FanDuel Soccer: Champions League DFS Helper for Tuesday 4/5/22
Liverpool (-250) at Benfica (+700)
Over 2.5 Goals: -162 | Most Likely to Score: Salah (-115)
Atletico Madrid (+850) at Manchester City (-310)
Over 2.5 Goals: -128 | Most Likely to Score: Mahrez (+125)
The two sides fighting for the Premier League title are the focal points of this slate as Liverpool (-250 to win) and Manchester City (-310) are big favorites.
It's rare that Liverpool are ever anything but super chalky, especially on a two-match slate, but the presence of the City as big home favorites could keep the draft percentages on the Reds' stars -- outside of Mohamed Salah ($21) -- from being through the roof. And despite City being a bigger favorite, I want to stack the Reds more than I want to stack City.
Liverpool are -240 to score at least two goals while City are -220 to do so. Benfica are no pushover -- they advanced out of a group that contained Bayern Munich and Barcelona -- but with that said, Benfica are just third in their domestic league. They're 12 points behind a Porto side that lost to Liverpool by scores of 5-1 and 2-0 in the group stage. In short, the Reds should be too much for Benfica.
Salah (-115 to score) has the best goal odds on the slate and will likely be the most popular player. He's got an astounding 28 goals and 10 assists across 36 appearances in the EPL and UCL. He's also the Reds' first-choice penalty taker. Salah checks every box, with the lone blemish being that he'll see a huge draft percentage.
I'm tempted to dodge the Salah chalk and stack whoever starts alongside him in the Reds' front three, which will be two of Diogo Jota ($17; +160), Luis Diaz ($18; +175), Sadio Mane ($19; +120) and Roberto Firmino ($16; +150). Jota averages 0.64 non-penalty expected goals (xG) per 90 minutes, according to FBRef, while Mane's meh production this season -- just 12 goals in EPL play -- could keep the masses off him.
For City, we know Atletico can be a miserable team to play against, and Diego Simeone's crew would love nothing more than to take this back to Madrid tied 0-0 for the second leg. City might be the best side in Europe, though, and they're still -220 to get at least two goals.
Kevin De Bruyne ($19; +230) and Riyad Mahrez ($17; +125) are the standout plays for Man City. Mahrez has been City's main penalty taker, which is a big reason why he holds team-best goal odds, and he also handles some corners. If Atleti pack it in defensively and force City to rely on crosses, KDB would benefit as he's one of the best crossers in the game.
Hitting on a goal from either Benfica or Atleti would be huge. Of the two underdogs, Benfica is most likely to make the net bulge. They're -165 to score at least once while Atleti are just -115 to score. Darwin Nunez ($16; +330) has the top goal odds for Benfica. Rafa Silva ($15; +550) created six chances last round in the home clash with Ajax.
Atleti have plenty of star power to hurt City on the counter. Luis Suarez ($15; +330) has the team's best goal odds while Joao Felix ($16; +600) and Antoine Griezmann ($17; +550) are super talented players who won't see significant draft percentages.
Geoffrey Kondogbia ($10; +2300) should step in for an injured Hector Herrera in the holding role for Atleti. He's purely a floor play who is a longshot to score or assist a goal, but he's viable on a two-match slate due to how active he'll have to be defensively versus City. The salary relief is a big help, too.
I'll be looking at the center-backs for the two underdogs. Both Atleti's and Benfica's backlines should be very busy, giving them a good shot to rack up double-digit FanDuel points at modest salaries.
Jose Gimenez is out for Atleti, so they might give us a value center-back. Stefan Savic ($11) is a nailed-on starter, and he posted 15.4 FanDuel points at Manchester United in Atletico's last UCL match. He's plenty capable of producing that kind of DFS output again, and he's a core play for me.
Wily vets Nicolas Otamendi ($13) and Jan Vertonghen ($11) are the expected starters at center-back for Benfica. Otamendi is averaging 20.0 FanDuel points per game in UCL play and finished with 15.8 and 12.1 FanDuel points last round in two meetings with Ajax. Vertonghen had 10.2 and 20.6 FanDuel points in the Round-of-16 games.
Liverpool have three defenders with anytime goal odds of at least +850, led by Virgil van Dijk ($11), who is +550 to score. The Reds absorbed a good amount of pressure in the away leg versus Inter last round, which led to VVD totaling 18.0 FanDuel points on solely defensive actions. Full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold ($15) and Andrew Robertson ($13) are top-notch plays, as usual. Trent's role on free kicks and set pieces gives him a ceiling that's unrivaled at the position.
Joao Cancelo ($14) is much like Alexander-Arnold and Robertson as an attacking full-back who should spend a lot of time in forward areas. Similar to KDB, Cancelo will get a boost if this turns into a match in which City have to resort to crossing the ball against an Atleti defense that commits to clogging up the middle of the pitch.
Alisson ($12) and Ederson ($11) are the keepers to target for a win and/or clean sheet. Liverpool are -250 to win and +120 to keep a clean sheet. Man City are -310 to win and -122 to blank Atleti.
You can make a strong case for either Brazilian, but I'll side with Ederson. Man City have conceded just once in their last four matches, and they shut out Sporting in both legs in the Round of 16.
Jan Oblak ($9) and Odysseas Vlachodimos ($8) won't be nearly as popular as Ederson and Alisson, and the salary savings they offer could be big. Of course, both are long shots to get either the win or clean-sheet bonus, but they might make up for that via save volume if they can keep the damage to just a goal or two.
If I just can't find the salary for one of the two favorites, Oblak is where I'll land. He isn't in peak form this campaign, but he's capable of putting forth a world-class display on any given night. He'll likely be a busy man on Tuesday.