Sunday, December 3

West Ham vs. Wolves: Back Hammers To Get Home Victory

West Ham vs. Wolves Odds

West Ham Odds +110
Wolves Odds +285
Draw +225
Over/Under 2.5 (+130 / -160)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
How To Watch USA Network | fuboTV
Odds updated via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Wolverhampton held out for nearly a full 90 minutes, plus stoppage time, of defending at Emirates Stadium on Thursday, but the last-minute winner from Alexandre Lacazette stole the club’s chances of grabbing that point

Instead of a 1-0 win that looked likely until the 82nd minute or a 1-1 draw, Wolves’ chances of getting top four were drastically hurt in the final 15 minutes.

The story of Wolves’ season has been its elite goalkeeper and defensive play keeping goals out against all regression indicators and expected numbers. Now, they travel to a struggling West Ham United on Sunday as the two Premier League foes do battle in a game that could go a long way toward deciding who gets European football.

With the big six all in good form and challenging for the main European spots, Wolves and West Ham are the party crashes and both have a realistic chance of taking a Champions League or Europa League place from them. One of them could miss out on Europe completely though, whomever finishes in eighth place this season.

The underlying numbers suggest that Wolves defense has been quite fortunate, but so has West Ham’s attack and the Hammers have seen a downturn in attacking output in the last month especially.

West Ham Looking to Regain Form

West Ham was legitimately performing at a top-four level early in the season, but it’s been a long time since that’s been true of this team. Their 10-game rolling average xG difference is solidly negative following another handful of lackluster performances against Newcastle and Leicester City. Despite playing three of the four worst defenses in the Premier League in the last three matches, West Ham has totaled two expected goals.

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For the season, West Ham has 45 goals for from just 34 expected goals. That makes them the biggest attacking overperformer in the entire league by quite a margin. They don’t have players you’d consider elite finishers so there’s no reason to expect West Ham to overperform at all the rest of the season and more likely than not, a finishing slump is coming for them at some point.

The big wins against Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham have helped the Hammers tally points, but they’ve also struggled to beat these midtable sides in matches that typically determine who makes the top four.

Since November began and West Ham has 1,416 minutes at 11 on 11, the side has a negative xG difference of -0.1 per 90. This still is better than Wolves’ own metrics, but it’s not close to that of a side who has a real chance at finishing top four.

We saw a similar trend with West Ham last season that saw the Hammers start the season playing very well and getting results, but defensive regression led to them conceding too many goals to really challenge for top four.

This season, all of the metrics have worsened and I’m not expecting a huge bounce back.

Should We Fade Wolverhampton Down Stretch?

Similar to West Ham, Wolves are a team I’m looking to bet against as the season enters the final third and the home stretch. While West Ham have relied on their attack running unsustainably hot to sustain themselves in the top four race, Wolves have relied on Jose Sá and elite goal prevention.

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The dam finally broke in the final 10 minutes against Arsenal when the Gunners scored a deserved two goals to win the match.

In the end, Arsenal had well over two expected goals and produced more than 20 shots, which isn’t a great sign for a Wolves’ defense that is supposed to be elite in the Premier League. Only David de Gea has saved more goals this season than Sá in all of Europe’s big five leagues.

The recent run he’s been on will not be sustained forever, and when that does regress, goals will come for the opponents of Wolves. The defense is now 11th in NPxG allowed per match and their 13th in defending crosses/box entries.

West Ham has considerable advantages with its attack in this match through the air and through crosses and should it exploit them in this spot and score early, it’s hard to see how Wolves get back into the game given its attacking issues.

The attack was due for a hot finishing run and it has come in the last few weeks, but there’s not much to like in the numbers. Wolves are 17th in xG created, 19th in shots per match and bottom five at getting the ball into the opponent’s penalty area.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Both Wolves and West Ham are on the top of my Premier League fade list right now given how much the defense and attack are riding unsustainable finishing variance and luck recently. I don’t consider either legitimate top four contenders as the season progresses toward the finish.

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The Hammers attack remains clearly the best unit in this match and if there’s ever going to be a get right spot, it’s at home against a vastly overrated Wolves defense that is due for a ton of chances to be conceded against it.

West Ham should be able to generate one or two big scoring chances through set pieces or crosses, both areas where Wolves have been lucky not to concede more goals from the chances they’ve allowed.

I’ll be looking for spots to fade them going forward, but here, I’m taking West Ham’s attack to produce enough at home to win. My projections make West Ham at -110 odds on the moneyline, so I’d take them at even money or better.

Pick: West Ham ML (+100 or better)

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