FanDuel Soccer: EPL DFS Helper for 2/20/21
|West Brom at Burnley||Burnley (+105)||+122||Wood (+110)|
|Everton at Liverpool||Liverpool (-220)||-160||Salah (-140)|
|Sheffield United at Fulham||Fulham (+120)||+140||Decordova-Reid (+155)|
So, Liverpool are going to be popular. The Reds are -220 to win, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, while no other team has win odds above +105. My simulations give Liverpool a 71.0% chance to score at least two goals, and I have no other side with better than a 48.6% chance to do so. Given the makeup of his small slate and the Reds coming off a 2-0 win over Leipzig midweek in the Champions League, a majority of lineups are going to stack Liverpool.
Mohamed Salah ($23; -140) and Sadio Mane ($22; -115) are the obvious plays for the Reds, per usual. Pairing them together is difficult, as they carry the two highest salaries on the slate, but you can do it if you're willing to make sacrifices elsewhere. Both scored in said win versus Leipzig, and Salah -- Liverpool's penalty taker -- has 17 goals and three assists in EPL play this season. It's hard to argue against using the Egyptian, but I'll likely pivot to Mane in a lot of lineups. With 9.9 expected goals -- per FBRef -- and just seven actual goals, Mane is due for some better goal luck, although going with him is mostly about avoiding the Salah chalk.
Elsewhere on Liverpool, Curtis Jones ($9; +340) is one of my favorite plays of the slate. He's got two assists and four shots (none of which were on target) across his past five appearances, only three of which were starts. I like him as a stacking piece alongside Mane or Salah, and the cap relief is awfully handy.
My simulations -- which rely heavily on expected goals -- like the Merseyside derby to be a high-scoring match. I have the fixture totaling at least three goals 70.6% of the time. Liverpool are the reason for a lot of that, but I give Everton a 40.6% chance to score two-plus goals. That feels high, but Everton just scored a goal against City when no one really does that anymore, and the Toffees also bagged three at United and five on Spurs (in the FA Cup). Liverpool are just the 12th-best defense by expected goals allowed.
Oddsmakers aren't as high on Everton, giving them a +285 line to score two-plus goals, which implies odds of only 26.0%. Their outlook definitely improves if Dominic Calvert-Lewin ($18; +200) is fit to start. Richarlison ($20; +300) has pretty bad goal odds for a player with a salary that high, so my exposure to Everton's attack will likely come through DCL (if he starts) or James Rodriguez ($16; +410). James' goal odds are meh, too, but his role on set pieces makes him less goal-reliant. He created three chances and had an assist on his way to 23.6 FanDuel points in the reverse fixture.
As weird as this is to say, especially this campaign, Burnley have the second-best odds (48.6%) to score two-plus goals, per my model. If you have a hard time buying into that, you're not alone, but West Brom have been terrible defensively, shipping 55 goals in 24 league matches. Jay Rodriguez ($17; +165) and Ashley Barnes ($17; +140) have been operating as a front two without Chris Wood ($13; +110), who is looking iffy for this one. Barnes has scored 16.6 and 21.3 FanDuel points across his last two while Rodriguez has an assist in two straight. If Wood does get back into the team, he'd offer fantastic bang for your buck given his nice goal odds and low salary.
Fulham are a side my projections like in their home date with Sheffield United. Fulham are +152 to go over 1.5 goals, which implies odds of 39.7%, but my model has them scoring at least two goals 45.6% of the time. Fulham have been playing much better of late, including a 2-0 win at Everton in which they amassed 2.7 expected goals in a pretty complete performance.
Bobby De Cordova-Reid ($14; +155) has the best goal odds on Fulham and comes with a salary that fits pretty well alongside Salah and Mane if you're trying to stack this slate's two big dogs. He's scored a team-best five EPL goals this season. Josh Maja ($16; 240) has added some juice to this attack, including a brace in the aforementioned win at Everton. Ruben Loftus-Cheek ($11; +360) comes with a modest salary and has created at least one chance in seven straight, although his overall fantasy output has been lackluster.
Added time -- Roberto Firmino ($18; +180) is almost always the least popular of the Reds' front three, so he's a fun pivot off the big two -- or as a stacking partner with one of them -- if you want to go that route. He just doesn't have near the upside Salah and Mane do. ... Dwight McNeil ($15; +440) should be a contrarian way to get exposure to Burnley. He's put up at least 16.9 FanDuel points in two of his last three. ... I'll mostly stay away from the attacks of West Brom and Sheffield United, but Mbaye Diagne ($16; +250) deserves a mention. He's registered four shots on target and a goal over his last three outings. Burnley's defense is fifth-worst by expected goals allowed.
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold ($15) and Andrew Robertson ($14) are superb plays and seem to be finding their form.
It'll be interesting to see the give-and-take battle between Alexander-Arnold, the Reds' right back, and Everton left-back Lucas Digne ($11). Both are ultra attack-minded, but when they go forward, it will leave space in behind for the other one. Trent has +600 goal odds, handles some set pieces and is always a safe bet to bomb in a ton of crosses, making him a perfect stacking partner with any of Liverpool's front three. He's scored exactly 20.3 FanDuel points in two straight. Robertson (+900) doesn't share the excellent (for a defender) goal odds, but he leads the team in corners and is no stranger to a money ball into the box.
While we haven't touched on Sheffield United too much, Jayden Bogle ($10) is a really nice option. He's been playing wing-back for the Blades, which pushes him up the pitch, and a matchup with Fulham should give him more chances to get forward than he usually has. Bogle carries +600 goal odds, tied with Alexander-Arnold for the best clip among defenders.
Mason Holgate ($12) and Michael Keane ($14) are high-floor plays against Liverpool. Both should be busy, and I prefer to take the salary discount with Holgate, who has thrived in these type of matches. Two of Holgate's previous three outings have been clashes with Manchester United and Manchester City, and he totaled 14.3 FanDuel points in both -- all from defensive actions. He also had a 20.6-point game versus Chelsea earlier this campaign. We can expect a solid output on Saturday in a tough draw at Anfield.
Added time -- Ainsley Maitland-Niles ($7) is an intriguing play. Listed as a defender, he's started in central midfield lately for the Baggies, and he offers decent attacking punch versus Burnley at a low salary. ... Enda Stevens ($6) is an expected starter at wing-back for Sheffield United. Like Bogle, Stevens should be able to get forward Saturday more than usual, and his salary is the lowest for any probable starter. He needs to at least be on the radar, especially if you're jamming in Mane and Salah.
Given what I laid out earlier with how my model views Everton, it's hard for me to get excited about Alisson ($14) at his position-high -- by $2 -- salary. He definitely has the best win odds, but my simulations have Liverpool keeping a clean sheet only 23.2% of the time. On FanDuel Sportsbook, they are +126 to blank Everton, which comes out to implied odds of 44.2%. Oddsmakers know what they're doing, and if you don't use any Everton attackers, Alisson fits with that build if you have the coin. He is unlikely to be as popular as this next guy.
The slate's best clean-sheet odds, according to my simulations, belong to Nick Pope ($12) as I have the Clarets shutting out West Brom 31.5% of the time. Oddsmakers like Pope's clean sheet odds, as well, putting a +134 (42.7%) line on Burley to keep the Baggies from scoring. West Brom have generated a gosh-it's-bad 16.6 expected goals in 24 EPL matches, the fewest in the league. Yikes. Pope will likely be the chalk goalie play.
Fulham are also +134 to keep a clean sheet versus Sheffield United, the same odds as Burnley. That line (42.7%) isn't far off from what my sims say (37.1%). Alphonse Areola ($11) is well worth a look, and I like him as a pivot off Pope. The Blades have produced just 15 goals in 24 outings, although their expected goal total of 21.7 hints at some bad luck. Fulham have allowed fewer than one expected goal in three of their past five games.
Added time -- Of the three remaining expected starters, Aaron Ramsdale ($8) has the most appeal, but I won't go here much. Even though Fulham have been improved of late, they've failed to score in four of their past seven across all competitions. Sheffield United pretty much have to win this match to have any chance of a great escape.