Southampton v West Ham – St. Mary’s at 17:30 live on Sky Sports 1
The Saints welcome the Hammers to St. Mary’s this Saturday evening in front of the Sky camera’s and I’m expecting an entertaining match, but not necessarily one that will produce a lot of goals.
Southampton sit just one place below West Ham in 7th but 5 points separate the two teams. This is an important fixture in the race for a European place and both teams have been in good form of late.
Ronald Koeman’s side are excellent defensively, as they were last season, conceding 24 goals so far this term, the fourth best rearguard in the league. They have kept 4 consecutive clean sheets, beating Watford, West Brom and Man Utd, before a stalemate with Arsenal on Tuesday night.
The hosts have 3 class strikers at their disposal in Shane Long, Graziano Pelle and new signing Charlie Austin but they have only managed an average of 1.33 goals per game this season, just slightly above the league average of 1.31. Four of their last five matches have seen fewer than 3 goals and only 2 of their last 7 at St. Marys have seen 3 or more.
Under 2.25 goals on the Asian line looks a good bet at 1.99 as I think this match will be extremely tight and finding space will be difficult.
West Ham have lost just 5 times this season, only Leicester and Tottenham have lost fewer in the league. They are now unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions and are a very tough team to beat.
After drawing 5 league matches in a row from the end of November and throughout December, which took them to 9 draws from 18 matches, they have won 4, lost 1 and drawn just 1 of their last 6.
Southampton are rightfully favourites, but at 1.72, they are too short to back with any confidence. As I said in my article from Tuesday, recommending them -0.5 on the Asian Handicap betting market when they went on to beat Villa, they are continually under-estimated.
At a price of 5.75 to win this one, they are difficult not to back on the AH market +0.75 at odds against. They may not come away with all 3 points, but they can avoid defeat.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: West Ham +0.75 at 2.01
Prices correct at time of writing.
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