There’s no doubt about it, football accumulators can be a lot of fun. Picking a load of teams to win then watching the scores come in certainly adds an extra layer to a Saturday afternoon.
It’s also, of course, more often than not a complete waste of money.
Like you, I like to think I know a thing or two about football, but football is so annoyingly unpredictable that no matter how nailed-on the results you’ve backed look on paper, there’s nearly always at least one team that lets you down.
How many people had Manchester City in their accas the weekend they lost at Norwich City, for example? Or Barcelona the weekend they lost at Granada, for goodness sake? No matter how much of a football expert you might be, you just can’t predict those kind of shock results. Yet they happen every single weekend.
There is a reason you’re getting enormous odds on your acca coming in. You might have backed 10 favourites, but the chances of all of them winning on the same day are infinitesimally small. So why on earth do so many people keep placing accas?
Why do so many of us bet in such a way that actually minimises our chances of winning, rather than using our football knowledge to actually make some money?
Well, I didn’t rack up an addictedness rating of ‘Remember to shower’ on Football Manager to not put it to good use.
That’s where Football Index, the world’s first football stock market, comes in. Launched by Adam Cole in 2015 and now home to a buzzing community of thousands of traders, the Index allows you to buy shares in players and, if you’ve spotted a good one, make money from their success.
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And that success can come in various different forms. In fact, there are three ways to make money: capital appreciation, match day dividends and media dividends.
Here’s how it might work for you:
– You buy shares in Harry Kane.
– If enough other people also buy shares in Harry Kane, his price will rise, and so will the value of your shares (capital appreciation). The value of your shares may also decrease if people sell shares in Harry Kane.
– All the time you hold Harry Kane shares you will be eligible to earn ‘dividends’ based on how well he performs in games (match day dividends), or how much he is being talked about in the media (media dividends).
– At any point, you can decide to sell your Harry Kane shares (hopefully for a profit if your hunch has come off). Football Index will take a percentage cut of the sale price.
Tom Randerson, at Football Index since its inception, believes its appeal lies in the way it encourages competition.
“Every football fan believes they know everything about football, and they love testing themselves, which is where our slogan ‘What’s your football knowledge worth?’ comes from,” he says.
“A lot of people use their knowledge to play Fantasy Football, FIFA, Football Manager, but here it can potentially make you money.”
“It’s intellectually satisfying, you’re trying to beat your mates, prove to them that I know this guy’s gonna be good, and if you’re lucky and if you’re right, your portfolio will go up.”
New features are coming too, with ‘in-play dividends’ currently being trialled. This basically means that when a player you own scores, assists or keeps a clean sheet, cash winnings drop into your online wallet. They are only available for the first 30 days that you hold a share in a player.
All of this doesn’t mean you can’t lose money, of course.
Injury can strike a player, which often results in their share price dropping. When Zlatan Ibrahimovic suffered his serious knee injury during a Europa League match at Old Trafford in early 2017, it prompted a huge fire sale in the then-Manchester United striker, and many people lost out.
A loss of form can also lead to a drop in price, and if a player you own moves to a league where they can’t win matchday dividends, you are unlikely to earn as much as previously.
But Football Index has driven a seismic change in football gambling habits. And I speak from experience.
In my spare time I used to spend, in hindsight, ridiculous amounts of time on traditional betting sites.
I did it all – accas, matched betting, simple win/lose/draw – and none of it left me any more fulfilled, and certainly not any better off, than before.
There was no correlation between the hours I put in and how well I did. In fact, sometimes it seemed like the more research I did, the less I won.
This frustrated me deeply – until I found Football Index in December 2015. Suddenly, I had a way to actually make the most of my knowledge.
And I have. Giving up accumulators to focus on the Index has genuinely been one of the best decisions of my life.
Personally, I’ve been substantially more successful than if I’d remained a ‘traditional’ gambler, I’m more invested in the beautiful game than ever, and seeing my predictions come off is immensely rewarding.
There are many more people like me, too.
I spoke to Rohan Stewart, a trader in his professional life and someone who has moved from regular traditional betting to almost uniquely ‘doing’ Football Index.
“I loved the idea of being able to predict the future price of a player in the same way as the stock market and that it reflects the real market in football players with young players having higher prices,” he says.
“The fact it’s not a binary outcome is great and I love that it’s more about research and knowledge of players rather than probability or odds on the game.”
That is what it’s about. That YouTube video you watched about ‘the next Neymar’ could actually put coins in your back pocket. Research-backed hunches can really pay off. I have my own example of that.
In early 2016, murmurs of Paul Pogba’s homecoming to Manchester United were increasing. I bought shares in him early and it’s been one of the best moves I’ve made.
Two transfer sagas and a player that courts headlines on and off the pitch have seen me make 600% profit on the Frenchman alone. I hope there’s more to come.
So if accas are your forgettable one-night stands, then Football Index is your life partner. There will be ups and downs, but if you’re a football nut, it’s just a better fit.
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By Rob Hemingway – @rob_hemingway
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