Saturday English Premier League Odds, Picks and Predictions: Liverpool vs. West Ham (Oct. 31)
Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images. Pictured: David Moyes
- West Ham is in a sizzling run of form and faces its biggest challenge yet: Liverpool.
- The Reds are facing a defensive injury crisis but are thriving going forward.
- Michael Leboff explains why the betting value in this matchup is with the Hammers.
Liverpool vs. West Ham Odds
|Liverpool Odds||-275 [Bet Now]|
|West Ham Odds||+650 [Live Odds in App]|
|Draw||+440 [Bet Now]|
|Time||Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET|
You could make the argument that West Ham are the most interesting team in the Premier League at the moment. After a miserable season-opening loss to Newcastle, the Hammers had an impossible run of fixtures that left many wondering if they would win a game before November.
Not only have they done that, but West Ham are now unbeaten in four matches after beating Leicester and Wolves by a combined 7-0 scoreline, drawing Tottenham thanks to a dramatic three-goal comeback away from home and then holding Manchester City to a 1-1 stalemate.
The Numbers Back Up West Ham's Form
Whenever a team goes on a run like this you're left to wonder whether it is real or a mirage. Well, somehow, everything checks out about West Ham's run of form over the past month.
Over their last four matches the Hammers sport a plus-7 goal differential and are creating nearly twice as many expected goals (6.85) as they are conceding (3.51). The fact that they are posting those kind of underlying metrics against the likes of City, Spurs, Leicester and Wolves speaks volumes to the magic that manager David Moyes has worked on a side that many (myself included) thought would be in a relegation scrap in 2020-21.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Perhaps the most surprising part of West Ham's early season portfolio is that their offense is creating 1.48 non-penalty xG per 90 minutes, the sixth-best mark in the league. Moyes is usually synonymous with pragmatic, defense-first football, but this version of West Ham United is giving fans and Moyes skeptics pause. Just when you think you know a guy…
A trip to Anfield will likely bring West Ham back down to earth, but the Hammers have given bettors every reason to believe that they could give the defending champions a rough go of it on Saturday.
Liverpool on Shaky Ground
It's been an eerie start to the Premier League for the Big Six. Manchester City are in 13th. Manchester United are in 15th. Chelsea and Arsenal have each taken just 9 of 18 points so far. Tottenham have shown flashes of brilliance, but they've blown two late leads and four points in the process.
And then there's Liverpool. The Reds are currently tied on points with league-leaders Everton but trail the Toffees on goal differential. And even though Liverpool rank first in the Premier League with a +0.98 expected goal differential per 90 minutes, there's no doubt that the Reds are not yet up to speed in 2020/21.
A shocking 7-2 loss to Aston Villa and an unlucky 2-2 draw away to Everton mean that Liverpool have dropped five points in their last three games, and their 2-1 win over Sheffield United wasn't a Picasso, either. Liverpool's world-beating strike force, which now features Diogo Jota, always gives them room for error, but there are still reasons to tread carefully with Liverpool, especially on defense.
First and foremost, manager Jurgen Klopp is dealing with some real issues on his backline. Virgil van Dijk, the world's best defender, is out for a while and his usual center-back partner, Joel Matip, has missed Liverpool's last three contests and could miss out on Saturday. To make matters worse, the defending champions will now be without Fabinho, Matip's replacement and Klopp's most-trusted defensive midfielder when the team is fully fit.
Liverpool are still good enough to win games without van Dijk, Matip and Fabinho, but the defense had been sputtering even before the injuries began to pile up.
Through their first three games of the season, Liverpool allowed four goals and conceded just 0.79 xG per match. Those results came against three teams with gifted offensive players — Leeds, Chelsea and Arsenal. In the three games since then, Liverpool have allowed 10 goals and 1.95 xG per 90 minutes.
Klopp remains one of the world's best managers and his team is highly adaptable, but he's dealing with some real adversity for the first time in years. Should Matip miss out, the Reds will likely look to 19-year-old Rhys Williams to partner Joe Gomez in the back.
The good news for Gomez, Williams and/or whoever else is in the Liverpool backline is that West Ham's Michail Antonio — one of the Premier League's best strikers — will reportedly not be fit for the trip to Anfield.
West Ham vs. Liverpool Betting Pick
I just don't see how you could lay this kind of wood with Liverpool in this spot. The defending champions are still very likely to win on Saturday, but this price is too high on a team that is dealing with injuries to its two best center backs.
At the risk of buying high on a team in a good run of form, I think that West Ham are worth a shot in this match. Whether or not you have the appetite to take them on the moneyline is one thing, but I think it's West Ham or nothing at Anfield on Saturday.
It's really tough to stomach a bet against a team that trots out Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Jota up top, but the Hammers are coming off a terrific defensive performance against Man City. West Ham held the Cityzens to just 0.89 xG and have kept three of their last four opponents to under 1.0 xG (Wolves, Leicester and City).
I have enough confidence in West Ham's defense to keep them in this match and, even without Antonio, I think there are enough signals that point to the Hammers creating enough scoring chances to make them a live underdog at Anfield. There is a path to success for West Ham and that's all you're asking for when betting a team at these odds.
This is a bet you lose more often than not, but at +650 you only need the Hammers to win this game around 13% of the time to begin to see some value on the moneyline. I think West Ham ticks that box and then some against a depleted and vulnerable defense.
The Bet: West Ham +650
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