The FA Cup may have provided excitement and an opportunity for struggling teams to inject some cheer into their season, but our focus is on the battle in the Premier League, which resumes this week with games on Tuesday and Wednesday. In this article we look at betting odds and predictions, as well as some footballers who should be on your DraftKings radar for Tuesday's fantasy football contests.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 31
Arsenal vs. Watford
Watford hasn't won a Premier League game in 2017 and might be looking upon a visit to Arsenal with trepidation, however the Gunners, now second after four wins in five, tend to react badly to fixture congestion and will likely feature several players who play both here and in the FA Cup.
In spite of this, it's difficult to see any way Arsenal will not win at the Emirates.
Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace, nosediving towards the relegation zone with four defeats on the bounce, must be looking enviously at Bournemouth, a side sitting pretty in twelfth having spent some time in the top half of the table. Jack Wilshere aside, there are few stars in the Bournemouth side, but the whole team works hard as a collective.
Palace's survival instinct may start to kick in here, especially with new signing Christopher Samba possibly going straight into the visiting defence.
Top Bet: 12/5 with Sportingbet for a draw
Burnley vs. Leicester
Burnley has arguably been this season's surprise package, thanks in the main to outstanding home form and an awareness of what it does best as a team. Leicester is sliding towards relegation trouble, with a tired squad short on confidence.
Burnley would probably have lost this fixture last season, but this time around both sides have seen their fortunes change dramatically, and this is a chance for Sea Dyche's team to potentially hit the top half of the table.
Middlesbrough vs. West Bromwich Albion
With only four wins in 22 games, this hasn't been the sort of season Middlesbrough would have hoped for, and it seems increasingly like manager Aitor Karanka is saved only by his relationship with agent Jorge Mendes, who is a consultant to the club.
West Brom has worked wonders under Tony Pulis this season, with the likes of Salomon Rondon finding a new gear and a reliable defence ensuring points were picked up in difficult fixtures. A Baggies win is a good bet here.
Top Bet: 11/5 with Betway for a West Brom win
Sunderland vs. Tottenham Hotspur
David Moyes is doing his best to sound cheerful, but the signing of Joleon Lescott on a short-term deal is less likely to end the Black Cats' losing streak than a man putting his final pound on the last dog race of the evening at Wolverhampton. This is a Spurs win, almost certainly, but the winning margin is where the interesting bets lie.
Swansea City vs. Southampton
Paul Clement has brought a new focus to the Swansea squad since arriving, signing Martin Olsson to fill the left-back slot and making it clear several first-teamers from the first half of the season were no longer wanted. The response came in a win over Liverpool, and given the quality Swansea has always possessed in attack, a repeat against Southampton at the Liberty Stadium is possible.
Liverpool vs. Chelsea
Liverpool is in full-on crisis mode now, without a win in four games having been a title challenger until recently. What happens next depends on how well the team, still without Joel Matip and Sadio Mane, can regroup.
Chelsea is not the side to play when you have problems, and Diego Costa is not the kind of player to lose focus on the game ahead, as he showed in a scoring return after being dropped amid interest from China. Expect a Chelsea win to extend that lead at the top, for surprisingly good odds.
DRAFTKINGS FANTASY PICKS (TUESDAY)
Goalkeeper: Ben Foster, West Bromwich Albion at Middlesbrough ($4800)
Foster has been in fine form all season and is a favourite fantasy pick for multiple saves per game and Albion's above-average defensive record. With low-scoring Middlesbrough the opponent, tis could be a good fixture for him.
Defender: Charlie Daniels, Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace ($5000)
For this relatively high fee you're getting a player who has three goals and three assists,regularly takes set-pieces, and is an automatic pick when fit for Bournemouth. Though the Cherries might have a poor defensive record, Daniels compensates for this with his attacks.
Midfield: Matt Phillips, West Bromwich Albion at Middlesbrough ($6800)
An extraordinary four goals and eight assists put the Scottish international up there with the best in the Premier League. West Brom's attackers thrive on crosses, and Phillips has a great delivery. Bank on him being in the thick of the action.
Forward: Shane Long, Southampton at Swansea ($6200)
Long has deputised adequately for Charlie Austin during the lead striker's injury absence, and while the Irishman misses a lot of chances, he also has the pace and football brain to convert a few, too. Swansea's defence is still a work-in-progress and will allow Long space to do his thing. With Austin and Jay Rodriguez both injured, it's likely he will start.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1
West Ham United vs. Manchester City
West Ham has a few new faces thanks to the January transfer window, most notably Robert Snodgrass, the Scottish winger having signed from Hull City. With City having drawn the last two Premier League matches, the Hammers will fancy their chances of getting a point at home.
That said, City, with a few key players working their way back into form, including potentially Vincent Kompany, should be too strong, and should win narrowly.
Manchester United vs. Hull City
United only managed a tight victory over Hull in the League Cup semi-final to get to Wembley, but it it likely to be a changed team on both sides when Jose Mourinho's expensive team meets Marco Silva's piecemeal outfit. United can be threatened at the back, but still ought to have enough firepower up-front to win through.
Stoke City vs. Everton
Stoke seems to either blow hot or cold, and this time the Potters have got onto a very promising run of form, with two wins and a draw lifting them up to ninth. Everton may have struggled for consistency all season, but three wins in a row helped to lift some of the gloom, putting the visiting side in seventh.
Although this will be a close game, Everton seems on current evidence to have the greater chance of coming away with a win.
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