Excitement is running riot amongst football fans as the return of the Premier League draws ever-nearer, but the fantasy football season has been in full swing for a few weeks now.
There’s a clutch of superstars that will constantly crop up in teams up and down the nation, but when betting on which specific player will be crowned the most valuable in terms of points scored come the campaign’s end there’s plenty of reason to oppose the 3/1 favourite, Manchester United’s Robin van Persie.
The Dutchman picked up 12 more points than Tottenham’s Gareth Bale to claim the accolade in the Premier League’s official version of the game last season and it’s the Welshman who is his nearest adversary in the betting for this year’s instalment. He can be backed at 9/2, but this is reserved only for those with a penchant for burning money.
It seems unlikely that Spurs will hang on to their prized asset with Real Madrid’s lorry full of cash parked up outside chairman Daniel Levy’s house with the driver waiting for the signal to empty its contents all over his lawn.
Fear not though, for digging a little deeper into the field can unearth the real opposition to RVP’s favouritism.
Juan Mata, who costs £3.5m less than the United striker, bagged 212 points last term and, playing in a side that is widely fancied to improve on their impressive 2012/13 campaign under Jose Mourinho, is certain to rack up a loftier total this season. Ladbrokes have him priced up as a 20/1 shot to outscore his rivals.
Being a midfielder, Mata is entitled to one more point than Van Persie for every goal he scores, as well as a point for every clean sheet his side keep. The Blues shut out 14 teams on their way to finishing third last time, but with safety-first Mourinho at the helm, that number should increase. Assuming it does, he’s liable to collect 15 points minimum that aren’t accessible to RVP.
If he tops the 11 goals he scored last year, Mata’s certain to be a lot closer to the favourite in terms of fantasy football points collected this season.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date