We’re offering up our favorite betting pick for each game along with a score prediction and will include a player to look out for in fantasy from each fixture. Before you read on, remember these essential things: Betting on sports should be fun. If you aren’t having fun with it, stop. And never bet what you can’t afford to lose.
We enter what is set to be a crucial period for teams up and down the league and arguably the biggest two gameweeks for your FPL teams. This week sees just seven games as the FA Cup quarter-finals take place, before a break for the international fixtures. We return to 16 games in gameweek 29 with 12 teams having a double gameweek.
We’ve been cranking up the soccer content at RotoBaller too. We’re still bringing you dedicated DFS and Fantasy Premier League content, on top of the weekly preview and betting content. Follow the team on Twitter (@LucidMediaDFS, @PhilOfSports, @EuanOrYouOut, @df_solutions, @wagmifantasy, and yours truly @Baseball_Jimbo), and reach out to any of us if you ever have any soccer questions or need advice on any of this.
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Friday, March 17th, 2023
Newcastle United (-145) at Nottingham Forest (+425) 4:00 pm ET
Score prediction: Nottingham Forest 1 – 1 Newcastle United
Forest lost away from home for the third straight time last weekend but did manage to score their fourth away goal of the season, which is still the fewest in the EPL. But at home, they are unbeaten in their last nine games. Newcastle’s 2-1 win at home to Wolves last weekend was their first win in six league games and ended an eight-game streak of failing to score twice in a game.
Forest at home is a much more appealing FPL play given their respective home and away records. With only seven games on the slate, Brennan Johnson would be a solid play but he’s a major injury doubt. That leaves Morgan Gibbs-White as the most viable play. The record signing has two goals and seven assists this season, all coming at home (13 games) with four assists in his last four home games.
Newcastle’s Alexander Isak has only started six EPL games since his August transfer but he’s still scored four goals and looks to have put his injury woes behind him. At 1.8% rostered, he is an interesting option. Miguel Almirón came off the bench to score his second goal in four games last weekend and currently on 24.5% of teams, is set to be one of the most rostered players in FPL this weekend. Newcastle’s defense (in particular Kieran Trippier) are all good options but Newcastle hasn’t kept a clean sheet in their last five EPL games and Forest has scored in all but one home game this season.
Saturday, March 18th, 2023
Bournemouth (+390) at Aston Villa (-140) 11:00 am ET
Score prediction: Aston Villa 2 – 1 Bournemouth
Villa’s 1-1 draw against West Ham last weekend means they come into the weekend riding a three-game unbeaten streak and having scored in 13 consecutive league games. Bournemouth caused a big shock last week, beating Liverpool 1-0 and putting their heartbreaking 3-2 loss at Arsenal the week before in the rear-view mirror. The 35 goals Bournemouth has conceded on the road is a league-high and with only one clean sheet away from home, they’ll do well to get anything from this game.
Villa’s Ollie Watkins has scored six goals in his last seven games and has been one of the most added players in recent weeks, seeing the number of teams on which he’s rostered rise to 11.8%. Outside of my lock of the week, he’s the best striking option on the slate. Defender Alex Moreno is someone I’ve mentioned previously. He’s now started Villa’s last two games and has two assists in his last three starts. He makes a nice alternate option, being rostered by just 0.3% of teams.
Marcus Tavernier is set to miss out with a hamstring injury so Philip Billing is the only Bournemouth player I’m considering rostering this weekend. Billing has scored in each of his last two games and is their top scorer this season with six goals.
Leicester City (+265) at Brentford (+100) 11:00 am ET
Score prediction: Brentford 2 – 0 Leicester City
Brentford’s win on Wednesday night leaves them just one point off the European qualification places and only league-leaders Arsenal has managed to beat them at home. Leicester’s fourth straight defeat has left them outside the relegation on goal difference only. They at least managed to score in last week’s 3-1 defeat at Chelsea, something they failed to do in their previous three losses.
Brentford has an abundance of options in FPL this week with both strikers being featured later. Christian Nørgaard (three assists in his last five games) and Mathias Jensen (nine goal involvements) make fine midfield options while playing a defender or ‘keeper is a viable option given Leicester’s recent struggles in front of goal.
Leicester’s form has been so poor and their performances so abject, I’m not targeting any of them this weekend. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be surprised if they did get a result this weekend and if they were to do so, James Maddison will likely be involved in any Leicester goal having been involved in 14 of their 37 goals scored this season.
Tottenham (-120) at Southampton (+340) 11:00 am ET
Score prediction: Southampton 1 – 2 Tottenham
Southampton helped their survival chances by picking up a point at Manchester United last weekend, only to lose in midweek at home to Brentford and come into this game still bottom of the table. Despite Tottenham’s sketchy form, they have still won three of their last four EPL games and currently occupy the final Champions League qualification spot in the league table.
James Ward-Prowse remains the only Southampton player worth rostering in FPL but a lot of his value comes from set-pieces so could easily put up a minimal return. Harry Kane remains one of the premier options in FPL and being on over 40% of teams will see him heavily captained this weekend. Seven goals and three assists in his last ten games justifies that choice too.
Fraser Forster at £3.9M is a good discounted option in goal this weekend with Southampton far from a certainty to score (having scored just twice in their last five games). It’s been a disappointing season for Son Heung-min but he scored last week, his second goal in his last four games (two starts) so at 7.6% rostered, you could certainly do worse on a small slate.
Leeds United (+230) at Wolves (+130) 11:00 am ET
Score prediction: Wolves 1 – 1 Leeds United
Wolves cannot drag themselves away from the relegation zone having picked up four points from their last five games. Their struggles in front of goal have continued with just three goals scored in that five-game run too. Leeds has also picked up four points from their last five games and only scored three in that run so two teams with identical form separated by four points in the league table means it should be a tight affair.
This game could easily end goalless and it’s hard to really want any midfielder or striker from either side in FPL. Jack Harrison had a goal and assist in last week’s 2-2 draw and has been involved in all three of Leeds’ goals in their last five games. He’s only 2.0% rostered so does make an interesting midfield option if you’re pivoting from some of the more preferred plays this week. Picking a couple of defenders from either team as a gamble for a clean sheet also makes sense if you’re playing catch-up in your leagues.
Everton (+700) at Chelsea (-220) 1:30 pm ET
Score prediction: Chelsea 2 – 0 Everton
Chelsea is finally showing signs of gelling, with last weekend’s 3-1 win being the first time since October that they’ve won back-to-back league games. It was also the first time since early October that they scored three goals in an EPL fixture. Everton’s 1-0 at home to Brentford last weekend lifted them out of the relegation zone but their away form since Sean Dyche took charge has been poor with two losses and a draw from the three games and eight goals conceded. Going back further, Everton has just one away win all season and none in their last nine road games.
I’m still not fully trusting Chelsea players in FPL but with a shortened slate, this could be the week to go all in on them. Kai Havertz scored last week and also from the penalty spot against Dortmund in their Champions League tie ten days ago. He’s the leading option for me but João Félix and Mykhailo Mudryk are the other options I’d consider. An alternative route for Chelsea options features at the end of this article.
Sunday, March 19th, 2023
Crystal Palace (+950) at Arsenal (-380) 10:00 am ET
Score prediction: Arsenal 2 – 0 Crystal Palace
Arsenal dismantled Fulham in the first half of last week’s tie, going 3-0 by half-time and seeing out the second half in relative comfort. But they exited the Europa League on Thursday, had to play extra-time and lost a couple of players through injury so they’ll need to dig deep this weekend. Palace’s form is dreadful, without a win in their last 12 games and none in 2023. They’ve also failed to score in their last four games with Wednesday’s loss seeing them register a shot on target for the first time in those four games.
Arsenal’s FPL options revolve around their attacking midfield trio of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Ødegaard. Those three have a combined 54 goal involvements in the league. If you wanted to play for the clean sheet, Oleksandr Zinchenko is the best play and with two goal involvements in his last five games, he’s got the capability of helping out at both ends of the pitch.
You may wonder why I’ve not included any of Arsenal’s striking options but that will become clearer later in the article. Needless to say, I’m avoiding Palace players in FPL until they show signs of competence in front of goal.
The below table gives the odds for each of the three main plays for each game (moneyline, total goals and both teams to score).
|Forest 1 – 1 Newcastle||Draw +290||u2.5 -130||Yes -105|
|Aston Villa 2 – 1 Bournemouth||Villa -140||o2.5 -115||Yes -120|
|Brentford 2 – 0 Leicester||Brentford +100||u2.5 +100||No +120|
|Southampton 1 – 2 Tottenham||Tottenham -120||o2.5 -105||Yes -125|
|Wolves 1 – 1 Leeds||Draw +230||u2.5 -165||Yes -105|
|Chelsea 2 – 0 Everton||Chelsea -220||u2.5 -130||No -155|
|Arsenal 2 – 0 Crystal Palace||Arsenal -380||u2.5 +110||No -175|
Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Plays & Picks
This is our new weekly section that will look at specific players (and teams) with regard to FPL. We’ll look at the best defense to stack, low-rostered players set to offer big returns, high-rostered dud plays, someone to keep an eye on, and the best captain choice for this week.
As a bonus, given the unevenness of the next two gameweeks, we also have the number of games every team has over the next two gameweeks to help you better plan your transfers, wildcards and free hits.
Stack the D
Chelsea’s offense is starting to click but that shouldn’t make you lose sight of how solid defensively they’ve been at home this season. In 12 matches at home, Only Tottenham has scored more than once against them and Chelsea has five clean sheets in their last nine home games. Everton has failed to score in seven of their last nine away games.
Given the volatility in Chelsea’s attacking options, going with Kepa Arrizabalaga and a defender while limiting yourself to just one midfielder or striker seems like the best option this week. Among Chelsea defenders, I’d be more likely to go with Ben Chilwell than anyone else, given his set-piece taking that gives him a solid route to a decent points haul.
Although overshadowed by his strike partner, Bryan Mbeumo should not be overlooked as a striking option this weekend. Eight of his nine goal involvements have come at home and he has two goals and three assists in his last five home games. Leicester’s 29 goals conceded away from home is the third most in the league leaving Mbeumo as a serious option this weekend. He is on 4.8% of teams for this week but that’s still over 35% less than his teammate so Mbeumo also makes a nice pivot option if you’re chasing the points.
Avoid the trap
Gabriel Jesus came off the bench against Fulham having missed the last three months following an injury he picked up at the World Cup. He then started Arsenal’s Thursday night Europa League game but came off at half-time as Arsenal look to protect their star striker. And it’s far from a certainty that he starts this Sunday’s game. Will Arsenal risk starting him twice in four days after such a lengthy injury layoff?
My gut says no, especially with an international break coming next week. I expect Leandro Trossard to start, especially after he made Premier League history last weekend by becoming the first-ever player to register three assists in the first half of an away game. Jesus failed to score in his six EPL games before the World Cup and even if he starts, he likely won’t play more than an hour as he seeks to get his sharpness back. Currently on 25.1% of FPL teams, he could break some hearts this weekend.
For the watchlist
Take your pick of them but the Chelsea forwards are the ones I’m closely watching. If you’re not brave (or crazy) enough to start them this week, you should at least be considering picking them up in the coming weeks as they have finally started to show why the club invested so much money in their attacking lineup.
Enzo Fernández (1.5%), Kai Havertz (4.9%), João Félix (3.3%) and Mykhailo Mudryk (1.5%) will all see their rostered-rate increase over the next fortnight if they put in another solid attacking display this weekend. With two home games in gameweek 29, Chelsea players will feature heavily in the most added lists after this weekend.
Lock of the week
Ivan Toney has 16 goals this season and was called up to the England squad for next weekend’s international fixtures. Since the World Cup, Toney has scored six goals (11 games) with two assists and scored against Leicester on the opening weekend of the season. Despite the limited games this weekend, there are still some solid striking options but Toney is the one I’m banking on to find the net and return a worthwhile points haul.
|Pos||Team||Gameweek 28||Gameweek 29||Total games|
|1||Arsenal||Cry (h)||Lee (h)||2|
|2||Manchester City||No game||Liv (h)||1|
|3||Manchester United||No game||New (a), Bre (h)||2|
|4||Tottenham||Sou (a)||Eve (a)||2|
|5||Newcastle United||Not (a)||Man (h), Whu (a)||3|
|6||Liverpool||No game||Mcy (a), Che (a)||2|
|7||Brighton||No game||Bre (h), Bou (a)||2|
|8||Brentford||Lei (h)||Bri (a), Man (a)||3|
|9||Fulham||No game||Bou (a)||1|
|10||Chelsea||Eve (h)||Ast (h), Liv (h)||3|
|11||Aston Villa||Bou (h)||Che (a), Lei (a)||3|
|12||Crystal Palace||Ars (a)||Lei (h)||2|
|13||Wolves||Lee (h)||Not (a)||2|
|14||Nottingham Forest||New (h)||Wol (h), Lee (a)||3|
|15||Everton||Che (a)||Tot (h)||2|
|16||Leicester City||Bre (a)||Cry (a), Ast (h)||3|
|17||West Ham United||No game||Sou (h), New (h)||2|
|18||Bournemouth||Ast (a)||Ful (h), Bri (h)||3|
|19||Leeds United||Wol (a)||Ars (a), Not (h)||3|
|20||Southampton||Tot (h)||Whu (a)||2|
Good luck with those FPL teams and EPL bets. Remember to bet responsibly!