For the first time in 15 weeks, there will be English Premier League (EPL) action on a Saturday, and with staggered kick-off times, it’s practically non-stop soccer for nine hours. Our DraftKings $100K Counter Attack contest starts with Arsenal’s trip to Brighton at 10:00 a.m. ET, followed by West Ham’s home game with Wolves and then Bournemouth’s clash with Crystal Palace rounding things off at 2:45 p.m. ET. Games are running out for those sides needing valuable points to stay in the league like Bournemouth, West Ham and Brighton, who are all featured in this contest.
DraftKings is offering multiple ways for soccer fans to cash in on the game, including a contest with a $100,000 prize tool that pays out $25K to the winner. Set your lineups here: EPL $100K Counter Attack [$25K to 1st]. Soccer fans can also get in on the action by downloading the DK Sportsbook app or heading over to the DraftKings Sportsbook website.
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Can Arsenal get back to winning ways at Brighton?
When Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta watched the video of his side’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday, he will no doubt have thought to himself that he got his team selection wrong. In hindsight, he probably wished he didn’t choose David Luiz ($3,800) to replace Granit Xhaka early in the game, and I feel sorry for any of you reading this who drafted the Brazilian, too. He was to blame for City’s first two goals and got himself sent off for giving away the penalty that gave City a 2-0 lead. Don’t expect Luiz to start for the Gunners for a while, and even if he does, avoid drafting him because he can be a liability.
Arsenal’s chances of qualifying for Europe are fading with every loss and a trip to Brighton offers them a chance of immediate redemption. If Arteta does not get a positive response from his players, then they don’t deserve to finish in a European spot. Neither Arsenal or Brighton has led at halftime in their last six EPL matches and a tie at the break (+112) could be a bet worth considering.
I would expect Nicolas Pepe ($9,800) to start this game after missing his side’s return to action. Before the lockdown, Pepe had a goal and three assists in his last three league outings which begs the question – why did he start on the bench at the Etihad? I would also expect to see Alexandre Lacazette ($7,600) start alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($10,000) in attack.
Lacazette went into the break with two goals and an assist in his last two games. A 0-0 draw at Wolves gave Brighton something positive to ponder for the last three months. The Seagulls have not scored in their last two league games, so maybe if you were looking at drafting a home player, look at their defenders. Goalkeeper Mat Ryan ($4,400) kept a clean sheet at Molineux while defender Adam Webster ($3,100) had an assist and two shutouts in his last three EPL matches. He would be a much better choice than Luiz, who is more expensive.
Prediction: Tie at halftime (+112)
Wolves look to complete league double over West Ham
The lockdown came at a good time for Wolves, who are still involved in the Europa League. They have a chance of sneaking into fourth place in the EPL, which would secure them a place in next season’s Champions League. If they go on to win the Europa League, they will be guaranteed a place in Europe’s top competition regardless of what position they end up in. West Ham’s only concern is to finish as far away from the drop zone as possible. A win will take the Hammers to 30 points and a step closer to safety, but things can change very quickly at the bottom of the table.
In terms of drafting defenders, you might want to look at Wolves. Three of Wolves’ last five EPL matches before the season was interrupted ended in 0-0 ties. Another goalless draw (+850) could be on the cards.
If you aren’t aware of Wolves defender Matt Doherty ($5,900), now is the time to acquaint yourself with him. He is a solid defender who is encouraged to get forward as much as possible. In his last three appearances, Doherty averaged 17.3 points DFS points per game courtesy of a goal and an assist. He has also been a part of the defense that has kept four clean sheets in their last five.
Goalkeeper Rui Patricio ($5,300) may be expensive, but with four shutouts in his last five, he could be the man you need, especially as West Ham failed to score against him in the first meeting, which Wolves won 2-0. For West Ham, Pablo Fornals ($7,100) went into the break with a 13.9 points per game average and his creativity will be key if the Hammers are to trouble Patricio. The last five meetings between these two sides have been won to nil. Wolves have won the last three after West Ham won the previous two in shutouts.
Prediction: Both teams not to score (-104)
Bournemouth’s survival quest continues with a home game against Crystal Palace
Before the curtain came down on the EPL in March, Palace had taken a maximum of nine points from their last three fixtures. The scores followed a similar pattern. Against Newcastle, they won 1-0. Against Brighton, they won 1-0. Against Watford, they won 1-0. Those are sides placed 13th or lower in the standings where we also find Bournemouth who resumed the season 18th. Will we see another 1-0 win for the Eagles (+800)? Quite possibly.
If Bournemouth’s struggles continue – they haven’t won a league game in their last four – then the winning margin could be greater for the visitors. A safer bet might be for Palace to win in a shutout (+400).
Palace keeper Vicente Guaita ($4,600) could be the weekend’s biggest sleeper, especially if he gets close to his 18.3 DFS points per game average he went into the break with from his last three matches. There’s nothing better for a goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet and pick up a win bonus at the same time, which is what Guaita managed in December when Palace beat the Cherries — 1-0 of course!
Eight of Palace’s 10 EPL wins this season have been by a one-goal margin. Jordan Ayew ($7,900) didn’t score in the reverse fixture, but with a goal in back-to-back games before the lockdown, he might be a cheaper option in attack for Palace. If Bournemouth are to end their winless run and secure a valuable win, then the performance of Jefferson Lerma ($4,300) will be key. Lerma scored in his side’s 2-2 draw at home to Chelsea and set Callum Wilson ($6,300) up for his goal in the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.
Prediction: Palace to win in a shutout (+400)
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