Premier League Odds & Picks (Sunday, July 26): West Ham vs. Aston Villa
James Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Michail Antonio
- West Ham (+163 odds) and Aston Villa (+163 odds) meet on today in an important matchup for one side.
- Aston Villa is hoping to remain in the Premier League with a solid perfomance.
- Anthony Dabbundo previews Sunday's match, including betting odds and a pick.
West Ham vs. Aston Villa Odds
|West Ham Odds||+163 [Bet Now]|
|Aston Villa Odds||+163 [Bet Now]|
|Draw||+250 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-141/+114) [Bet Now]|
|Time||Sunday, 11 a.m. ET|
West Ham’s draw with Manchester United on Wednesday secured a spot in the 2020-21 Premier League for the Hammers, who looked prime for relegation until a recent run of form earned them enough points to be safe entering the final match of the season for both teams.
While the Hammers are safe, Aston Villa are on the brink of relegation — they currently sit in 17th-place tied on points with Watford and ahead of the Hornets on goal difference.
The Lions need a point to guarantee a finish above 19th-place Bournemouth, and need to match Watford’s result if they want to make it a second consecutive year in the Premier League. The Lions looked doomed after failing to win any of their first six matches since the restart, but have since recorded a win against Crystal Palace, a draw with Everton and a win against Arsenal.
Even in the win against the Gunners on Tuesday, though, it was more a matter of Arsenal being bad and Villa nabbing the winning goal off a set piece than Villa outplaying Arsenal for 90 minutes.
There’s concrete evidence that teams fighting relegation tend to improve their performances down the stretch, and these two teams are no exception.
Villa have improved dramatically defensively since the restart, but their offensive numbers have also struggled as a result. They’ve sacrificed attacking numbers for defensive solidity, and it might just keep them in the Premier League.
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.
Villa created 0.57 expected goals (xG) in the win against Arsenal, and no team in the Premier League has allowed more xG defensively this season — even after recent improvement.
Only six teams have a better xG difference since the restart than West Ham. They have rode the hot scoring form of striker Michail Antonio, who is tied for first since the restart in goals and is alone on top in xG. Antonio’s form combined with the ever-improving midfield pairing of Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice should be able to control this match through the midfield. West Ham has won on xG in five of its last six matches.
West Ham is in better form and is the better team, so despite this motivational mismatch, I’m skeptical of how much respect the line is giving Villa here. My numbers suggest that West Ham should be favored in this match, and I’ll bet them to get at least a point here as home underdogs — there’s no reason to expect them to put out a weakened team as they’ll want to continue their good form heading into the next Premier League season, which begins on Sept. 12.
Because of the shorter offseason and recent long layoff, players could be less likely to think about the offseason.
The Pick: West Ham +0.5 (-150)