Premier League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Aston Villa vs. West Ham United Betting Preview (Oct. 31)

Premier League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Aston Villa vs. West Ham United Betting Preview (Oct. 31) article feature image

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images. Pictured: West Ham United standout Michail Antonio, right, celebrates a goal.

  • Aston Villa welcomes West Ham United to Villa Park for Sunday's Premier League clash.
  • The Hammers have been on a solid tear of late, while the Villans continue struggle in the absence for former star player Jack Grealish.
  • Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the matchup below and details why he's backing West Ham to get a result.

Aston Villa vs. West Ham Odds

Aston Villa Odds+180
West Ham Odds+150
Over/Under2.5 (-125 / +110)
Day | TimeSunday | 12:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchNBCSN | fuboTV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Following its home win in yet another London derby to move into the Premier League’s top four, West Ham United faces a different challenge with a trip to the West Midlands on Sunday to face Aston Villa.

The Hammers beat Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in the same week, the second coming midweek in dramatic win via penalties in Carabao Cup action.

Aston Villa did have extra rest and hasn't played since Friday of last week, but the club has failed to recreate last year's performances since the loss of star attacking midfielder Jack Grealish to Manchester City.

The Villans have lost three consecutive matches to Spurs, Wolves and Arsenal, and didn't look particularly good in any of them. There's some warning flags in the numbers with Aston Villa at both ends of the pitch, a side that has looked more like the near relegation 2019-20 team than the top half 2020-21 contender.

Aston Villa Seeking Answers Minus Grealish

Aston Villa has remained mostly an average Premier League defense across the board this season, a much improved outfit from the one that finished near the bottom of the 2019 EPL table and similar to the mid-table side from last year.

A stable back four has helped maintain defensive solidity, but they're not doing much to prevent opponents from taking shots and progressing the ball into the penalty area.

Villa ranks 12th best in shots allowed and 10th in box entries, right in line with the league average and underlying xG numbers. Goalkeeper Emi Martinez hasn't been quite as dominant at shot stopping as he was last year, either.

The Villans have  also been more vulnerable defensively on set pieces, but the major issues haven't been in the back. They’ve been in the attack. They brought in Leon Bailey, Danny Ings and Emi Buendia to replace Grealish, but simply haven't been good enough as a group.

The attacking downturn began midway through last season and the direct attacking play through Grealish hasn't worked without him.

Villa ranks 14th in box entries; 16th in NPxG per 90 minutes; 14th in shots; and, 16th in big scoring chances. The Villans are quite mediocre across the board in attack and now faces a much improved West Ham defense.

West Ham Gaining Across Top Flight

More teams are showing respect to West Ham with their approach this season after the Hammers finished sixth in the previous campaign.

The onus has been put on West Ham to create their own attack through ball progression and build-up play. West Ham is up from 16th to 10th in possession percentage this season.

Last year, the Hammers were 16th in the EPL in progressive passes. This year, they’re fifth, ahead of Chelsea and Leicester City. They’ve improved from 14th to fourth in passes into the penalty area.

All those statistics show the Hammers are playing more like a top-tier team this season. West Ham is pressing marginally more, improved in ball recoveries, and passing and possessing the ball much better than last year. The addition of Kurt Zouma on defense has also helped them improve from ninth in non-penalty xGA per 90 to fifth overall.

West Ham doesn't press a ton in the middle of the park, but has been very successful and efficient when doing so. The result against a Villa team that has really struggled to move the ball up the pitch is a lot of turnovers high up the pitch and open-field attacks for the Hammers.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

My projections make West Ham at -140 on the Draw No Bet line, and this is despite being higher on Aston Villa when compared to market most of last season.

The Hammers are undervalued to take all three points away from home in this match and the improved defense should be better equipped to handle the direct counterattacking play from the Villans.

West Ham’s midfield will be asked to have the ball and should dominate in this match. Last year, I'd be more concerned backing them in that spot. However, they've shown this year that they're more comfortable with ball progression.

The Hammers are also well equipped to take advantage of the Villans’ defensive regression on set pieces, an area where the visitors are excellent and have been for multiple seasons now.

Aston Villa is still mixing and matching to find its best starting XI and that will make this home game against the Hammers difficult. It might end in a draw, but West Ham is the much more likely winner, should there be one.

Pick: West Ham — Draw No Bet (-125 or better)

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