One has not got stuck into the Christmas eggnog early but there is a case for West Ham being over the odds for its holiday games against London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.
Yes, one is aware of Chelsea’s English Premier League home record under Jose Mourinho – the Blues have lost only one divisional match at Stamford Bridge ever when the Special One has filled out its teamsheet – but that does not mean that the English Premier League ladder is unbeatable and worth opposing provided that the available odds are good.
The Boxing Day program of English Premier League games is likely to kick off with high-flying West Ham as the second biggest outsider on the coupon behind Newcastle, which is away to Manchester United. One has no issue with Manchester United being short odds to beat Newcastle given the English Premier League collateral form lines pertaining to the Red Devils and the Magpies. But one does have an issue with Chelsea being about the same odds to defeat West Ham.
Chelsea and West Ham have had 16 common English Premier League opponents and one thinks that you will be shocked that those collateral form lines are not massively in favour of the Blues. Handicapping their respective English Premier League results on the basis on that home advantage is worth half a goal, just six of those 16 collateral form lines favour Chelsea, with three favouring West Ham and seven favouring neither team. One does not dispute that Chelsea should be the warm favourite for the English Premier League match at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day – after all, awarding half a goal for home advantage, the Blues have a 13-3 edge – but bookmakers are underestimating West Ham on some lines.
Looking forward to the English Premier League program on Sunday, West Ham will host Arsenal at the Boleyn Ground. Before Christmas, West Ham and Arsenal have had 16 common English Premier League opponents and one’s view is that eight of those collateral form lines favour the Hammers, six favour the Gunners and two favour neither side. One thinks that West Ham’s fourth place on the English Premier League ladder flatters the Hammers and that they will struggle to maintain their ranking in the second half of the season. But one cannot turn a blind eye to those collateral form figures that suggest that Arsenal is an extremely false favourite.
So how should one back West Ham in the next two English Premier League rounds? Well, one is insufficiently brave to suggest backing West Ham to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge but one quite likes the Hammers in receipt of a two-goal start at odds of -119 with 888sport and Unibet and the Blues to win by a one-goal margin at odds of +280 with Ladbrokes. West Ham’s home game versus Arsenal is a different kettle of fish and the best way to approach it is to back the Hammers at the inexplicable odds of +270 with 888sport and Unibet.
West Ham and Arsenal play English Premier League matches against Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers respectively on Boxing Day so, if one waits until then before betting on the Boleyn Ground clash, consider updating the collateral form scoreboard after Friday’s games. However, no combination of English Premier League results on Boxing Day will justify Arsenal being the favourite for its visit to West Ham.
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