Being on top no fantasy

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They let an American into their exclusive British club, and he’s toppled the cake stand, scones and pastries all over the place, and slurps the Earl Grey like a Komodo dragon.

Oscar Madison culinary habits aside, I don’t expect a return invitation to their fantasy Premier League next season.

After my second week atop the 28-team Nigel & Harry’s League, commissioner Nigel Seeley wrote me, in a direct message, “You have no chance … you’re 25-to-1, in-play.”

After the third week at No. 1, I inquired if he and his mates were going to allow these SheringHammers to get away with this?

“No.”

Seeley, 47, is the eminent handicapper-journalist and former oddsmaker based in Bromley, England, son of a longtime Ladbrokes director. Harry is his 16-year-old son. Nigel’s cousin, James, is nipping at my heels.

Two years ago, I met Nigel after he had participated in a historic BetCast, involving a Las Vegas Lights FC minor league soccer match and ever-shifting William Hill odds, on a public-access Vegas TV outlet. The figures were the focus, and it was likely the first of its kind in the States. I featured him in my 2019 book “Sports Betting for Winners,” in which he predicted the immense popularity of future NFL BetCasts.

I accepted his fantasy invitation. A Belgian father-son duo is “chasing you hard at the top,” says Nigel. I have 272 points. The Belgians are 10 back, James Seeley (245) is fourth, Nigel (204) 11th and Harry (175) 21st.

SheringHammers rank among the top 1.25 percentile of the 7.16 million total fantasy participants on the Premier League’s official site, host of the Seeley League.

My team name is a nod to Teddy Sheringham, a favorite player who scored one of two late Manchester United goals to upend Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League finale in Barcelona. His extra-curricular exploits are legend. A Miss Great Britain once had to return her crown when it became known she was dating a pageant judge — Sheringham! (She kept a pair of Jimmy Choos, worth about ten grand he’d gifted her.) The Queen even found time to bestow upon him a Most Excellent medal.

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As SheringHammers’ chairman, I first inked Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne. With 100 million fantasy pounds to spend, those two combined cost nearly a quarter of my budget. I’d fill the roster with second-tier talent.

Salah, Liverpool’s Egyptian magician, recorded 73 goals and 28 assists over the previous three seasons. Made him my captain, a title which doubles his points. And on opening weekend I gave him a special designation — to be used only once a season — that tripled his production.

He found the net three times, so his 20 points against Leeds ballooned to 60. That powered the Hammers to No. 1 out of the gate. Manchester City midfielder De Bruyne is the reigning Premier League player of the year, and I made him vice captain. Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, who delivered 24 points two weekends ago with two goals and three assists in a 7-2 blasting of Liverpool, has been my surprise signing.

Most European leagues were idle last week, since national competitions and friendlies dotted the calendar. So my four consecutive weeks atop Nigel & Harry’s League was guaranteed to hit a fifth.

Saturday, Arsenal visits the Etihad to play Man City. Just another match, unless your name is De Bruyne and your SheringHammers’ vice captaincy is tenuous, at best, with Grealish’s emergence. As far as the league’s exclusivity, there are a dozen Yanks in it. All eyes, however, are on the one with the fish-and-chips grease all over his mug.

Saturday

Millwall at Wycombe, Total 2.5 Un -129: Wycombe’s promotion to the Championship (England’s second division) has been a disaster—it’s 0-4, having been outscored 10-0. Millwall for the win is tempting, but it has tallied only three goals in four matches. UNDER

Liverpool at Everton, Total 3 Un -102: Four of these past six derby matches inside 128-year-old Goodison Park have finished nil-nil, the other two involved three total goals. This rivalry involves blood, bruises and the occasional broken bone, but scant scoring. UNDER

Sunday

Union Berlin +162 at Schalke 04: Schalke’s -3.00 expected goal differential per 90 minutes is the worst among the Big Five’s 98 clubs. It owns a 19-match winless streak. It is 0-3 in the Bundesliga, having been outscored 15-1. Do not let keeper Ralf Fährmann hold your baby. UNION BERLIN

Last week: 1-2

Season: 8-10-1

About the Author
Rob Miech

Rob Miech

Rob Miech is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today, covering soccer and producing sports betting features. He has written about college hoops for the Las Vegas Sun, CBS SportsLine and the Pasadena Star-News. He is the author of four books, including Sports Betting for Winners.

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