FanDuel Soccer: Champions League DFS Helper for 8/7/20
|Fixture||Favorite||Over 2.5 Goals||Most Likely
|Juventus vs. Lyon||Juventus (-240)||-130||Ronaldo (-210)|
|Manchester City vs. Real Madrid||Man City (-145)||-205||Jesus (-115)|
We have two big favorites on this slate in Manchester City and Juventus, and they're in different situations after the first leg. Man City won 2-1 at Real Madrid, so they're in a commanding position. Juve, meanwhile, dropped a 1-0 result at Lyon in the first leg. If Lyon score on Friday, Juventus will need three goals to advance due to the road goals tiebreaker. City can advance via a 0-0 draw or even a 1-0 defeat, but oddsmakers expect fireworks, putting the Madrid-City clash at -205 to go over 2.5 goals.
So, all in all, Juve looks like the best target on this slate. They have to score, and they're the biggest favorite (-210).
As you'd expect, that puts Cristiano Ronaldo ($22; -210 to score anytime) in a money spot, and his ownership should reflect that. Ronaldo is Ronaldo. He's got the slate's best anytime goal odds, and his penalty duties are a big boost to his DFS outlook as he bagged a whopping 12 spot-kick goals (in 13 tries) in Serie A this season.
But instead of swallowing the Ronaldo chalk, I like the idea of using Paulo Dybala ($19; +100), who appears to be trending in the right direction in terms of his fitness. The Argentine's goal odds are excellent, and he's been really good this season under Maurizio Sarri, who has played Dybala centrally, which is where WhoScored projects Dybala to be in this one. Dybala finished league play with 11 goals and six assists in 25 Serie A starts, and his mark of 0.61 non-penalty expected goals plus assists per 90 minutes -- per FBRef -- is close to Ronaldo's clip of 0.68. Ronaldo is the better play in a vacuum due to the penalties, but given Ronaldo's likely sky-high ownership, pivoting to Dybala makes a lot of sense.
As for City-Madrid, if recent Champions League seasons have taught us anything, it should be -- no tie is over after the first leg and never count out Real Madrid.
I will be getting exposure to both sides of this matchup, but City is the side to stack. In the first leg, there were 27 total shots between the two teams, and City accounted for 16 of them -- and that was in front of a rowdy crowd at the Bernabeu. While Real Madrid have been amazing since the restart, winning 10 straight matches to capture the La Liga crown, they'll be without Sergio Ramos, who is banned. City are a deserving favorite, and with Madrid needing to score at least two goals to move on, Real could leave themselves open defensively.
The first leg was the first time Kevin De Bruyne ($22; +220) took over as City's penalty taker, and that has taken his DFS outlook from always good to always amazing. He'll handle most of City's corners and free kicks, too, and KDB's floor/ceiling combination is as good as anyone's outside of Lionel Messi's. I expect the Belgian to continue his dazzling form from post-break EPL play.
Gabriel Jesus ($18; -110) has the best goal odds in this matchup. He scored a goal in the first leg despite putting in a shift and tracking back often while playing as a winger/midfielder. Time will tell if Pep Guardiola deploys him in the same fashion on Friday, but my hunch is Jesus is back to his normal number-nine role. Raheem Sterling ($21; +120), Riyad Mahrez ($17; +190), David Silva ($14; +210), Phil Foden ($15; +230) and Bernardo Silva ($13; +230) all have solid goal odds. If he gets in the starting lineup, Mahrez is a guy who might slip through the cracks a bit at his lofty price tag, especially if the masses stack Juve and pay up for KDB.
Real Madrid didn't play well in the first leg, but they did score and have been in much better form lately. City are just +200 to keep a clean sheet, so oddsmakers think Real Madrid will get a goal.
Karim Benzema ($20; +140) has the best goal odds on the team and was on fire at the end of La Liga play. He finished the campaign with 21 goals and eight assists, and he totaled four goals and an assist across his last four matches. He should take penalties as he's the only player other than the suspended Ramos to take a pen for Madrid this season. WhoScored has Rodrygo ($15; +300) and Eden Hazard ($17; +240) starting as wingers, but whoever Real starts there -- possibly Vinícius Júnior ($17; +280) -- could be impactful on the counter against a City defense that can be shaky at times.
Added time -- Lyon doesn't figure to attract much ownership, and oddsmakers don't give them much of a chance. But Lyon deserved the win in the opening leg, keeping Juve without a shot on goal. Lyon hit them on the counter as Juve held 64% of the possession. Lyon will likely play on the counter again, and they know that one goal will give them a great chance to progress. Moussa Dembele ($18; +230) and Memphis Depay ($18; +310) have the best goal odds on Lyon, and Depay handles some set-piece work for the French side.
This isn't a very good slate for defenders. There aren't many high-priced attacking full-backs worth paying up for, and there might not be much in the way of cheap center-backs on underdogs.
When starting lineups are announced, the first thing I'll be doing is checking Lyon's back line for any cheap starters. Any of Lyon's defenders should offer a solid floor in a game in which they'll see very little of the ball. At home (with fans) in the first leg, Lyon had just 36% of the possession, and that number could be even lower in a match in which Lyon have something to protect. Jason Denayer ($11) and Marcelo ($10) are Lyon's cheapest probable starters. Marcelo had 18 FanDuel points in the first leg, and they all came via defensive actions, though Lyon probably won't get a clean-sheet bonus this time around.
Speaking of the clean-sheet bonus, Leonardo Bonucci ($9) is a cheap dart throw at one as Juve are -108 to blank Lyon -- by far the best clean-sheet odds on the slate. Bonucci doesn't do much going forward, but he can be stacked with Juve's keeper (more on him in a minute) in an effort to double-up on the clean-sheet bonus.
Either Marcelo ($15) or Ferland Mendy ($10) should be at left-back for Real Madrid. Marcelo could be a GPP swing play if he gets the nod. I can't see many people wanting to pay up for him, but he should be aggressive getting forward -- maybe even more so than usual -- in a match in which Madrid need goals.
Added time -- Alex Sandro ($15) created two chances in the first leg for Juventus, and he should spend a ton of time getting forward. I don't know if I'll want to fork over the dough to get him, but he has an appealing ceiling. ... Eric Garcia ($8) could start at center-half for Man City, and the price means that we have to consider him as he can help you jam in the attackers you want. While he isn't all that productive in DFS for a City side that usually dominate the ball, Garcia could have to do more defensively if Madrid go all-out attack.
Wojciech Szczesny ($13) has the best win odds as well as the best clean-sheet odds -- by a good distance in both fronts. He's priced accordingly as he's $2 more expensive than any other keeper. Normally I don't like swallowing chalk at goalie, but on a four-game slate, Szczesny should be worth it. He can get us 17 FanDuel points via a clean-sheet win before factoring in any saves. You can pair Szczesny with a Juve defender or an attacker. Attacker-goalie stacks are one of the more productive stacks, per a study I did this spring.
Ederson ($11) is a favorite who is priced economically. While Real Madrid are on a great run and are expected to score, per oddsmakers, they've bagged just one goal in three of their last six matches. This isn't a Madrid side that is amazing in attack, although I'm not expecting a clean sheet for City. Ederson is cheap access to good win odds, and he should have to make a few saves. I'll probably land here in a lot of my lineups.
Added time -- Thibaut Courtois ($9) is a bet-on-talent option, and it's easy to like the price. Over Real's last seven La Liga games, they've given up only three goals. Courtois should see save volume against a high-powered City side, and if he's in top form, he can stifle any attack. ... Anthony Lopes ($7) is a high-variance play, but one thing we should be able to count on is the Lyon keeper being very busy. The hope is that Lopes limits the damage to just a goal or two and garners enough save volume to offset any goal(s) he allows. A six-save outing in which he concedes two goals would result in 13 FanDuel points. A day like that is on the table, but so is an output in the red. If you're going with just one Juve attacker, Lopes makes sense as a correlation play.