Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 2/26/20
The Champions League, the best soccer competition on the planet, is back, and FanDuel is offering plenty of contests for the knockout rounds. This article will focus on the main Wednesday slate, which starts at 3 p.m. EST.
|Round of 16 -- 1st Leg|
|Wednesday, February 26th|
|Manchester City at Real Madrid|
|Juventus at Lyon|
Per FanDuel Sportsbook, Juventus are the slate's biggest favorite, listed at -105 to win on the road at Lyon. Manchester City (+130) are slight road favorites over Real Madrid (+190).
Let's look at some players to target at various price points.
Cristiano Ronaldo ($21) -- Ronaldo is going to be popular, but this might be a case where we have to swallow the chalk. Juve is -105 to win at Lyon, and Ronaldo's anytime goal odds of -130 are the best on the slate. He's got 21 goals and two assists in 21 Serie A starts, and he comes into this one in dazzling form, netting a goal in 14 of his past 15 matches in all competitions, with 19 total goals in that span. Ronaldo -- who has a monopoly on penalties -- is up against a Lyon side that might be the worst team left in the competition as they sit in seventh in Ligue 1. Outside of his likely sky-high ownership, there's a lot to love with the Portuguese superstar.
Paulo Dybala ($19) -- Just $2 cheaper than Ronaldo, Dybala could slip through the cracks on this slate, but he's +150 to score and handles some free-kick and set-piece duties -- from which he's more than capable of scoring. He's tallied six goals and four assists in 17 league starts (23 appearances), and his 6.1 non-penalty expected goals are the third-most on the team. Two of the four most likely scorelines have Juve scoring two goals, so stacking him with Ronaldo is viable. The budget gets tight if you do that, but you can make it work. Or you can fade Ronaldo and pivot to the Argentine if you're looking to dodge ownership.
Kevin De Bruyne ($19) -- De Bruyne has been in impeccable form in EPL play, and this tie presents Manchester City with a chance to salvage their season. KDB has eight goals and 17 assists in 25 domestic league starts. In four UCL starts, he's created 12 total chances, and he takes nearly all of City's corners. Oddsmakers -- maybe somewhat surprisingly -- have City (+130) as a slight favorite at Real Madrid (+190), and City are the favorites to win the competition. While the masses load up on Juventus, ownership should be fairly spread out on the City-Madrid clash, so nailing this game could make all the difference.
Moussa Dembele ($17) -- With all the big-name stars on this slate and Lyon a big underdog, Dembele is a perfect GPP play. While Juve are clearly the better side in this fixture, this isn't the same Juve defense from the past few years. The Italian giants have conceded 24 goals in 25 Serie A matches, including 14 goals in 13 away matches. Across all competitions, Juventus have kept just two clean sheets in their past eight outings. Dembele has scored 14 goals with two assists in Ligue 1 play, and he should be on penalties. He's +210 to score anytime, the best odds on Lyon, and two of the three most likely scorelines -- a 1-1 draw (+550) and 2-1 Juve win (+750) -- have Lyon getting a goal.
Isco ($11) -- With Eden Hazard out, there's a chance Isco starts for Real Madrid, and that would thrust him onto our radar at this salary. Once an emerging star, Isco has lost a lot of his shine in recent seasons, scoring just 11 total La Liga goals in the two-plus years since his 10-goal campaign in 2016-17. Despite the rocky form, he's still a skilled attacker, and his $11 price tag frees up cash for elsewhere. Manchester City have been better defensively since Aymeric Laporte -- who is expected to play -- came back from injury, but they've conceded 29 goals in 27 EPL matches this season.
Sergio Ramos ($14) -- Ramos is a unicorn among defenders because he takes some penalties for Real Madrid. He's scored on all three of his spot-kick tries this season in league play, taking 60% of Madrid's pens, with Karim Benzema standing over the other two (and scoring both of them). That gives Ramos a ceiling few defenders can match, and in addition to the penalty work, he's a massive aerial threat. City are good enough in possession that Ramos should have to contribute defensively, as well, so he checks a lot of boxes.
Alex Sandro ($13) -- Sandro is a great stacking partner with any of Juve's attackers. The left-back has three assists in Serie A play this season, and he's sent in at least four crosses in five of his past six matches in all competitions, including 16 total across his last three. On top of what he offers going forward, the clean-sheet odds aren't too shabby, with a 1-0 Juve win at +650 and a 2-0 win at +850.
Jason Denayer ($10) and Marçal ($9) -- Denayer should be busy at the heart of Lyon's defense, and he offers a solid floor at a cheap price. He averages 3.3 clearances and 1.3 blocks per game this season in Ligue 1. You can say the same for Marçal, Lyon's left-back. The Brazilian has averaged 2.6 tackles, 2.3 interceptions and 2.2 clearances per game domestically and is cheap in a match in which he should be active defensively.
Wojciech Szczęsny ($14) -- Szczęsny is a good play for the obvious reason -- he's got the best win odds on the slate. The negatives are that it should lead to him seeing a lot of ownership, and he's $2 more expensive than any other keeper. Still, a clean-sheet win is worth 17 FanDuel points before factoring in any saves, and if you're going heavy on Juve attackers, you should try to find a way to jam in Szczęsny.
Ederson ($12) -- After Szczęsny, it's a tough call on the remaining three keepers. Ederson has the next-best win odds (+130), though they're far from convincing. As we touched on earlier, City are significantly better defensively with Laporte in the lineup, keeping a clean sheet in each of the three starts the French center-half has made since recovering from injury. It's worth mentioning that if Ederson does actually take a penalty, something City are reportedly considering to cure their spot-kick woes, an Ederson goal wouldn't count in FanDuel's scoring system, which rewards keepers for only goalie-specific events.