Aston Villa has scored just 5 goals in 10 English Premier League games heading into Week 11 here, where the Claret and Blue head to the Boleyn Ground to face a hot West Ham side. Are Villa fade material until it starts scoring?
West Ham United vs. Aston Villa, Saturday 15:00, (Premier League Extra Time/NBC Sports Live Extra, 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): So far, so good for Sam Allardyce and 5th-place West Ham United (5-2-3, 19 GF-14 GA, -5 GD, 17 points) as the Hammers hang near the top of the English Premier League table in early November and dream of a possible UEFA Champions League or Europa League berth next year. And with just 2 losses and wins against Liverpool and defending champs Manchester City under its belt, West Ham certainly deserves to puff its chest. Here at Home at the Boleyn Ground in Upton Park, East London, the Hammers could really use the win and the 3 points against 15th-place Aston Villa (3-1-6, 5 GF-16 GA, -11 GD, 10 points) who comes off of a Sunday match, also in London, this one at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur where Villa lost 2-1 after taking an early 1-0 lead on Andreas Weimann’s third goal of the season.
Soccer odds makers have made host West Ham -120 favorites (Paddy Power) with Aston Villa big +333 Underdogs and the Draw priced at +250. And with 9 of 18 meetings between the two clubs here ending in Draws, that price looks pretty enticing. The Total Goals for this game is 2½ (Over -105, Under -117, bet365) with the Both Teams To Score prop at Yes -120, No -111, Paddy Power). A random prop: The Halftime Score of West Ham 1-0 is priced at +300 (BetVictor).
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has been on the hot seat for weeks, but the Claret and Blue skipper has remained and probably can’t be blamed too much for the roster and budget Villa has to work with; nor the mere 5 goals scored by his team (Weimann has 3 and Gabriel Agbonlahor has 2). Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan has done what he can, but when your team scores goals as infrequently as this one does, the 30-year-old American almost deserves hazard pay.
Villa has been better Away from home than it has at Villa Park, where it has just one win—a 2-1 win against Hull City back in August—and the Claret and Blue aren’t as bad as their GD (-11) reflects and they could definitely surprise the hosts here and win by the way their games have been played, Villa will probably have to score first for that to happen, get a second goal somewhere down the line and get an outstanding game from Guzan. Hopes and dreams. Or, in other words (and numbers), there’s a reason the Claret and Blue are +333 Underdogs. And a reason they went over 9 hours without scoring a goal until Weimann’s on Sunday.
West Ham United
The Hammers sweet start was muted a bit with Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Stoke City at Britannia Stadium, but with the aforementioned wins against Manchester City and Liverpool, they have proved they can beat anyone here at Home at the Boleyn Ground. West Ham’s leading scorer has been the dynamic Diafra Sakho (6 goals)—a good candidate for an Anytime Goalscorer prop—while Enner Valencia (3 goals), Carlton Cole (2 goals), Stewart Downing (2 goals, 4 assists) and Morgan Amalfitano (2 goals) have all been vital in an impressive Hammers attack so far. And with Adrian and Jussi Jääskeläinen, West Ham (3-0-2, 8 GF-6 GA at Home) and Allardyce have decent goalkeepers with which to work.
West Ham is 5-4-9 in its L19 here at Home against Aston Villa (19 GF-20 GA) in this series and just 8-16-12 over the L36 and has been outscored 44-36 by Villa.
Best Betting Approaches
The simple way to look at this is that one team is playing good soccer/football and feeling good about themselves and scoring goals (West Ham) while the other team (Aston Villa) has been scuffling and has scored just 5 goals since the new Premier League season began back in August. For perspective, EPL newbies Leicester City scored 5 goals against Manchester United on Sept. 21 in a 5-3 home win at King Power Stadium. But turning on the goal faucet isn’t something teams can just do, especially when they’re struggling to score the way Aston Villa has. And thus, the Lambert firing rumblings.
Villa could definitely score here against the Hammers with Weimann or Christian Benteke being the most likely suspects and the Both Teams To Score prop bet might be worth a look (Yes -120, Paddy Power) but you can tell by the odds the linemakers know one of these teams has some serious issues scoring.
Villa will have one day less rest than West Ham and the Hammers will be at Home and have to be the Soccer Betting Pick here (-120, Paddy Power) because of a number of crucial things: The site, the opponent, the expectations and their plethora of guys who can score or create goals—the one element their opponents the Claret and Blue is sorely lacking.
PREDICTION: West Ham United 2 Aston Villa 1
EPL PICK: West Ham -135 at 5Dimes