FanDuel Soccer: EPL DFS Helper for 3/3/21
|Fixture||Favorite||Over 2.5 Goals||Most Likely
|Leicester City at Burnley||Leicester (+100)||+110||Vardy (-115)|
|Aston Villa at Sheffield United||Villa (+105)||+112||Watkins (+175)|
|Manchester United at Crystal Palace||Man United (-250)||-128||Cavani (+105)|
You don't need me to tell you this, but it's kinda my job -- Manchester United are going to be very popular on Wednesday. They're -186 to score two-plus goals, per FanDuel Sportsbook, while no other team holds a clip better than +120 to go over 1.5 goals. Crystal Palace are the league's second-worst team by expected goal (xG) difference, per FBRef. The key isn't going to be getting exposure to United -- everyone will be doing that -- it's going to be getting said exposure and still finding a way to be unique.
Bruno Fernandes ($23; +110) is the top play of the slate, and while it's always worth considering fading a player whose draft percentage could be north of 70%, Fernandes is one of two players in EPL -- a fully fit Kevin de Bruyne the other -- who has such a sturdy floor that it is difficult to fade him. He's scored at least 29.0 FanDuel points in four of his past five matches. Bruno takes penalties and some free kicks, and while his goal-scoring odds are pretty great, he can total 20-plus FanDuel points without the benefit of a goal thanks to his ability to create chances. I'll likely swallow the Bruno chalk and try to differentiate elsewhere.
Edinson Cavani ($17; +105) is expected to be good to go for United, and his goal odds are tops in this match. If he starts, he's a great stacking piece alongside Fernandes. I also like the idea of using Marcus Rashford ($21; +130), who has totaled at least 17.3 FanDuel points in four of his last five outings. Anthony Martial ($18; +130) and Mason Greenwood ($14; +160) carry nice goal odds, too, and you can make a case for plugging in three United attackers. That may very well wind up being the optimal route with Leicester and Aston Villa missing key cogs.
Jamie Vardy ($20; -115) is the best on-paper play outside of Manchester United. His -115 goal odds pace the slate, and Leicester are +120 to score two-plus goals at Burnley, the second-best clip of the slate. Burnley are the league's fifth-worst defense by xG allowed, and Vardy has 12 goals and five assists this campaign. He has, however, scored just once in the league across his past 10 EPL starts, and Leicester will be without Harvey Barnes and James Maddison. I'm much more willing to fade Vardy than I am Fernandes.
After United and Vardy, things are pretty open.
Aston Villa are going to be sans Jack Grealish again, which dings their outlook overall. It does likely put Anwar El Ghazi ($14; +185) into the starting lineup. El Ghazi made the net bulge last weekend, and he may be on penalties. El Ghazi hasn't played big minutes, but he's been productive when he's on the pitch, generating 0.75 goals per 90 minutes -- a Villa-best clip by some distance. Ollie Watkins ($22; +175) owns the best goal odds on Aston Villa, although he has put only one shot on target without Grealish over the past two matches.
Of the underdogs, Sheffield United have the best chance to score, per oddsmakers. The masses will likely get all four attacking players from United, Villa and Leicester, so nailing a goal from elsewhere could be big. Even though the Blades are fourth-worst in xG scored, that's good enough for the best mark among this slate's underdogs. Four Sheffield United players are +230 to get a goal -- Billy Sharp ($10), David McGoldrick ($16), Oliver McBurnie ($14) and Rhian Brewster ($8).
Added time -- With Wilfried Zaha sidelined, I won't be touching Palace's attack. ... Chris Wood ($17; +170) is available to start and isn't a bad shout. The goal odds are solid, and there's no way he's popular at that salary. ... Dan James ($10; +250) has made two straight starts for United and would be a probably-getting-too-cute way to get exposure to this slate's big favorite if he is in there again.
Luke Shaw ($12) is having a really nice season for the Red Devils. He's recorded five assists in EPL action and has been a steady source of creativity from his left-back spot, producing an average of five shot-creating actions over his past six matches. Shaw is a great stacking piece with any United attacker as he should spend plenty of time forward versus a Palace side that averages the third-lowest possession (40.85%). United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka ($15) isn't as good at crossing as Shaw is (just two assists), but he does have two goals, compared to none for Shaw.
On the flip side of that match, Crystal Palace's defenders are enticing for a totally different reason as they should be under siege for most of the match, giving them a relatively safe floor. WhoScored lists Gary Cahill ($12) and Cheikhou Kouyate ($11) as probable starters at center-back while Joel Ward ($8) and Patrick van Aanholt ($12) are at full-back. Kouyate has scored 14.1 and 19.5 FanDuel points over his last two, all via defensive actions.
I'm really into Ricardo Pereira ($12), who leads the slate's defenders with +700 goal odds. He's played only 503 minutes this season in his return from a serious knee injury, but in that limited time, he's put three shots on goal in EPL play while coming up with nine shot-creating actions. He'll have time to bomb forward against Burnley. At left-back for Leicester, Timothy Castagne ($9) has a goal and two assists this campaign. He's been credited with at least one shot-creating action in seven straight appearances, including four matches with multiple chances created in that time.
Added time -- Ahmed El Mohamady ($8) should continue filling in at right-back for Villa. He's finished with 16.0 and 12.8 FanDuel points in his two starts since Matty Cash went down. ... Ben Mee ($13) and James Tarkowski ($11) don't have much upside, but they average 16.7 and 14.7 FanDuel points, respectively, for the season.
The best win and clean-sheet odds fall to David de Gea ($14). United are -104 to keep a clean sheet while no other side is better than +150 to do so. Facing a Palace team that hasn't generated more than 1.0 xG in any of their previous 11 league matches, DDG is a quality play, and he will be a priority for me. The big negative with de Gea is that if he does concede a goal, there probably won't be much save volume to fall back on, so most of his fantasy output would come from the win bonus.
With everyone wanting to load up on Manchester United's high-salary studs, Kasper Schmeichel ($12) and Emiliano Martinez ($11) could wind up being more popular than de Gea due to their lower salaries. Both have good matchups.
Leicester are +100 to win and +150 to keep a clean sheet. Wood's return lifts Burnley's attack a bit, but the Clarets have scored only 18 times in 26 EPL outings. Martinez is proving to be a superb signing for Villa, and he's up against Sheffield United, the only squad to score fewer goals in the league than Burnley have, with the Blades getting a mere 15 goals in 26 matches. Martinez is coming off a stellar showing last weekend against Leeds United, a game in which he made three saves in a clean-sheet win. Villa are +156 to blank Sheffield United. Martinez has at least three saves in six straight matches, so he's unlikely to give you a total dud.
Added time -- Among the underdog keepers, the one I can most stomach is Nick Pope ($9). The talent is there, and he's getting a Leicester attack that will be short-handed. If you fade Vardy and company, Pope is a good correlation play.