FPL returns this weekend — and with it, captaincy dilemmas, benching headaches as well as an endless number of drafts dreamt up and destroyed only for us to immediately regret our decision come deadline time.
It’s been a while, but Bookie’s Advantage is back to aid your endeavours to smash the first gameweek of this new season.
We use bookmaker’s odds to pick the perfect FPL team for the upcoming gameweek, including selecting the best captain.
Bookmakers make a living from predicting the future. Simply put, bookmakers set odds to represent what they believe is the most likely outcome of an event. It gets a bit more complex, but in a liquid market (many bettors), the odds should accurately predict the likelihood of an outcome. If the odds are way off, that creates arbitrage that will be exploited quickly by traders.
We translate bookmaker’s odds into percentages. Note that we don’t remove the bookmaker’s margin, so the likelihood is realistically a few percentage points lower than in our projections.
Goalscorer Odds Gameweek 1
|Kevin De Bruyne||37%||2.7||Mci||Mid|
It appears the bookies’ odds disagree with those who planned to start with Harry Kane (61%) at home to Southampton before switching over to Erling Haaland (65%) in Gameweek 2 for his plum home fixture against Bournemouth.
The odds favour the big Norwegian even against a West Ham side ever improving under David Moyes. With the injury to their new centre-back, the Hammers will have a tough job keeping the City striker out. So, given incredible odds, Haaland gets the captain’s armband from us this week.
When it comes to the Kane vs Haaland conundrum, the odds say stick with Erling!
For our midfield premium, it’s tough to look past Mo Salah (57%), who plays against the newly promoted Fulham. Nothing more really needs to be said about Salah. His reliability, combined with his outstanding record against newly promoted teams, means that the Egyptian King sits at the top of the pyramid in terms of midfield options.
Gabriel Jesus (40%) is favoured by the FPL community more than the bookies and sits at a whopping 72% ownership. However, this is not reflected in the odds, with the bookies slightly preferring Callum Wilson (50%).
The Magpies’ leading man comes in £0.5m cheaper which can make all the difference when squeezing into that £100.0m budget.
Dominic Solanke (£6.0m – 41%) is the pick of the budget forwards. Aston Villa’s defence wasn’t great away from home last season, keeping just 6 clean sheets in 19 games. Solanke’s high goal involvement percentage combined with the fact he’s on penalties means he could well be this years’ Teemu Pukki.
Filling out the midfield, the bookies favour Riyad Mahrez (42%) as the pick of the bunch at £8.0m. The Algerian can score massive points when he’s on form (and on the pitch). However, with the uncertainty over minutes, more reliable options are not too far behind.
James Maddison (31%), Mason Mount (28%), Dejan Kulusevski (38%) and Bukayo Saka (34%) all provide safer expected minutes as well as a good chance of returns.
Looking at the lower end of the midfield options Bruno Guimaraes (36%) is by far the standout option. He comes in head and shoulders above the more popular picks of Gabriel Martinelli (30%) and Pedro Neto (20%).
Andreas Pereira (14%) and Josh Dasilva (12%) are filling out the bench. Fulham’s new man is playing in the number 10 role for the Cottagers. He has already nabbed a few assists from corners in pre-season. Whilst Dasilva has been tasked with filling the sizable boots of Christian Eriksson as Brentford’s main creative outlet from midfield. As a result, they occupy the 2nd and 3rd spots on our bench.
Check out our summary of the most helpful news before the gameweek 1 deadline
New to the game? Make sure to check out our 10 essential tips for FPL
Clean Sheet Odds Gameweek 1
|Team||Clean Sheet Probability|
Surprisingly, Man United (52%) top the billing in terms of the probability of a clean sheet going into Gameweek 1. The bookies clearly believe in Ten Hag’s ability to turn around this United defence — or perhaps it’s the fact Brighton sat firmly mid-table for goals scored away from home last season.
Looking at specific picks, Diogo Dalot and David De Gea represent good value at their respective prices and have a secure place in the starting XI.
Manchester City (51%) were tied first for both least goals conceded (26) and clean sheets (20) last season, and no less is expected this year. Joao Cancelo is the best option in the stout City backline. Recording 1 goal and 12 assists last season, the Portuguese plays more like a midfielder than a fullback and represents excellent value even at the lofty price of £7.0m.
Spurs’ (51%) Ivan Perisic, though a risk for minutes as he returns from a long-term injury, is also an explosive option that could make a mockery of his £5.5m price tag.
Liverpool (50%) are close behind in the odds table and present more reliable options. For the last four years, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson have arguably been the two most consistent and explosive defenders in the game. An attractive opening day fixture against newly promoted Fulham should provide these two with ample opportunity for returns at both ends of the pitch and makes the defensive double-up too hard to resist.
Nottingham Forest’s (20%) Neco Williams takes the defender’s spot on the bench. Forest have invested well and have a highly rated manager in Steve Cooper. At £4.0m and playing right wing-back, the young Welshman is the most popular budget enabler and occupies the first spot on our bench.
As our second keeper, Danny Ward (£4.0) provides a decent backup. With Leicester (35%) keeper Kasper Schemiechel completing a move away from the club this week, it’s been heavily rumoured that Ward will deputise in his absence.
Bookie’s Dream Team and FPL Captain Gameweek 1
Odhrán Brennan is a data journalist for a sports data company, living in Finland. He’s been playing FPL since the 06/07 season and is a long suffering fan of both Arsenal and the Republic of Ireland national team.