likely to annoy Jo-say for not doing his defensive duties, he's too important a player to leave out. He's still only 23, and when not diving around like a fanny, he is a class act who knows where the goal is. Even if he doesn't make the top four scorers, he should rack up a dozen goals, which offers me £24 in free bet chips. Obviously, a top four spot in the scorer charts will add £125 to the real money pool, which is better than an 11.5/1 shot in my book.
You'll have your own ideas about which teams, and players, to back. But please, do yourself a favour, and take advantage of some of these free money opportunities. 🙂
And don't forget to enter the Fantasy Football League. It starts EARLY on Saturday - a 12.30pm kick off - so make sure you get this sorted pronto!
Who do you like for the league this year, and why? What about relegation, top scorer, lower divisions? Leave a comment and share your knowledge.