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Premier League Odds, Pick, Prediction: Watford vs. West Ham United Betting Preview (Dec. 28)

Premier League Odds, Pick, Prediction: Watford vs. West Ham United Betting Preview (Dec. 28) article feature image
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Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images.

  • West Ham is now a +110 road favorite on the three-way line against Watford on Tuesday morning, down five cents from the listed price at DraftKings yesterday.
  • We're targeting the total, however, as no Declan Rice for West Ham will lead to a more aggressive offensive attack against this lowly Watford defense.
  • Get our full West Ham vs. Watford preview and pick below.

Updated Watford vs. West Ham Odds

Watford Odds +225
West Ham Odds +110
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (-120 / +100)
Day | Time Tuesday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds updated Tuesday morning and DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

If this match goes forward, it will mark the first game for Watford since December 15th as it seeks to distance itself from the relegation zone.

Meanwhile, West Ham has sputtered as of late on their way to falling out of the top four. Since a 3-2 home win against Chelsea, the Hammers are winless in its last three, including a 3-2 home loss to Southampton on Boxing Day.

However, West Ham now gets a crack at a team that, historically, has had no answers for manager David Moyes’ squad. West Ham has won three straight by a 10-3 aggregate margin. Plus, in their last two visits to Vicarage Road, the Hammers offense has generated seven goals on seven expected.

Watford’s Leaky Defense

Since Claudio Ranieri has taken over at Watford, defense has come last.

In nine matches under the former Premier League-winning gaffer, the Hornets have conceded 21 times and have yet to keep a clean sheet. Additionally, Watford has been fully deserving of every concession as it’s allowed 20.2 expected goals.

That said, its offense has been somewhat consistent at Vicarage Road. In eight home fixtures this season, it has only twice been held scoreless AND generated under one expected goal. Under Ranieri, that metric becomes once in five home matches (Matchday 8 vs. Liverpool).

However, there is one area for concern offensively. Watford has generated the fewest home expected goals in the league and is due for some negative home offensive regression (10 goals on 8.2 expected). Additionally, it is due for negative home regression overall as Watford has posted a -7 goal differential on a -10 xGDiff, per fbref.com.

On the team news front, Watford will continue to play without Ismaila Sarr, one of only three players who has produced on the offensive end this season. Take Sarr out of the equation and the Hornets are left with only two players that have generated three or more expected goals this season – Josh King and Emmanuel Dennis.

West Ham’s Wobble

Even though it has dominated Watford historically, West Ham has played sub-par recently on the road.

It is winless in four road matches (1D-3L) and has failed to produce more than one expected goal in all four of those fixtures. Granted, those three losses came against Wolves, Arsenal and Manchester City, but the fact remains West Ham has been sub-par recently on the road.

Additionally, West Ham has been equally as poor on the defensive end. In the midst of this winless run, it has allowed five goals against on 6.7 expected. That mediocre defensive run can likely be contributed to the fact West Ham played without all of Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma and Aaron Cresswell in three of those four road fixtures.

All three of those players will remain out for the visit to Vicarage Road, while West Ham will also miss captain Declan Rice, who picked up a suspension from yellow card accumulation on Sunday against Southampton.

Lastly, of concern for West Ham backers will be the fact it has experienced some serious luck on the road to date. Despite sitting on a +3 goal differential, its xGDiff arrives at an eye-popping -1.3, per fbref.com.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

The higher-scoring this game is, the more it benefits the Hammers. In games played to over 2.5 goals this season, West Ham is 6-1-4 vs. 2-4-2 in games that feature two or fewer goals.

On the flip-side, Watford is 2-0-5 in games that feature three or more goals under Ranieri.

However, given all the issues laid out with West Ham, I can’t back them on the road, even considering its positive historical record at Vicarage Road. Plus, I’m not sure what you’ll get from a Watford side that has received a lot of time off and could buck recent history if West Ham continues to struggle away from home.

For that reason, I’m targeting the total in this match. Even though only half of their last six head-to-head meetings have finished over 2.5 goals, there have been more than 2.5 combined expected goals in four of six and no fewer than 2.1 combined xG in the remaining two.

Without Declan Rice, I expect bettors will see a much more offensive-minded lineup from David Moyes as he looks to strike against this abysmal Watford defense. However, if you consider the injuries/suspensions for West Ham in the defensive side of the park, Watford should be capable of generating a few chances for itself.

Pick: Over 2.75 Goals (+105)

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