SOCCER

FanDuel Soccer: European Championship Daily Fantasy Helper for Friday 7/2/21

Spain is a sizable favorite against Switzerland, making Alvaro Morata an appealing target. How should you handle Friday's two-match slate?

The Euro quarterfinals have arrived, and FanDuel is offering daily fantasy contests throughout the tournament. Scoring and settings are identical to the ones for Premier League and Champions League contests.

This piece will cover the main slate, and that kicks off at noon EST. All betting lines come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after the article is published.

Slate Overview

Fixture Favorite Over 2.5
Goal Odds
Most Likely
to Score
Spain vs. Switzerland Spain (-160) -106 Morata (+120)
Italy vs. Belgium Italy (+130) +140 Lukaku (+160)


Positional Breakdown

Forwards/Midfielders

Spain are going to be the go-to attack on this slate, as Luis Enrique's side is -160 to win over Switzerland. The Spanish are -136 to score two-plus goals while no other side is better than +168 to do so. Spain has generated 3.1 and 3.4 expected goals (xG) over their last two matches, per FBRef, and have consistently created chances as well as anyone in the tourney. Switzerland is no pushover -- as we saw in the Round of 16 -- but Spain is undoubtedly the attack with the highest ceiling on this slate.

Alvaro Morata ($23; +120 anytime goal odds) has the slate's best goal odds and has been on the receiving end of plenty of chances, with his 2.4 non-penalty expected goals checking in second among all players in the Euros. The leading striker on the slate's biggest favorite, Morata checks plenty of boxes. Of course, there are reasons to be concerned, too, as Morata has only two goals from 3.5 total xG. Whenever a player as volatile as Morata is going to be chalky, it's tempting to fade him, and that's where I lean.

Instead, I'll likely get my Spain exposure via Pablo Sarabia ($20; +155) and Ferran Torres ($19; +155). These two started as wingers last time out and have better goal odds than anyone on any of the slate's three other teams. Torres notched a goal and an assist against Croatia while Sarabia has two goals and one assist over his last two outings.

In the other match, Italy are slight favorites over Belgium in a clash that is expected to be tight and low scoring. That's not ideal for attackers in DFS, but with everyone wanting a piece of Spain, being right on this match could shoot you up the leaderboard.

Italy is only +168 to go over 1.5 goals, but that's the second-best mark on the slate. Ciro Immobile ($21; +180) has the top goal odds for the Italians, while Lorenzo Insigne ($20; +300) is averaging 20.1 FanDuel points per game in the tournament. If you think this is a really low-scoring affair, Jorginho ($12; +450) and Marco Verratti ($18; +1000) are worth a look. Jorginho will likely be on pens, and Verratti -- despite his ugly goal odds -- is pushing forward a bit more than he usually does for PSG, creating nine total chances across his two games.

Belgium's outlook is dinged by the injuries to Kevin De Bruyne ($20; +420) and Eden Hazard ($15; +350). Those two are looking unlikely to start, and their absences -- specifically KDB's -- lowers the floor and ceiling for Belgium's other attackers and may push the masses toward Romelu Lukaku ($19; +160), who has the match's top goal odds and a modest salary. I'm not crazy about Lukaku since his service may not be that good without KDB. If De Bruyne winds up starting, then I'm a lot more interested in Lukaku. Unfortunately, we won't know KDB's status until the first game locks.

If you want to spin it the other way, Hazard's and De Bruyne's injuries likely thrust Dries Mertens ($12; +350) and Yannick Carrasco ($7; +550) into starting roles. Mertens is easy to get behind at his salary.

Added time -- The Swiss shocked France last round and deserved it. We shouldn't overlook them on this slate, especially with Spain permitting 2.4 xG to Croatia in the Round of 16. They have no players above $16 in salary, paced by Haris Seferovic ($16; +300), who bagged two goals against the French. Xherdan Shaqiri ($15; +430) could thrive if this turns into an open match. ... Koke ($10; +650) and Pedri ($8; +550) are low-salary ways to get a piece of Spain.

Defenders

There is a foursome of attack-minded full-backs/wing-backs at the top of the defender pool, and you can make a strong case for any of them.

Spain's Jordi Alba ($14) and Cesar Azpilicueta ($13) should have chances to get forward. Both are merely +1000 to score, so we shouldn't be expecting a repeat of Azpi's goal in the last round. But Alba has created at least one chance in every game, recording one assist, while Azpilicueta has created three chances across two starts and usually chips in with a decent amount of defensive actions.

Leonardo Spinazzola ($15) has been a monster for Italy in this tournament, and it's translated into him scoring 21.2, 10.6 and 21.9 FanDuel points in his three starts. The matchup with Belgium is a difficult one, but the Roma full-back needs to at least be on our radar.

The fourth guy is Thomas Meunier ($14), who is averaging 18.8 FanDuel points per match, including spike games of 35.6 and 25.4 FanDuel points. In Belgium's three-at-the-back formation -- assuming they stick with it despite their midfield injuries -- Meunier has the freedom and space to get forward and also does enough defensive work to have a good floor, with a low of 11.5 FanDuel points in his starts.

I expect Spain -- who is averaging 68% possession -- to dominate the ball versus Switzerland, which makes the Swiss defenders appealing targets for their floors. WhoScored projects Switzerland to be in a back three with Ricardo Rodriguez ($13), Manuel Akanji ($12) and Nico Elvedi ($10) as center-backs. Rodriguez took (and missed) Switzerland's penalty in the win over France but has at least 8.9 FanDuel points in all four of his matches. Akanji had 18.2 FanDuel points versus the French while Elvedi totaled 16.9, and both did that solely via defensive actions.

Added time -- If you want a low-salary punt, Spain center-half Eric Garcia ($6) might be the lowest-salaried starter on the slate. The bummer with him is that he's played just 70 minutes in both of his starts, which means he might not be eligible for a clean-sheet bonus if Spain keeps one. ... Giovanni Di Lorenzo ($8) is averaging 9.3 FanDuel points per game as Italy's right-back.

Goalies

In terms of win odds and clean-sheet chances, Unai Simon ($13) is in his own tier, and his salary reflects that. Spain's keeper is +106 to keep a clean sheet -- no other goalie is better than +154 to blank the opposition -- and Spain is -160 to win. Spain looked pretty solid defensively in the group stage, conceding just once on a total of 1.8 xG over three games, but Croatia netted three (one via a huge Simon error) on 2.4 xG last round. Simon is a fine play but won't be a priority for me.

Italy's Gianluigi Donnarumma ($11) has the second-best clean-sheet odds (+154) and is the keeper I'll have the most of. With Belgium likely being sans De Bruyne and Hazard, their attack isn't nearly as fearsome, and Italy are slight favorites to win (+130). Donnarumma correlates well if you fade Lukaku.

Added time -- Thibaut Courtois ($9) is a bet-on-talent pick at a great salary. Belgium are +200 to keep a clean sheet, which isn't too shabby, and he should be fairly busy versus an Italian attack that's looked good for most of this tourney. ... Yann Sommer ($7) has the worst clean-sheet odds (+420) as well as the worst win odds (+480). Yay. He should, however, see save volume, so he could have a solid fantasy day even if he allows a goal, and he should see the lowest draft percentage.