No reason to think Fulham won't get more cards than Palace
Roy Hodgson will keep his boys in check
Back Fulham to receive at least as many cards as Crystal Palace in the Premier League game at Craven Cottage.
Promoted Fulham are a good, well-behaved team. Crystal Palace are a good, well-behaved team. They are coached by Roy Hodgson so it would be astonishing if they were anything else.
Hodgson reached the Europa League final in 2010 at the end of two- and-a-half seasons as manager of Fulham.
The reason for thinking that backing Fulham to receive as many or more cards than Palace might represent value for money is that in other games with similar general characteristics the bet has won a little more often than the odds seem to acknowledge.
Back Fulham +0.5 at 9-10 in bet365’s Asian handicap cards market. Each yellow will count as one point and each red as two. If Fulham’s total is equal to or greater than Palace’s the bet will win. Otherwise it will lose.
Former elite referee Pierluigi Collina said that most fouls are accidentally mistimed challenges, not intentional. It follows that most cards are the unfortunate consequence of mishaps occurring during a game.
So what sort of game should we anticipate at Craven Cottage, and what is the likely implication for cards?
Fulham were unfortunate last season not to get automatic promotion with 88 points but they won the playoffs and have strengthened during the summer. Palace finished 11th in the Premier League last season and probably deserved even better.
The Cottagers have home advantage but it is in a London derby, where home advantage tends to count for a bit less than usual. The result-related markets imply a 39 per cent chance of a Fulham win, a 28 per cent chance of a draw and a 33 per cent chance of a Palace win. Those numbers seem in the right place to me.
In recent seasons in Premier League games with similar expectations the chance of the home team receiving at least as many cards as the away team was about 57 per cent. Odds of 9-10 imply a 53 per cent chance of the bet winning.
Comparing results with cards for and against in the Sky Bet Championship shows Fulham were better behaved than most teams of a similar standard, but not by a bigger margin than Palace were in the Premier League.
The referee at Craven Cottage will be the experienced Mike Dean.
Fulham +0.5 Asian handicap cards
1pt 9-10 bet365
Thought for the Day
Stan Kroenke is buying the Arsenal shares he did not own already. He says his “ambitions for the club are to see it competing consistently to win the Premier League and the Champions League”.
That has not happened in the seven seasons since Kroenke became majority shareholder and could do what he wanted, and it will not happen in the future unless Arsenal can and do spend more on players.
The market in footballers is fairly efficient so there is generally a relationship between payrolls and performances. My analysis suggests that over the last seven seasons Arsenal paid for a team that should have averaged 72 points and they got a team that averaged 72 points.
The lowest total for Premier League winners during that time was 81 and the average was 89. So Arsenal could not reasonably have expected to compete consistently for the Premier League, never mind the Champions League.
Will new manager Unai Emery be able to organise an over-achievement? At Valencia, Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain he delivered exactly what the owners had paid for – no less but no more.
Sporting Index’s spread for Arsenal points this season is 70.5-72 – effectively what I think the club is entitled to ask of Emery.
Heading in the wrong direction
Dr Bennet Omalu, an expert on brain injuries, has called for heading to be banned for footballers agead under 18 and limited for professionals.
He said: “It does not make sense to control an object travelling at a high velocity with your head.” Perfectly put.
If heading were banned for children it would soon become unnecessary in professional football. Within a few years players would turn professional who had learned ways of playing effectively without heading.
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