SOCCER

FanDuel Soccer: EPL DFS Helper for 10/31/20

As always, we're covering FanDuel's main slate, and that kicks off at 8:30 a.m. EST on Saturday -- a little earlier than normal. All betting lines come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after the article is published.

Slate Overview

Fixture Favorite Over 2.5 Goals Most Likely
to Score
Manchester City at Sheffield United Man City (-340) -205 Aguero (-175)
Chelsea at Burnley Chelsea (-190) -154 Werner (-120)
West Ham at Liverpool Liverpool (-270) -245 Salah (-190)


Positional Breakdown

Forwards/Midfielders

We have only three games on this early-starting main slate, but we get a trio of elite sides. Manchester City own the best win odds on the slate (-340) for their match at Sheffield United, but Liverpool (-270) and Chelsea (-190) are comfortable favorites, too. That means we have a lot of big-time players in money spots, opening up a plethora of viable paths we can take when building lineups. It will be fun.

Let's start with City. Sheffield United were fantastic in 2019-20, but they've been brutal so far this campaign, taking a mere one point from their first six league matches. While Man City haven't been in great form, they're coming off a nice display midweek at Marseille and should roll here, which is reflected in the betting lines.

With Sergio Aguero expected to be out along with Gabriel Jesus being sidelined, the City attack will likely run through Kevin De Bruyne ($23; +125) and Raheem Sterling ($19; -120). After struggling with an injury recently, KDB started in the aforementioned midweek UCL match versus Marseille, and you know what kind of floor/ceiling combination he brings to the table. He'll likely be the slate's most popular player and is tough to fade due to his unrivaled floor. Sterling is going to be a chalk pick, as well, and he's got two goals and one assists in five league starts.

Riyad Mahrez ($21; +155) and Phil Foden ($17; +165) are outstanding plays who probably won't be in quite as many lineups as Sterling and KBD are. The goal odds are there for both. Foden has two goals in four league starts while Mahrez has a goal and an assist in four EPL starts.

Liverpool are in a smash spot at home versus West Ham, and while it feels like the Reds aren't as great as they were a campaign ago, they're tops in the league in expected goal difference, per FBRef. With that said, West Ham -- who are fourth in expected goal difference -- aren't a complete pushover.

The Reds' front three has to be on our radar. Mohamed Salah ($22; -190) has the best goal odds on the slate and has been on fire to start this campaign, scoring six times in six starts. His DFS stock gets a big lift from his penalty duties. Sadio Mane ($21; -140) actually has the second-best goal odds on the slate if we remove the City players who are unlikely to play. Roberto Firmino ($16; +130) bagged his first league goal of the season last weekend and is always a lower-salary, lower-popularity way -- compared to his front-three mates -- to get a piece of the Reds.

Chelsea have the toughest matchup of the three big boys, but the Blues are still -190 to win. At -154 to go over 2.5 goals, the Burnley-Chelsea match has the worst fantasy outlook -- by far -- on this slate. I won't be stacking Blues attackers, but it makes sense to grab one.

Timo Werner ($21; -120) could get lost in the shuffle a little bit this week if the masses load up on the high-salary options from Liverpool and City. Werner has slate-breaking upside, though he hasn't taken a penalty yet for Chelsea in league play, with Jorginho ($14; +290) handling all four. The playmaking of Mason Mount ($16; +300) and Christian Pulisic ($17; +140) could come in handy against a Clarets side that'll likely pack it in defensively.

Added time -- Chris Wood ($15; +175) is the underdog forward I like most. Chelsea have been prone to some nightmare games defensively, and Wood's goal-scoring odds are pretty nice. ... Even at full strength, Liverpool's defense was having a rough go of it, and they've allowed 14 goals in six EPL matches, tied for the most in the league. Jarrod Bowen ($15; +300) and Sebastien Haller ($14; +230) are the top options on West Ham with Michail Antonio out.

Defenders

For me, I will be looking at low-salary, decent-floor defenders this week for two reasons -- there are a lot of them, and I want to save as much coin as I can for attackers.

The defenders for Burnley, Sheffield United and West Ham should all be busy, and all three of those teams just faced similarly tough opposition in their last match, meaning we can feel reasonably good about projecting their outputs for Saturday.

Sheffield United have the most budget-friendly expected starters in Enda Stevens ($8) and George Baldock ($9). Ethan Ampadu ($7), who is listed as a defender on FanDuel, started last weekend in a defensive-midfield role at Liverpool. All three of these guys had at least 8.2 FanDuel points versus the Reds, led by Stevens' 18.6, and they're in a similar spot against City.

Burnley's Charlie Taylor ($9) totaled 7.8 FanDuel points at home versus Spurs this past Monday. West Ham's Arthur Masuaku ($10) scored 9.1 FanDuel points against City while Fabián Balbuena ($11) had 16.9. Even if we remove the game in which Balbuena scored a goal, he's got at least 16.7 FanDuel points -- all via defensive actions -- in three straight.

If you want to fork over the dough for upside defenders, there are also some good choices for that route, and they can be nice stacking partners with their attacking teammates.

After a slow start to the season, Trent Alexander-Arnold ($15; +500) has created three and five chances in his past two games, the most recent of which was a midweek UCL matchup. Andy Robertson ($14; +800) and Ben Chilwell ($15; +750) will also get forward plenty while Joao Cancelo ($10; +700) is enticing at his modest salary.

Added time -- I can't see many people using James Tarkowski ($15) when he's the same salary as Trent and Chilwell, but he is extremely reliable. Tarkowski is averaging 17.4 FanDuel points for the year and just posted 15.4 from solely defensive work against Tottenham. He'd likely need a goal from a set piece to really pop, though. ... There's a chance Rhys Williams ($5) starts at center-back for Liverpool given their injury crisis. He probably won't have a big fantasy day, especially if he doesn't get a clean-sheet bonus, but you don't need him to do much at his salary.

Goalies

There are two routes to take at goalie -- spend up for a favorite or roll the dice on a lower-salary underdog.

Alisson ($14), Ederson ($13) and Edouard Mendy ($11) are the three favorites. Mendy has kept a clean sheet in each of his first two league starts, and given his friendly salary, I'd expect him to be the most popular goalie pick on this slate. Chelsea are +140 to keep a clean sheet, so there's certainly merit to going with the Blues' new goalie.

But I like pivoting to one of the Brazilians. Ederson has the best clean-sheet odds on the slate (+108) while Alisson's (+150) are close to Mendy's. You can make a pretty straightforward case for Ederson, but I'm going to try to get up to Alisson, who I think will be the least popular of this trio.

West Ham are in the best form of any of the underdogs on this slate, and when you combine that with Liverpool's weakened defense, Alisson could be called into action more than usual, giving him a save-volume floor he doesn't usually offer. And it's not like a clean sheet is off the table at +150. A four- or five-save clean-sheet win in well within Alisson's range of outcomes.

Added time -- Among the underdog keepers, I can most stomach Nick Pope ($7). We know he's good in real life, and Burnley's defense just frustrated a red-hot Spurs side for most of the match last Monday. Burnley are only +500 to keep a clean sheet, but that's the top shutout odds by some distance for any of the underdogs. Burnley's +500 win odds are also the best among the three 'dogs.