With the NFL action slowing down as we head into February, it’s time to pursue my other passion here at the site – breaking down and focusing in on the English Premier League.
I’ve posted intermittently about the league over the first few months, but will be more diligent about making betting predictions as we approach the final months of the season and also in the lead-up to the 2018 World Cup.
We are now in Matchweek 25 of 38 in the top flight of English soccer, and though games do not run every week – there’s always good value to be had, and it’s easy enough to follow along anywhere in North America. This is certainly the most popular of the soccer leagues worldwide, and the exciting brand of play caters well to sports fans across the pond.
This week we will focus on an all-London clash as the Eagles of Crystal Palace in South London, head to the old Olympic Stadium out in East London to take on West Ham United. This is always a thrilling fixture, as you would expect when two London clubs square off. Both the Hammers and Eagles have escaped relegation scares from earlier in the season, and with their current form – should be able to turn in an exciting showdown on Tuesday afternoon. As is always the case, read on below for a full game breakdown and betting prediction.
West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace Betting Odds:
West Ham United (+195)
Crystal Palace (+160)
Over 2.5 (+110)
Under 2.5 (-130)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace Pick:
After a complete no-show of an outing from Crystal Palace back in Week 24, Roy Hodgson’s club will desperately be seeking a bounceback outing against another London club on Tuesday evening. They’re still in great form, scoring and creating goals with regularity – and the group has done well to will themselves out of a dire relegation battle. Still though, there remains a lot to accomplish for Crystal Palace, and a tough road test on Tuesday should be a nice measuring stick for this group going forward.
These teams first met back in October at Selhurst Park, with the match finishing at two goals apiece. West Ham enter this game riding a wave of confidence, coming in having not lost in their past five EPL outings. Though they surely remain confident playing on their home field, Palace’s recent run of their own combined with the Hammers’ heavy injury concerns have made this game quite the toss-up.
It’s rumoured that West Ham could be playing this match without as many as 13 first-team players. Some huge talent will be forced to the sidelines for this one – including Marko Arnautovic, Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini, and Winston Reid. There’s key bodies missing all over the pitch for the Hammers, and it remains to be seen if their depth can effectively hold off a talented Palace side.
For Palace, they’re much healthier – only missing Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Yohan Cabaye amongst their regulars. This is a group that has had nine days off in total, much more than other EPL clubs, and should be able to deliver in a solid road effort at the London Stadium.
I do foresee a much more focused Crystal Palace group, and despite poor away form – I think they’ll turn in a solid outing on Tuesday against their rivals from the East. That said, Roy Hodgson’s group still isn’t ready to consistently win games away from Selhurst Park and the depth of the Hammers is better than many pundits are giving them credit for. Crystal Palace remain a young group that have struggled on the road, and though I think they’ll get something from this clash – I see it being much more likely that it ends up a draw, opposed to an away victory.
With huge value looming around the +230 mark, look for Palace to control play and rebound from their dodgy Arsenal outing a couple of weeks ago. Ultimately though, they won’t have enough to escape with an impressive road victory – and both sides given their situations should be more than happy with a draw. Either 1-1 or 2-2 seems fitting for this all-London clash.