Luton Town vs West Ham Odds, Picks, Predictions | Premier League Preview
Joe Giddens/Getty. Pictured: Ross Barkley.
Luton Town vs West Ham Odds
|Luton Town Odds||+375|
|West Ham Odds||-134|
|Over / Under|
-110 / -110
Luton Town finally make their long-awaited home Premier League debut on Friday when they host a West Ham side coming off one of the more impressive away wins of the young season.
Renovations to bring the facilities at Kenilworth Road up to Premier League standards forced the originally scheduled home debut on match day 2 against fellow newly promoted side Burnley to be delayed until later this season. In the interim, the Hatters have drawn tough assignments in their first two away fixtures, losing 4-1 at Brighton and 3-0 at Chelsea.
West Ham executed high-level counterattacking to perfection in last Saturday's 3-1 win at previously unblemished Brighton. And after a relegation scare last season — complicated by their UEFA Europa Conference League title run — they sit in the lofty perch of second place in the league standings.
This will be these sides' first meeting since January of 1992 in the old First Division, the predecessor of the Premier League. The Hatters were relegated that spring before the PL launched the following season.
Read on for my Luton Town vs West Ham pick in a Premier League preview.
The Hatters have lost their opening games by six goals combined and enter the weekend tied with Everton at the base of the table on goal difference despite having played one fewer match. Their -2.16 xG difference per 90 minutes is second-worst ahead of only Fulham.
And yet it's fair to say we still have less of an idea of who this club is at Premier League level than their fellow newly-promoted sides Sheffield United and Burnley.
Both Brighton and Chelsea are expected to be above-average league sides this season, and Chelsea's early numbers suggest a considerable improvement from last year's disappointment. So, Luton's games against those foes aren't a good gauge of what we might expect against lower-half foes, i.e. the teams they'll need to beat to survive their first top-flight season in three decades.
Meanwhile, a 3-2 midweek Carabao Cup victory over Gillingham was no more than meeting expectations with a rotated squad. But it did help get summer signing Jacob Brown on the mark with a brace, after he's played only 48 league minutes following his move from Stoke City.
The Hammers have thus far earned results considerably better than their +0.6 xG difference would predict. To be fair, that may be a deserved reversal from last season, when the Hammers had a -13 goal differential despite only a -3.9 xGD.
And the Hammers have already earned four points from two away fixtures, which is a third of what they took from the entirety of their travels in the 2022-2023 season. It was mostly in away matches where West Ham didn't get the production that their xG suggested.
Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio have scored two goals each, and summer signing James Ward-Prowse has fit right in with a goal and two assists following his move from Southampton. So far, former Ajax man Edson Alvarez is proving a competent replacement at defensive midfield for the outgoing Declan Rice after Rice's blockbuster move to Arsenal.
On interesting stat to take note of. The Hammers have had eschewed possession to the extreme so far this season. The 38% they held in a 1-1 season opening draw against Bournemouth remains a season high, followed by 25% against Chelsea and 22% against Bournemouth.
Luton Town vs West Ham
Pick & Prediction
It's safe to assume the Hammers will have far more of the ball than in their last two wins, and the recent past has shown us those are scenarios in which they struggle. Even though the possession stat is somewhat predicted by game states — i.e. a team with the lead is more likely to yield some possession in exchange for keeping their better shape — West Ham's stats last season when evaluated by the amount of the ball they keep are skewed too extremely to owe it all to just that.
Of 22 league games last season when Moyes' men held so much as 40% of the ball, the total came in under 2.5 some 15 times. The Hammers also struggled acutely to earn results in the road in these circumstances, taking only 4 points from 33 on offer when they had two-fifths of the ball or more in away league fixtures.
The latter stat owes in part to that xG variance we talked about. But I'm inclined to believe the former remains predictive and play the under here in their visit to a Luton side whose strength in the League Championship last season was on the defensive side of the ball. Even going down a goal early isn't likely to pull the Hatters out too quickly.
At -105 odds you're backing an implied 51.2% probability, and I'd be tempted to back as much as 25 cents lower.
Pick: Under 2.5 (-105 via BetRivers)