West Ham v Southampton: Value in Crucial Relegation Clash
With just over a month to go until the end of the Premier League season, each week gives us crucial matches at both ends of the table. On Sunday, attention will turn to West London and the battle between Chelsea and Spurs but before that, we start at the other side of the capital where struggling West Ham host Southampton with both teams staring firmly at the drop zone.
There will be extra focus on the Hammers following a number of pitch invasions during their previous home game with Burnley so the pressure is on for manager David Moyes and his team.
Going into this match, West Ham are just one place and two points ahead of Southampton who currently occupy the last relegation slot. The Saints sacked their manager Mauricio Pellegrino following their previous league game, a 3-0 defeat to Newcastle United but can new boss Mark Hughes turn their season around?
The bookies actually side with Southampton here although the result betting is very close: The Saints are narrow favourites for the win at best odds of 43/25 with MarathonBet while the same bookmaker has the Hammers out at a top price of 97/50. Completing this option is the draw at a best of 9/4 with bet365 and Black Type and that’s a bet that many will jump on for Saturday’s game.
Before we make our own verdict, let’s look at the players most likely to decide the outcome.
The big team news ahead of this game suggests that Southampton’s Charlie Austin could be fit and ready to lead the line at the London Stadium. The England international remains the most potent striker for the Saints but his chronic injury record has struck again this season.
Austin is favourite to open the scoring in this fixture at best odds of 11/2 with BetFred and BetBright but after such a long absence, Hughes may decide to start him on the bench. That leaves three joint second favourites with West Ham’s Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic plus Southampton’s Manolo Gabbiadini all at the same top price of 11/2 with BetFred and BetBright again.
Other options further down the pitch may include West Ham’s Michail Antonio at best odds of 15/2 with Black Type while Unibet have an interesting best of 8/1 for the Saints’ Dusan Tadic. James Ward-Prowse has also scored important goals for Southampton this season and will interest many at his top price of 10/1 with BetFred and BetBright.
Rather than commit to the first goalscorer betting ourselves, we’ll switch to a familiar tactic and look for an anytime scorer. We think that West Ham will be more cohesive and a more potent threat going forward than they have been in recent matches and the man to watch here is Mark Noble.
A threat from set pieces and the Hammers penalty taker, you could be braver than us and take Noble to open the scoring at 16/1 with William Hill or 188Bet but we’ll stick with that anytime tip at a generous best of 7/1 with Sun Bets.
Other Side Bets
West Ham’s suspect defence makes the prospect of Both Teams to Score a potential addition to our betting slip at best odds of 10/11 with William Hill and Sport Pesa. Goals could be in the offing but while both of those defences have been shaky at times, the strike force on either side has been a little blunt so we wouldn’t be looking to back higher than over 2.5 goals which is available at a top price of 33/25 with MarathonBet.
Coming back to the result and there is very little to encourage backers of West Ham United right now. The form table shows three straight defeats and in that time they have conceded no fewer than 11 goals so, while they have the home advantage, the Hammers are the outside punt right now.
However, we see no real reason to make Southampton favourites: There is the theory that a new manager improves the fortunes of his side and we have seen that with Premier League teams this season but if you discount that FA Cup win over Wigan last time out, the Saints’ only victory in their last six came against bottom of the table West Brom.
It’s a tough call and it’s tempting to avoid making a real decision and coming down on the side of the draw. However, while they are arguably under the greater pressure, West Ham should have the better quality to come through on the day and convert some or maybe even all of these tips into a nice overall profit.