It’s a quick turnaround for the best league in the world, with Gameweek 29 instantly upon us. For those of us that live and breathe fantasy football, it offers an immediate chance to either write some wrongs or continue strong form. Whichever it is for you personally, read on as we analyse the Premier League betting odds to help with those all-important FPL decisions …
Hungry for clean sheets? Hunt with the Wolves
Gameweek 28 was nothing short of pure agony for those FPL managers possessing Wolves’ defensive assets, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side conceding in injury time to the toothless Huddersfield attack. Will a home game against Cardiff bring redemption (and points)? The bookies certainly seem to think so, giving the Midlands club a 54% chance of keeping a clean sheet on Saturday. That’s higher than any other team in the top flight, and hardly surprising given the Bluebirds have the second-poorest travelling attack in the division – they’ve scored just 9 goals in 13 games. As a result, Matt Doherty, who has a 22% chance of scoring, joint-highest of all defenders, should be well-backed in Gameweek 29.
Seagulls look set to soar
Second in the bookmakers’ estimations are Brighton, who have a 51% of shutting out Huddersfield at The Amex on Saturday afternoon. The Terriers are the only side to have scored fewer goals (8) on the road than Cardiff, whilst they have only found the net once in their last 6 away games. With Chris Hughton’s men having the best home defence (15 goals conceded) outside of the “big 6” this season, backing Brighton looks likely to pay off this weekend. Lewis Dunk, in particular, could prove a shrewd investment, with the odds compilers affording him a 13% chance of getting on the scoresheet against the Premier League’s basement dwellers.
Premium palate? Manchester meets your fine dining defensive needs
For those of you looking for premium options to bulk up your defence, Manchester rivals City (49%) and United (48%) appear to be your best bets. Home games against South Coast duo Bournemouth and Southampton look ripe for investment. Over the last 4 matches, the Cherries and the Saints sit 17th (4.18) and 16th (4.43) respectively in the xG table, whilst City sits 3rd (11.90) and United 4th (14.70) in the home xGC rankings for the season. Such contrasts between strong home defences and poor current attacks look likely to translate into FPL points this Saturday.
Raheem the dream as City assets look primed for points
It’s a plum game for the Citizens this weekend as they travel to Bournemouth. Eddie Howe’s side are, on current form (last 3 games), the joint-worst defence in the league, conceding an average of 3 goals per game over that stretch. Hammered 5-1 by Arsenal on Wednesday, things are unlikely to get better against the attacking juggernaut that is Manchester City.
Although Sergio Aguero tops the bookmakers’ attacking estimations (61% chance of scoring), it is Raheem Sterling piquing our interest after a cameo role on Wednesday and Pep claiming that his Argentine striker finished the game “exhausted”. That opens up the possibility of Sterling featuring as the number 9, but whether it’s up top or on the wing, the England star looks poised to add to the 12 goals and 13 assists he has already produced in the current fantasy campaign.
Hazardous times for Fulham?
Having been calamitous at the back since returning to the top flight – no side has conceded more than the Cottagers’ 63 – Fulham sacked their second manager of the season on Thursday, relieving Claudio Ranieri of his duties. With Chelsea, seemingly, turning the corner of late, performing well in the Carabao Cup final before a 2-0 win over Tottenham midweek, is this the game where Eden Hazard revives himself as an FPL asset?
The mercurial Belgian has only scored twice since Gameweek 20 (a brace against Huddersfield in Gameweek 25) but remains the third-highest scoring player in this season’s game (166 points). In his last 4 away outings, he has had 23 touches in the penalty box (only Pedro, Salah and Sterling have registered more amongst midfielders), so an encounter with the porous Fulham back line should be just the tonic he needs to get back amongst the goals.
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Who’s that guy who likes to party?
After publicly stating that Claude Puel’s style of football did not suit him, it was no surprise to see Jamie Vardy back on the scoresheet after the Frenchman’s sacking. And this isn’t the first time that Vardy has benefitted from the infamous “new manager bounce”. When Claudio Ranieri parted ways with the Foxes in February 2017, he went on to bag 6 goals, and register 2 assists, in the 7 games immediately after. This weekend he makes the trip to Vicarage Road to take on a Watford side licking their wounds after a 5-0 hammering by Liverpool on Wednesday – the perfect opportunity to turn up the volume and get the Brendan Rodgers party bouncing.
Gameweek 29 Dream Team: