West Ham have done well to remain as Top-4 contenders this far into the English Premier League season – but a trio of heavy hitters are ready to bring that Cinderella run to an unceremonious end.
The battle for the final automatic Champions League berth will be one of the prevailing storylines going into Matchday 31 on the Premier League calendar, with all 20 teams in action. West Ham enter the new matchday sitting in fourth place in the table to occupy that prized final UCL spot – but Chelsea are lurking just one point behind while defending league champion Liverpool and surging Tottenham are three points off the pace.
Here are our top Premier League betting plays for Matchday 31.
Premier League predictions for Matchday 31
Liverpool have been waiting for this game for a while, as they prepare to host Aston Villa with a critical three points at stake. It was a stunning 7-2 loss at Villa Park back on Oct. 4 that first exposed cracks in this year's edition of the league champions – and those flaws were on full display beginning at the start of the calendar year, when Liverpool earned just five wins in a 17-game span.
Villa failed to capitalize on the momentum of that win and are languishing in ninth place in the table, having ended a four-game winless stretch last time out. Meanwhile, Liverpool appear to have turned a corner with consecutive league victories and would love nothing more than to exact some long-awaited revenge. Look for the hosts to win this one going away.
PICK: Liverpool -1 (+137)
Why settle for fourth? That's the mentality at London Stadium as West Ham look to gain valuable ground on third-place Leicester City on Sunday. A win would be critical for both teams, with West Ham sitting four points back of Leicester for a spot in the Top-3 and Leicester entering the week just four points behind second-place Manchester United, who visit Tottenham on Sunday.
West Ham earned a shocking 3-0 away victory over the 2015-16 Premier League champions in their previous meeting Oct. 4, and that might make them look like solid value to some as a +187 outright play. We see the return engagement being much more competitive, with Leicester having suffered just one away defeat all season. The draw is an intriguing option here.
PICK: Draw (+240)
Panic might be setting in with an Everton squad that is watching its shot at an automatic Champions League berth slip away entering Monday's encounter with host Brighton. A three-game winless stretch has dropped the visitors to eighth in the table, leaving them four points back of fifth-place Chelsea and with two additional teams (Tottenham and Liverpool) in their path.
Brighton will likely avoid relegation – they're six points north of the cutoff entering Matchday 31 – and with a modest minus-five goal margin, they're better than their record. You can expect a competitive game here, and with both teams ranking in the middle of the pack in goal prevention, there's a good chance we see enough offense to push this one above the 2.5-goal threshold.
PICK: Over 2.5 (+120)
Premier League betting card for Matchday 31
- Liverpool -1 (+137)
- West Ham-Leicester Draw (+240)
- Over 2.5 (+120)
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