Why FPL managers should be wary if anyone tells them that penalty takers will not be more valuable this season
VAR is about to make its Premier League debut and a common question that has been plaguing Fantasy Premier League managers over the summer is whether or not they will need to stack their line-ups with recognised penalty takers.
The automatic assumption is that more penalties are awarded as a result of VAR but this has not been the case over the past season across the major leagues as James Copeland was quick to highlight in a recent FantasyBet blog.
The article goes on to make some strong arguments and could easily persuade many to think that the ratio of penalties awarded will remain roughly the same.
Fantasy Football Scout also questioned whether the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to the Premier League in 2019/20 would lead to an increase in penalties being awarded in a piece written at the end of last season.
So, where are we going with this you might ask?
Well, if you are a regular visitor to this site you will know that part of a Fantasy Premier League manager’s arsenal should be dissecting information provided by the old enemy, those notorious bookmakers.
Going one step further than this is to analyse lines provide by the spread firms who allow you to buy and sell an outcome, so it was somewhat eye-catching to see that Spreadex had set their ‘Converted Penalty Goals’ line at 104-109.
To put this into perspective, in the last 3 seasons we have only seen 84, 56 and 81 scored with 103, 80 and 106 spot-kicks being awarded respectively in total.
The spread for ‘Unconverted Penalties’ has also been set aggressively high at 30-32.5 which comes as a bit of a surprise given that goalkeepers will now be at something of a disadvantage as a result of rule changes coming into force this season that requires them to keep one foot on the line when facing a spot-kick.
Traditional bookmakers are also expecting a big spike in the number of penalty goals converted, although BetOnline have gone slightly lower with this particular prop bet.
Of course, they could be wrong but ‘weight of money’ will move these lines as the forces of supply and demand take over, so, if they remain where they are when the new season kicks off, a lot of smart people will either have got it wrong or more likely, we will see penalties being awarded at a rate that is unprecedented in the Premier League era.
If this happens we might see a number of players hitting double figures. Luka Milivojevic scored 10 in 2018/19, the first to do so since Steven Gerrard accomplished the feat back in the 2013/14 campaign.
We strongly suggest that you keep a close eye on these lines between now and the start of the season!
The spread firms also offer quotes on individual player goals and these can certainly come in useful when you are torn between two players. Take last season’s highest scoring defender Andy Robertson, for example, who has been pencilled in at 1.20-1.70.
This suggests that he is unlikely to be finding the net on too many occasions so you will be relying on clean sheets, assists and bonus points if you include him whereas his Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold (2.50-3.25) has a little more upside in the goals department. Incidentally, the latter has been installed as a marginal favourite to outscore his counterpart despite their matching price tags in a fascinating match-up between the two premium defenders.
The new Fantasy Premier League season is almost upon is – will the penalty taker be king?