Budget Punts for the FI gambler

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Trading in the budget options used to be considered a low risk investment strategy. It is now a very high risk one.

Football Index has in recent weeks been an increasingly volatile market. The Matching Engine’s Phase 1 release has introduced bids, which in turn dictates the Instant Sell price of a player. The Instant Sell value is the average of the top 300 bids on that player. For some players in low demand right now, the Instant Sell price is a reduction of as much as 50% on market value, meaning a bid above Instant Sell price puts you in the running of acquiring a player at around half of their Market Buy Value. In extreme cases, where there is no demand for the player, there is no instant sell price, meaning you can bid the lowest possible value that FI allow.

This is all well and good, but there’s a catch. If you are bidding on player and acquiring him at a significantly lower value, there’s probably not a lot of buzz nor demand for him. This means that although you’ve purchased at a low price and your portfolio shows a profit, you’re actually not going to be able to sell for more than what you bought him for until the demand rises and the Instant Sell value increases.

The Matching Engine has been fantastic at the top end, acquiring in-demand players at a cut price to top up shareholdings or reinforce dividend earnings in proven players. But in the lower ends of the market, the spreads are often vast and make the market riskier than we've ever seen before.

With low demand comes high risk. It used to be that a player of low value wouldn’t really topple in Instant Sell price as traders could instantly sell back to the index. Now, to instant sell you need a trader to take the shares off your hands. In some cases, there is no instant sell value right now as nobody has bid on the player. That's daunting.

So are there any players in the low end that could rise to a higher demand?

We’re not talking about players that would necessarily rocket in the Buy Market Value, but we are talking about players you can purchase for a heavily discounted bid then resell at a higher instant sell price than you bought at, making use of tightening spreads when demand rises.

Of course, this entirely depends on what bidders are laying down on the table. The low end is risky now because you need multiple bids to be placed to drive the instant sell value up, and avoid having to hold a player with very little demand. But in theory, the low end of the market offers a great opportunity to improve your profit margins, as an increase in Instant Sell value of just a few pence through a tightening spread can often be a double digit profit in terms of % ROI.

If you’re a little lost, here’s an example of what we’re talking about.

The table demonstrates a fundamental concept in trading; a lower share value requires a smaller rise to return a more significant proportion of your investment.

Despite a Top End Player rising 25p from your bid-buy price of £4.05 to an instant sell price of £4.30, you’ve only really made 4% on your investment after commission.

The budget player has only risen 10p from your bid buy price of £0.55 to an instant sell price of £0.65, but this equates to a 16% profit margin after commission.

As stated, there’s a reason these players have a low instant sell price. Low demand. So on paper it looks easy to suggest a 10p rise in instant sell value of a player in that price range, even if that IS is still well below the market value, but in reality it’s not such a simple case. Plenty of traders are stuck in this corner on the index, and the demand for the vast majority of players is not there for a reason. They’re ageing, they have low proven dividend returns, or they are simply too difficult to sell on so people are not bidding on them right now.

But we’ve selected a handful of players that could yet rise in Instant Sell Value in coming seasons. They’re not old. They play at a top level. They could rediscover form that would generate a few bids closer to market value – meaning you could see that instant sell price rise enough to flip at a profit without the market value actually fluctuating.

So who should we look for in this area of the market? What criteria are we looking for?

Firstly, a player that is relatively well known – regardless of their media or PB ratings – is a good start. Remember, you’re looking for multiple bids to be placed on the player. If the lad is on the bench of a mid-table French side, he’s probably not going to get himself in the eyeline of a Football Index Trader all that often.

Secondly, a player that is in a decent side and features regularly enough to post a half decent PB score now and again. This is to ensure that there’s some reason for a trader to bid on the lad, because it's unlikely to happen completely out of the blue. If he can score the odd goal, or have a standout performance now and again, there’s a greater chance that during that matchweek a higher bid will fall his way. Then you can look to cashout.

Thirdly, a player that was once highly anticipated but has fallen a little flat in recent times. These lads still are either at good teams, still on their national team, or have not yet realised their full potential. They’re not wonderkids anymore, but they also aren’t considered senior veterans. Martial is a high profile example of this, though we'll be going further down the market in our full examples.

Finally, a player under 27 years old. Players beyond this age, although statistically better PB winners, are a risk. Another trader has to bid higher than what you paid for your bet to even breakeven – not many high offers comes in for unqualified older players because traders understand that they won’t be able to sell on to another trader for a profit. If they are old and not regularly winning dividends, their capital will highly likely depreciate. It’s one thing punting on an outsider, it’s another punting on an outsider that is almost destined to make a loss.

So who fits the bill at a good price, what examples currently exist?

Federico Bernardeschi

1. Federico Bernardeschi | Market Buy £0.86, Instant Sell £0.48

A bid in the region of £0.50 is enough to acquire the right winger whose market value is £0.86. He's had a rollercoaster couple of seasons at Juventus. Now aged 26, he’s started every game for The Old Lady since Serie A resumed after the pandemic intermission – and started in his natural right wing position, unlike the majority of the season where he played the number 10 role or in a midfield three. A starting winger for Serie A champions, Champions League football, favoured forward for Italy national team, rumoured to be in the transfer offerings this window, and still has plenty of years left in his career at 26 years old. A bid just north of £0.50 looks attractive, not because he’s a great PB or media attraction, nor because he will rocket in market value – but the spread is so wide. If you can onboard at such a cheap price, other traders may fancy him after a goalscoring performance or even at the Euros. He’s in a classy team for a reason, he just hasn’t put up the numbers this year, though he did win PB dividends when playing for Italy at the end of 2019. Traders could later lay a bid down in the region of £0.70 when he pops up with a good performance; a price that is still well below market value right now, and you’d be selling to them at a profit of around 15-20p… that’s around 30% profit without the market value shifting.

2. Kelechi Iheanacho | Market buy £0.85, Instant Sell £0.51

We’ve also mentioned the Leicester City youngster in our Premier League 'under-the-radar; article for the exact same argument as now. He’s valued similarly to Bernardeschi; a market value of £0.85 and instant sell of £0.51. A bid around £0.55 could see a few shares fall your way. Iheanacho was once a wonderkid at Man City, but fell out of form since transferring to Leicester. The longevity of Vardy is still not questioned all that much, though Iheanacho is featuring more regularly for the Foxes in matches of recent. He’s also got on the scoresheet since the restart, and many fans are becoming aware of his improvements with more gametime under his belt. Leicester haven’t got a prolific strike force outside of Vardy, but the deployment of Iheanacho is a crucial stepping stone in transitioning away from relying on the English veteran in years to come. Over the course of the next three years, there are two options. Leicester will either play him more regularly in the hope his potential is realised and he becomes a regular striker in the Premier League. In this instance, his £0.55 value you acquired him at would look a lot closer to market value – say IS £0.80. If he becomes a regular and Leicester can continue as a top 6 side, there’s a small chance he could contribute to dividends along the way and even rise in market value. The other scenario is a transfer, in which case, you’d have acquired a 23 year old striker with Premier League experience. He’d likely end up in a PB league and you’d have to hope he could conjure up some dividends or improve his stats in order to sell back at a profit. Either way, a £0.55 bid on him doesn’t look as harmful as plenty of others of this value on the index.

3. Matthias Ginter | Market Buy £0.67, Instant Sell £0.37

Ginter is not hugely well known as reflected in his price. But there are a few points worth considering. He’s 26, has posted a 300 PB score this season, has played for the German National Team, and will be playing Champions League Football next year. Bundesliga has recently concluded, so a lot of decent players are being scrapped from traders' portfolios. Admittedly, it’s difficult to see Ginter ever being a star player by any means. But a bid around £0.40 still secures a player at 60% of their market value. It’d only take an instant sell value of £0.45 to sell on for a 10% profit. It’d have to be well timed; Ginter would have to be in good form, playing on a big stage such as UCL or Euros, or be on the cards for dividends, but it’s still a punt for those willing to risk it and believe in the defender's previous PB 300.

4. Ricardo Rodriguez | Market Value £0.45, Instant Sell £0.23

Similar to Ginter, Rodriguez is not as popular as some names, and is a real punt that you’ve got to be willing to lose on. However – he’s still only 27, a highly respected player for Switzerland, contracted to Milan (though was loaned out to PSV this year). In his 11 PB eligible games this season, he posted PBs over 225 on two occasions, winning PB dividends on one occasion. Milan are rising the ranks and it’s not yet certain what Rodriguez will be doing next season. However, if you could acquire at £0.25, he returned to Milan and featured in the Euros next year in an easy group, there’s a good chance he’ll post respectable PB numbers in the next 12 months. He’s listed as a defender on the index, and can play as a left midfielder so is a very cheap option for an attacking full back. It’s not an easy one to sell on by any means – so take caution. But if he can pick up dividends along the way, you’d only need to be selling at the same price you bought at to make a profit. Even if you sold on for a couple of pence more than your bid price, you’d still have a great profit margin without a market value rise. Worst case is you have to hold for a full three years and can never click instant sell, in which case, with the updated dividend structure you’d better hope he plays PB eligible football regularly.

5. Victor Lindelof | Market Value £0.59, Instant Sell £0.33

Lindelof has eyes on him regularly, regardless of his media or PB stats. He’s still only 25. He’s still a favoured starter for Manchester United. With the media bias, regular Premier League Football and potentially Champions League football next season, there’s a good chance Lindelof could pick up some form of dividend over a three year period, even if his PB stats look tame this season. Add that he’ll play for Sweden in the Euros and you’ve got regular eyes on the centre half over the course of your investment. A bid of £0.35 could get him in your portfolio for 60% of his market value. A hopeful punt, if somebody puts a bid in around the £0.45 mark you’ll still be sat on a profit of 25%.

A few notable names that currently run a spread of over 40% and can be successfully bid on for under £0.50:

1. Issa Diop, West Ham (IS £0.48)

2. Lewis Cook, Bournemouth (IS £0.36)

3. Jonny Castro, Wolves (IS £0.17)

4. Abdou Diallo, PSG (IS £0.34)

5. Yerry Mina, Everton (IS £0.24)

All of these examples are risky bets, as stated at the start. You need others to be bidding on them to even cashout. None of them look likely to pay for themselves through dividends alone, so reselling is absolutely vital. However, with the market growing and new traders constantly joining the index, you could hope that a few bids on these players would occur in the coming couple of seasons, allowing you to cash out at a price similar to what you’re bidding now. If they shine at any point and multiple bids come in, then there’s a real chance you could cash out at a profit even if their market value doesn't rise at all. However, all of these examples are priced low right now for a reason.

Although this flipping through bidding and monitoring tightening spreads gives a budget opportunity to gain a reasonably high profit margin, it comes with the risk of holding an undesirable or unproven dividend winner - locking up money until a good performance comes around. This is not a trading strategy that suits everyone by any means.

Finally, remember this platform is a gambling site. Every bet you place you have to be willing to lose. Gamble responsibly.

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Football Index Gurus | United Kingdom