The Champions League semifinals have arrived. Liverpool is heavy favorites at -333 (BetMGM) against the surprising Villarreal. Liverpool sports the best offense in the EPL, with 2.37 expected goals per match. Their defense ranks third in the EPL with 0.93 expected goals allowed. Villarreal have produced an underachieving campaign in La Liga, sitting outside qualifications for both Champions League and Europa qualifications for next season. They allow 1.16 expected goals per match and score 1.7. In Champions League run, Liverpool has seven matches of two-plus goals out of their last eight. In all competitions they have recorded two plus goals in nine of their last 10 outings. Villarreal has posted that two-goal mark just four of their last 11 matches. In that time they have been shut out three times.
Villarreal have all hands on deck for the Champions League push, and they have a history of doing well in cup competitions. They rarely find themselves at the Champions League, and the success has come in Europa League. They have a tall order against Liverpool, but do not forget they had as tough a matchup against Bayern Munich. Regardless of the outcome of this semifinal, Villarreal has put together an impressive run. The total of 2.5 goals is -162 (BetMGM) to cover the over. Liverpool is capable of scoring three goals on their own but both can score. A bet that stands out is the over on corners at 9.5 -120 (BetMGM). Villarreal compact on the defense and blocking attempts by Liverpool could see shots fly wide of the target. Villarreal averages 5.42 crosses per match. Time of possession will not let them reach this mark, but Liverpool should carry the load with an average 7.48 per match.
Below are the top UCL DFS picks on DraftKings and FanDuel, which consider all aspects of the slate, from Awesemo’s expert UCL DFS projections to pricing to popularity for DFS fantasy soccer. These UCL DFS soccer picks should help with creating highly projected lineups in DraftKings and FanDuel fantasy soccer tournaments and cash games.
UCL DFS DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy Soccer Lineups
Mohamed Salah (DraftKings: $17,700, FanDuel $16)
Sadio Mane (DraftKings: $15,600, FanDuel $14)
Diogo Jota (DraftKings: $15,000, FanDuel $12)
Liverpool will look to post a number of goals and make the second leg in Spain less stressful. The goal hunters have a balanced attack and complement each other with goal contribution rates. Mohamed Salah leads the pack with a 41.17% contribution rate and a 2-to-1 goal-to-assist ratio. His salary comes atop the list, but with PK sets and shot volume of 4.12 per match, his brace upside is very real. His ownership will be massive and rostering him up top will leave little wiggle room for the rest of the build. On FanDuel there really is no reason to not go heavy on the ownership.
The pivots off Salah are Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota. Both playmakers average north of three shots per match, and they are close behind Salah with 13 and 14 goals apiece. Jota and Mane will need goals to pay off the price, and assists are not their friends. In MME lineups the split even between Mane and Jota makes sense, as they allow a slight discount on salary from Salah on DraftKings. Keep in mind, the highest ownership should flow to the Liverpool wingbacks, who handle set shares and offer discounts to fit two of these three attackers and still balance the lineup. Should Luis Diaz see the starting rotation, he flows through the same goal-hunting GPP plays as Jota or Mane. Diaz offers a slight bump in the floor with drawn fouls and a shot volume rate of 3.62 per match, which is higher than both Jota and Mane.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (DraftKings: $9,400, FanDuel $10)
Andrew Robertson (DraftKings: $9,000, FanDuel $9)
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson should have the highest floors. The open-play deliveries will be there, as Villarreal packs down to defend the attackers from entering the box. They combine for 14.28 crosses per match, and the split comes heavier on the corner kicks. This would open up a correlation punt with Joel Matip or Ibrahima Konate, depending on who comes alongside Virgil Van Dijk. They attack the headers on the corner deliverers, which would impact the shots and assisted shots from the wingbacks. The floor is them not connecting, making them more GPP plays. The upside is a goal from cheaper-salary player on the heavily favored Liverpool side.
Pairing Robertson and Alexander-Arnold together will be popular and makes sense. The high prices on DraftKings makes it hard to fit the goal hunters, but the clean sheet bonus is a possible outcome to boost the crossing volume. Villarreal finding the back of the net hurts the price point for Van Dijk and Matip, but Robertson and Alexander-Arnold are free of that dependency making them core plays.
Arnaut Danjuma (DraftKings: $7,000, FanDuel $11)
Juan Foyth (DraftKings: $3,200, FanDuel $7)
There is another team playing in this semifinals, and it is well documented that they can upset the best of clubs. Arnaut Danjuma has carried the load offensively for Villarreal. Gerard Moreno may see the starting rotation, but his minutes are hard to trust. Danjuma has taken penalties for the club, along with Moreno. Danjuma averages 3.60 shots per match with an on-target accuracy clip of 42.4%. His upside is scoring, and there is not enough of a floor despite the discounted salary. He makes a solid one-off option without rostering Alisson of Liverpool. Danjuma’s success will be Alisson’s demise.
Dani Parejo will be a popular one-off option due to set shares and drawn fouls mixed with defensive metrics. The best value one-off considering the price is Juan Foyth, who is not offensively minded. He accumulates won tackles/interceptions. A clean sheet is out of the question, and Foyth can pay off this price with the increased volume he looks to see from Robertson and one of Mane or Diaz on the wing. Foyth could easily see five won tackles/interceptions. This is his season average, and that offers 2x value. The downside is his nearly two fouls committed per match and 1.26 drawn fouls to counter that. Foyth is not in consideration on FanDuel due to the opportunity cost of losing Robertson or Alexander-Arnold with one defender position available.
Other Options: Geronimo Rulli (DraftKings: $4,000), Giovanni Lo Celso (DraftKings: $4,600, FanDuel $9).
Thanks for reading to the end of this article! If you appreciate this free content and want to see more of it every day, you can help us out by sharing this article on social media!
Looking for more EPL DFS picks content? We have loads of articles, data, DraftKings and FanDuel cheat sheets and more on the Awesemo EPL DFS home page.