July 2020


Sporting Index research reveals Reds on course to rack up 105 points in title-winning season

Thursday 2th July 2020 – Newly-crowned Premier League champions Liverpool are on course to smash Manchester City’s record points total from the 2017/2018 according to betting firm Sporting Index.  
The Reds are currently on 86 points for the season and require 15 points from their final seven games to overtake the record Pep Guardiola’s side created a few seasons ago. 
With a higher average points-per-game total than that City side – Liverpool have collected 2.87 on average compared to the 2.63 by City in 2017/2018 – they are set to comfortably beat that record.  
And research from Sporting Index has compared this current Reds team with the record-holders from 2017/2018, the City side of last season which secured 98 points, Chelsea’s 2004/2005 and 2016/2017 teams who collected 95 and 93 points respectively, and lastly the Manchester United outfit from 1993/1994 who collected 92 points – albeit from 42 games.  
While the Reds are on the cusp of securing a new points total, they still trail some of the above teams’ statistics from those seasons. Liverpool have conceded 21 so far this year – which is already six goals more than the Chelsea team from 2004/2005 who only let in 15 under Jose Mourinho. And Jurgen Klopp’s men will also have a job on their hands to beat the goals scored record City set in 2017/2018 when 13 different players helped chip in with 106 goals.  
However, Liverpool will have the most goal scorers in a season from the compared sides, as they currently have 16 different players on target this season – none more so than Mohamed Salah who currently leads the way on 17 goals and is projected to finish on 21 based on his goals-per-game statistics.  
Neville Burdock, Head of Trading at Sporting Index, said: “While Liverpool fans will just be happy to have seen their team secure a first Premier League title, it’ll be on the minds of Jurgen Klopp and his players that they can create history by securing a highest ever points total in the top flight.  
“The Reds are on track to secure 105 points this season – which would be five better off than Manchester City’s record-setting side from 2017/2018. They’ll have a lot of scoring to do in the final seven matches to beat the record of 106 goal set by Pep Guardiola’s side that season, but if they could win the title with a points record I’m sure they would more than settle for that.“  


Sporting Index predicts Pep Guardiola’s men will reclaim Premier League title following Liverpool rout

Friday 3rd July 2020 – Manchester City’s mauling of Liverpool last night has led betting firm Sporting Index to make them even-money favourites for next season’s Premier League title.  
The Citizens coasted to a 4-0 win against the champions at the Etihad last night, with former Liverpool attacker Raheem Sterling grabbing a double, and now Liverpool are 6/4 to retain their crown next season. 
And while Jurgen Klopp defended his players after a poor showing dampened their title celebrations, the Reds boss reiterated the challenge that they’ll face next season to hold onto the trophy.  
Chelsea are 12/1 to win their first Premier League title since 2016/2017, while Manchester United can be backed at 14/1 and Tottenham 20/1. Arsenal are a much longer price of 66/1.  
Neville Burdock, Head of Trading at Sporting Index, said: “Liverpool players clearly felt the effects of their celebrations as Manchester City’s dominant 4-0 win saw the Reds come crashing back down to earth. That win has led us to make Pep Guardiola’s men the clear favourites for next season’s Premier League title, and they can be backed at evens to win a third crown in four years. 
“Liverpool are now 6/4 to win two Premier League titles in a row, and Jurgen Klopp will know he has a job on his hands to stave off the challenge from Man City after a reminder of their quality last night. Chelsea are third-favourites at 12/1, followed by Manchester United at 14/1, Tottenham at 20/1 and Arsenal at 66/1.” 
Football – Premier League – title odds for 2020/2021 season 
Man City - Evens, Liverpool - 6/4, Chelsea - 12/1, Man Utd - 14/1, Tottenham 20/1, Arsenal 66/1 


Sporting Index predict runs galore as rules banning the use if saliva come into effect at Ageas Bowl, Southampton  

Wednesday 8th July, 2020 On an expected flat pitch and with new rules in place,  Sporting Index are preparing for a run fest when cricket resumes in Southampton for England’s first Test against the West Indies. 
New regulations that see a ban on the use of saliva to help shine the ball coupled with a batsman-friendly pitch at the Ageas Bowl could lead to a long day for the bowlers according to firm’s cricket traders.  
In the England team ton-ups market, a prediction on the aggregate total of players’ runs over 100 in an innings for England, Sporting Index predict the hosts' batting line-up to rack up 45 extra runs, while the West Indies are expected to score 20 more.  
Despite the absence of their influential captain Joe Root, England are expected to flourish in Southampton with Rory Burns (72 runs), Dominic Sibley (64), Zak Crawley (62) and Joe Denly (64) all fancied to cash in on an Ageas Bowl pitch conducive to run-scoring.  
Toby Campbell, Head of Cricket at Sporting Index, said: “It’s been a long wait, but Test cricket is finally back as England host the West Indies in a three-match series starting at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday. With the new guidelines in place, where bowlers aren’t going to be able to shine the ball like they could before, and a flat-looking pitch, we’re expecting the batsmen to profit, meaning it could be a long few days for the bowlers.  
“The match ton-ups is priced at 60-67. This will be Ben Stokes’ first match as captain and we think he’ll enjoy plenty of success with the bat with his match runs figure set at 71-78.”  


Sporting Index research reveals home wins and goals scored has increased during lockdown  

Friday 10th July, 2020 – Premier League clubs are picking up more wins and scoring more goals at home, despite having no supporters behind them since lockdown, research from betting firm  Sporting Index has revealed.   
Since this season's top-flight action in England resumed there have been 45 games played, with home teams winning 47% of them compared to 45% before lockdown began.”.  
Away sides are claiming a marginal amount of additional wins as things stand – up from 30% to 31% - but draws are down from 25% to 22% since Premier League action restarted from mid-June.  
And it might be said that home sides are feeling less pressure on their own patch without their own supporters, as the statistics show home sides are also scoring more on their own turf as home goals attribute for 60% (compared to 55% pre-lockdown) of all goals since the restart, while away goals are down from 45% to 40%.  
That said, total goals are down slightly from the 2.89 scored per game this season before going into lockdown, having dropped to 2.62 goals per game since the restart.  
Neville Burdock, Head of Trading at Sporting Index, said: “While it might be expected that away sides would perform better at stadiums with no fans to get on their backs and put them under pressure, it’s actually home sides who are feeling more comfortable in their own environment without their home support. 
“Home teams are securing more points per game and scoring more goals since the Premier League action restarted after lockdown. Home wins are up to 47% from 45%, while home team goals attribute 60% of all goals since the restart – up from 55% before games were put on hold.” 
“However, we’re experiencing a slight dip in goals in the Premier League since the top-flight action got underway again – down from 2.89 to 2.62 goals per game.” 


Sporting Index predicts Red Devils to secure fourth place with 66 points 

Thursday 9th July 2020 – Manchester United will secure the final Champions League spot by securing 66 points, pipping Leicester to fourth place by a single point, according to betting firm  Sporting Index.
The Red Devils have been out of the top four for much of this season, while the Foxes have often occupied second and third place during the campaign, but momentum has shifted and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are now being backed to secure a Champions League place at the expense of Brendan Rodgers' side.  
The Foxes have only won two of their last 12 matches, while United have won three of their last four league fixtures since the restart to make a late dash for the top four. 
And now punters are backing the Old Trafford side to claim fourth spot – with Sporting Index predicting United to break Leicester hearts by finishing one point above them in the league. 
Neville Burdock, Head of Trading at Sporting Index, said: “It looked like Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester were all set for a Champions League spot this season, but a poor spell before and after lockdown has seen them struggle in the Premier League and Manchester United have swooped in to take advantage. 

The Red Devils have been in fine form since the restart of the Premier League, claiming 10 out of 12 points available. They have the easier run of fixtures than Leicester, and we now expect them to finish on 66 points – one above the Foxes – to claim fourth spot and Champions League football next season. 


Sunday 12th July, 2020 Leading National Hunt jockey and Sporting Index ambassador Barry Geraghty discusses his decision to retire. 
Time to step out of the saddle  
I’m 41 in September and you can’t go on forever. I’ve missed 18 months of the last five years through injury, having broken both legs, both arms, my ribs, shoulder blade and a few other small fractures in between.  
The eight broken ribs and punctured lung in 2017 ruled me out of Cheltenham, and then the broken arm at Fairyhouse in April only 11 days after returning from the broken ribs were both tough injuries with bad timing.  
My last injury, the leg break on the eve of the 2019 Grand National at Aintree, was a real test and hard to take, it made me appreciate the importance of getting back into a scenario where I could go out on my own terms rather than being stretchered off.  
It’s not easy to come back from those injuries but I knew that if I could I had a chance of going out on my own terms, so I discussed it with my wife, Paula, and put that plan in my head early last season.”  
I knew going into Cheltenham that it was going to be my last one, and that’s probably why I showed more emotion at the meeting than I had done in donkey’s years. I needed to get a winner badly and Epatante gave me the dream start in the Champion Hurdle.”  
Then to go on and ride winners for the boss on Dame De Compagnie, Champ, Sire Du Berlais, and being able to make my last ever ride at a Cheltenham Festival a winning one, with Saint Roi in the County Hurdle, I couldn’t have asked to sign off on a better note. We considered calling it a day then, but I would have been sick to be on the sidelines if Aintree, Fairyhouse or Punchestown went ahead.”  
As things have worked out, we’ve ended up with another three or four months to think things through and that’s helped me to confirm the decision that I want to call time on my career as a jockey.”  
I’ve been able to take stock of everything, relax, enjoy the time off with Paula and our kids Síofra, Órla and Rían, and it’s given me a taste of what might lie ahead. Not having to be stuck on the roads, in and out of airports and just living life at a steadier pace has been nice.”  
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had some second thoughts, though, particularly after such a great Cheltenham, but I’m settled on it now and pleased with what I’m doing.”  
I’m going to miss the buzz for sure. You can’t replace the thrill of riding horses like Epatante and Defi Du Seuil, but that’s just part of life and I’m going to have to enjoy watching them from the stands.”  
Working with JP  
JP [McManus] is obviously one person that I had to speak to about it, but I’ve only been able to do that over the phone. It was never going to be a difficult conversation as I knew JP, Noreen and all of their family would be happy for me and that they would have my best interests at heart. They have all supported me so well since taking the job.”  
He knows as well as anyone how important it is to be able to go out in one piece. It’s been great riding for him and the quality of horses he has is outstanding. It was brilliant to ride five winners for him at this year’s Cheltenham Festival and try and repay him for all that he puts into our sport.”  
He has a great understanding of the game and could just give you a tiny nugget of information or an opinion that would help you win you a race. One example was with More Of That in the World Hurdle, when he suggested that I follow Annie Power through the race wherever she sits and he got it spot on. That was the case a lot of times on a number of different horses over the years.”  
The future  
I’ve always kept a good few young horses here at home and I’ll keep busy working with those. I've done a lot of media work over the years which I enjoy and I've had a great relationship with Sporting Index. I’m going to be able to spend a lot more time with the family, and I'm already looking forward to Christmas Dinner!”  
I’ve pretty much been a part-time dad for the last 12 years, where I’ve had to commute to and from England 7-8 months of the year, so it will be great to be at home more often, spending more time with Paula and the kids. It will be a big change but I’m at that time in my life where it feels like the right call to make.”  
I still very much want to be involved in racing and, although the buzz of race riding is irreplaceable, I’ll need to try and get some fulfilment by working with horses, whether it be here at home or riding out at yards, so I’ll definitely be doing a bit of that.”  
Thanks to those that have backed me  
There have been many people that have helped me to get to where I am. For anyone to achieve anything, they need good backing.”  
From a very young age my parents had me on a pony and there wasn't a Hunt, Show or Hunter Trial on that we weren't at. We had great times and it's where I learned and developed so much along with the rest of my family.”  
I had a brilliant start with Noel Meade and a great education. He instilled great confidence in me right from the start, so I am very thankful for that.”  
I then started riding for Jessie [Harrington] when I was about 17 and she was the same. To get on a horse like Moscow Flyer when I was just 20 years old and be taken right to the very top was a huge break.”  
Jessie and Moscow made my career and I owe them so much. They put me in the shop window and I rode so many other great winners for her, she has always been a great supporter of mine.”  
I also rode a lot of winners for Edward O’Grady and Tom Taaffe in the early days, so I owe them a lot of thanks too. And then obviously JP and Nicky [Henderson] have been massive supporters for a long time.”  
I rode my first Festival winner for JP in 2003 on Youlneverwalkalone and rode a lot of great winners for him both before and after getting the job with him in 2015. We've had some great days with Buveur D'Air, Defi Du Seuil and Epatante among others, riding 13 Festival winners for him.”  
I had my first ride for Nicky 20 years ago on Geos at Leopardstown as a 3lb claimer. The job as Stable Jockey at Seven Barrows came along at a time in my career when I was running out of superstars and Nicky gave me the injection of quality that I so desperately needed. We had some amazing years together with superstars like Sprinter Sacre, Bobs Worth, Finians Rainbow, Simonsig and many more. It’s been a great link-up and has always been a nice base for me when I was riding in England.”  
Those are the people that have always backed me, supported me and believed in me. They gave me the confidence to be able to take a punt in the middle of a race which is what you need to do when winning comes down to such fine margins.”  
Moscow v Sprinter
Looking back on the greatest horses I’ve ever ridden and I’m still stuck in a dead-heat between Moscow and Sprinter [Sacre] - they’re two of the best two-mile chasers of all time.”  
Sprinter oozed class and could destroy a field, while Moscow would beat a top horse by two lengths and an average horse by two lengths - nothing was going to beat him as long as I stayed on him and he stayed on his feet.”  
I've been very fortunate to ride a good few winners of the Champion Chase, Arkle and Tingle Creek, it is those races that I will miss the most, I just love them!”  
Big Zeb, Finian’s Rainbow, Moscow, Sprinter… I’ve had so many good ones and I love the speed and buzz of a two-mile chase.”  
The one horse that maybe got away from adding to that list is Defi Du Seuil. He's a horse that I have always loved and it would have been great to have won the Champion Chase on him for the boss and Philip Hobbs.”  
Crowning National moment
Calling time on my career wouldn’t have been easy if I didn’t have that win aboard Monty’s Pass on my CV.”  
Wherever you go in the world, if somebody asks you what you do for a living, the next question they often ask is: ‘Have you ridden in the Grand National?”  
It’s an amazing race and to win it was a feeling like nothing else.”  


Sporting Index research reveals the statistics behind the average Premier League player in PFA Team of the Year  

Friday 24th July, 2020 -  Research from  Sporting Index has revealed that Jamie Vardy and Michail Antonio should be included in the PFA Team of the Year, historically speaking, based on their goals returns from attack and midfield respectively. 
The betting firm have trawled through the data of each PFA Team of the Year from the Premier League era, which has revealed the average clean sheets, assists and goals return required for goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and strikers to make the best XI for the campaign.  
Seasons - 27  
Selected Players - 297  
Individual Players - 169  
Clubs - 22  
Champions (players selected who won the Premier League) - 111 (37%)  
Most prominent club - Man Utd (79 players)  
Average clean sheets GK - 14  
Average clean sheets DEF - 13  
Average assists MF - 7  
Average goals MF - 9  
Average assists FW - 7  
Average goals FW - 22  
On average, goalkeepers included in the Team of the Year keep 14 clean sheets a season – Burnley’s Nick Pope and Manchester City’s Ederson are on 15 apiece this term as things stand heading into the last game, while there are four other stoppers on 13.  
Defenders secure 13 clean sheets a season on average – with players such as Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk (15), Burnley’s James Tarkowski (15) and Ben Mee (13), and Wolves’ Conor Coady (13) all meeting that quota, with a number of stoppers on 12 clean sheets with one game remaining.  
In the engine room, midfielders who have made the Team of the Year in the past have gathered seven assists or scored nine goals on average a season. With 19 assists and 11 goals this season, City’s Kevin De Bruyne is a shoe-in to make the side. The statistics would suggest that West Ham’s Michail Antonio should also be included due to his nine goals for the London side this season.  
City’s David Silva and Leicester’s Harvey Barnes have 10 and eight assists respectively, with many players – including Bruno Fernandes – on seven with one game to go. After De Bruyne and Antonio for goals come Dele Alli and Christian Pulisic on eight, with Fernandes also on seven among a few others.  
In the forward positions, an average of 22 goals in a season is enough to win a place in the best XI. Leicester’s Jamie Vardy sits top of the goals pile this term as things stand on 23, while Danny Ings is on 21. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will feel he has a chance to make the Team of the Year, is on 20, with Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling both on 19.  
A total of 169 individual players have been included once or more in the Team of the Year, with nobody featuring more times than Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard – who made the grade on eight occasions. Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer all featured six times. Despite David de Gea’s poor form this year, he holds the most appearances for a goalkeeper with five inclusions.  
Manchester United players feature most with 79 selections, while league winners appeared 111 times out of 279 (37%). Players from clubs who have finished lower than the top 10 have only appeared 12 times, while only Andy Johnson (Crystal Palace) and Roy Keane (Nottingham Forest) appeared in Team of the Year from relegated clubs.  
Neville Burdock, Head of Trading at Sporting Index, said: Team of the Year will be hard to call, with many players having great seasons by chipping in with important clean sheets, assists and goals. We decided to take a look at the statistics behind the PFA Team of the Year, and what a player from each position must do to make the grade.  
“Goalkeepers on average keep 14 clean sheets, and Nick Pope and Ederson already have 15 which suggests it might be one of those stoppers to take the number one jersey. In defence, it’ll be hard to look past Virgin van Dijk anyway, but his 15 clean sheets adds to his case, while Burnley’s James Tarkowski has the same amount and might feel he stands a chance based on the statistics from years gone by. 
“In midfield, Kevin De Bruyne’s performances and overall figures make him a certainty. Based on statistics, Michail Antonio’s purple patch at the end of this campaign with nine goals from midfield fits the bill. Up top, Jamie Vardy’s 23 goals means he’s surpassed the average of 22 goals, with Southampton’s Danny Ings (21) also within reach and in with a shout for a spot beside his fellow Englishman.


Champion stayer can provide Dettori with record-equalling fifth win in Tuesday’s Group 1  

Monday 27th July, 2020 - Goodwood’s record books may need a rewrite on Tuesday, where Sporting Index make Stradivarius, bidding for an unrivalled fourth Goodwood Cup, 6/4 to win by two lengths or more. 
The three-time Ascot Gold Cup winner can go one better than Double Trigger who completed a hat-trick of Goodwood Cups in 1998, while another Goodwood Cup for Frankie Dettori would draw him level with riding legends Lester Piggott and Pat Eddery on five wins.  

Frankie’s first Goodwood Cup win came in 1999 aboard Kayf Tara, his second a decade later with Schiaparelli (2009) and a third in 2011 with Opinion Poll.  
However, it was a different Italian rider, Andrea Atzeni, that partnered Stradivarius to his first two wins in the race, while Dettori was on board for the third and partners the son of Sea The Stars again on Tuesday.  
Charles Hitchings, Head of Racing at Sporting Index, said: “After Enable on Saturday, we’ve got the potential for another racing fairytale at Goodwood on Tuesday, but it certainly won’t be straightforward for Stradivarius.  
“He’ll have to pass Irish Derby winner Santiago with 15lbs more on his back if he’s to win a record fourth Gooodwood Cup, and give Frankie an historic fifth success in the race.“  
“Anyone who’s firmly in the Strad camp and expecting another runaway success like the one we witnessed at Ascot can take 6/4 on him winning by two lengths or more.


Rishi Sunak’s PR chief frontrunner ahead of Angus Walker and Richard Madeley (both 8/1)  

Friday 31st July, 2020 -  Allegra Stratton is 7/1 favourite to win the daily press briefing role for Downing Street with  Sporting Index, as rumours grow that Boris Johnson is keen to hire a female spokesperson. 
Stratton – the PR chief for Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak – leads the list of contenders ahead of the likes of former ITV correspondent Angus Walker and TV presenter Richard Madeley – who are both 8/1.  
The Prime Minister has made it clear he would like to hire an individual who can communicate with the nation in White House-style daily briefings, after the daily Coronavirus briefings became a hit with the UK nation.  
Elsewhere in the running, ITV’s Julie Etchingham is 11/1, with writer and broadcaster Guto Harri also high on the list at 12/1.  
Political broadcasters Jeremy Vine, Andrew Neil, Kay Burley and Fiona Bruce are all available to back at 28/1, while Sophie Ridge and Robert Peston are outside shots at 40/1.  
Phil Fairclough, political trading spokesperson for Sporting Index, said: “The daily Coronavirus press briefings were a hit with the viewers, and Boris Johnson is moving quickly to continue this success by installing a high profile individual to adopt the new role as part of the media operations shake-up at Number 10.  
“It’s been rumoured the PM is keen to take on a female broadcaster, and we’ve seen interest in Allegra Stratton who is now 7/1 favourite, although Angus Walker and Richard Madeley are also fancied at 8/1.