Previously known as the National Football League, the I-League runs alongside the Indian Super League. In fact, it is the top level of football in the country.
Just in case any bookies’ lists advertise it differently, look out for the Hero I-League which is how this competition is marketed around the world for sponsorship reasons.
As the successor to the National Football League, the I-League as we now know it was inaugurated in 2007. It then became India’s first professional league.
The aim was to attract bigger crowds and increase turnover. However, also to have good overseas players play in the league from whom the homegrown players would learn and thus ultimately increase the national team’s chances at international level with the ultimate aim being to get India to the World Cup.
It is still early days for the I-League, but some strong sponsorship money and good salaries being handed out to foreign players has increased its profile and it can only be on and up from here.
Read on for our quick guide to Indian I-League Betting.
Indian I-League Betting
Since the competition began the format and rules have changed just about every single season, as it is still in its infancy after all. As of now, the I-League is fought for by 11 clubs who play each other home and away for a 20-game season.
Only two teams ultimately see their situation change at the end of the campaign, the winners being crowned champions and qualifying for the AFC Champions League and the bottom club being relegated. The relegated side moves down to the I-League Second Division which in itself is improving gradually.
AFC Champions League Qualification I-League clubs are mostly included in the AFC Cup, though the real prize is the qualification for the Champions League for this region.
While the champions do officially qualify from India, some teams haven’t met the AFC licensing criteria and so while in theory, it remains possible, up to now no Indian teams have actually got through to the AFC Champions League group stages which is the longer-term goal.
India’s Biggest Teams & Players
Dempo has won the league the most over the years, though other winners have included Churchill Brothers, Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru, Salgaocar, Aizawl, Minerva Punjab and Chennai City although more franchises could yet be added to the league.
In much the same way as America or Australia in the early days, the I-League has become known as a place older star players head to for one last payday, although it’s nice to still see the big names in action every week!
Bona fide superstars Roberto Carlos, Adrian Mutu, Nikolas Anelka, Robert Pires, Alessandro Del Piero and Diego Forlan have all played here.
Also having featured in the I-League are Premier League regulars:
- Tim Cahill
- David James
- Peter Ramage
- Michael Chopra
- Jermaine Pennant
- Wes Brown
- Aaron Hughes
- Robbie Keane
- John Arne Riise
- Florent Malouda
- Mikael Silvestre
- Marco Materazzi
Key Betting Markets in the Indian I-League
It’s a short league season in India. The pace can be slow due to the heat and the fact a lot of the overseas players are reaching a certain age. So, all in all, we would expect low scoring games and plenty of draws.
However, while the home win percentage isn’t the greatest there is a very even spread between home-draw-away results while the goals tally is relatively impressive at nearly 2.8 per game.
Home wins stand at 42%, just below the average. Draws are at 25% which is reasonable and 33% of games end in an away draw which is good for us.
With that in mind, here’s how to best play the Indian I-League:
- Away Wins – time and time again bookmakers will offer juicy prices for away teams. This is not them being stupid. It’s simply down to the fact that the vast majority of lazy punters will go for home teams believing they have a big advantage. With 1/3 of all games going to travelling sides, finding lots of 7/4 and 2/1+ shouldn’t be difficult. Therefore, there is value to be had on each match day.
- Total Goals – the 2.8 goals per game figure is not huge. When taking out the top league scorers there are plenty of opportunities to bet on under 1.5 and make a profit.
Place Your Bets in the Indian I-League Now!
Now you know a little more about India’s top football league, you can place your bets with confidence via any of Roger.com’s recommended online bookmakers.