Brighton vs. West Ham Odds, Prediction | Premier League Betting Preview (Saturday, Aug. 26)
Matthew Ashton/Getty. Pictured: Pervis Estupinan.
Brighton vs. West Ham Odds
|West Ham Odds||+475|
|Over / Under|
-200 / +162
Brighton are one of three teams in the Premier League to win both of their opening two league matches, alongside Arsenal and Manchester City. The Seagulls find themselves atop the table on goal difference, although they have not yet faced a team projected to finish ahead of the bottom five or so teams.
That changes on Saturday when West Ham visit the English south coast. The Hammers pulled off an upset home victory against Chelsea at the London Stadium on Sunday. It was a textbook West Ham performance, with an early goal from a set piece, a Michail Antonio winner in transition and stout penalty area defending without much possession of the ball.
West Ham have lost Declan Rice and the underlying numbers paint a somewhat concerning picture at the moment, but the Hammers are likely still pretty safe in the lower mid-table in the Premier League this season with Europa League play fast approaching.
Here is my Brighton vs West Ham pick and prediction.
The market fell in love with Brighton toward the end of last season and that has continued into the 2023-24 season. The Seagulls moved from -300 moneyline favorites to -390 in the opening matchweek against Luton Town (4-1 win) and then moved from -105 up to -130 before kickoff against Wolves last week (also a 4-1 win).
Brighton represented the largest gap in my preseason power ratings between how the betting market priced them and my perceived team strength. The Seagulls have produced more xG than any other Premier League side since Roberto De Zerbi became manager. They also rank second in possession and second in shots.
They have had their holes defensively, and those holes were definitely on display against Wolves when they could have conceded from a few big first half Wolves chances. The question entering the year was whether or not they could replace the loss of Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister. Julio Enciso is out injured for this match, but the attacking front four of Kaoru Mitoma, Solly March, Joao Pedro and Danny Welbeck — with wunderkind Even Ferguson off the bench — has produced more xG than any other team in the Premier League through two match weeks.
Now, De Zerbi said on Friday that Ferguson will get the start and the market is clearly aware of his talent with a +120 anytime goalscorer price.
The Seagulls have scored in a variety of different ways. They've been good thanks to Mitoma's elite dribbling, but they also rank second in pass completion rate and are top four in shots, passes into the penalty area and crosses into the box. Mitoma has created the most chances of any player in the PL through two match weeks.
If you wanted to poke holes in the Seagulls, it would be the defensive midfield with some combination of Billy Gilmour, Mahmoud Dahoud and Pascal Gross not offering a ton of ball winning. This makes them vulnerable when De Zerbi pushes up his full backs to join the attack.
West Ham will continue to excel on set pieces, and their dominance could even take a step forward with the addition of James Ward-Prowse. His impact was immediate after the Hammers scored in the opening 10 minutes from a corner kick.
The rest of the defensive performance wasn't nearly as good upon further review of the underlying data. West Ham excelled last season because the defense didn't require possession to be effective. The Hammers were very passive and allowed teams into their final third, but didn't allow the ball to easily enter the penalty area. That's where Rice excelled. They don't have him, and center back Nayef Aguerd is suspended. Tomas Soucek didn't do much ball stopping in the Chelsea match.
In fact, his lack of athleticism in the middle was exposed by the youthful Chelsea attack. Ward-Prowse has his set piece superpowers, but his open play value is quite average. Chelsea had 49 attacking penalty area touches in the match and did manage 1.75 non-penalty expected goals. The Blues have their finishing problems, but West Ham was quite fortunate to not break defensively.
The Hammers didn't have a single match last season with more than 41 box entries allowed. Even though the game was 1-1 for large stretches, Chelsea was able to tilt the field on West Ham very easily. Chelsea carried it into the box 14 times and if the Hammers plan to allow this much ball progression, the defense is going to drop off considerably.
Brighton vs West Ham
Pick & Prediction
My projections are right in line with the market on the side in this match. The market loves Brighton and usually moves toward them in the hours leading up to kickoff as limits increase and books take larger wagers on the market.
There is some uncertainty with the West Ham lineup because of Aguerd's suspension. The Hammers could opt to play new signing Edson Alvarez in midfield or even at center back to help bolster its defense from last week's weak underlying performance. Knowing David Moyes, though, he's unlikely to tweak much from a side that just took three points from Chelsea.
Unless Brighton gets to -175 or cheaper, I wouldn't bet the Seagulls. But Pervis Estupiñán is worth exploiting in the props market. He's been given more freedom to get forward and invert this season, and given the amount of box entries and overall penalty area dominance I expect from Brighton, he should be in and around the penalty area often on Saturday.
At +290 to put a shot on target at FanDuel and +1000 to score, he's my favorite prop look of the weekend.