The West Ham Conundrum – updated

In January I queried why West Ham United are valued so poorly by bookie’s odds. A month and a half later it’s still happening.whuae

Each week I calculate probabilities for Premier League match outcomes using a model based on goals, shots and shots on target – and compare these against bookies odds. They’re normally pretty close, and where they’re not it’s usually easy to explain why – e.g. injuries to key players or upturn in form.

But for West Ham, every week they appear to be significantly undervalued by the market (compared with my model) despite consistently strong results. It’s difficult to explain why.

Clearly the market assessment of West Ham is much lower than their current position implies. Earlier in the season it may have been explained by the Hammers’ high goal conversion rate (goals/shots on target) – which could have been considered unsustainable. But as the chart below shows, this is no longer the case. The market has just not adjusted to West Ham’s improvement since last season.


One possibility is that the market uses more sophisticated information than my model. It may be that underlying market odds are set using expected goals models, which I know don’t favour West Ham. But whatever, West Ham have offered outstanding value this season – a unit bet for the Hammers in every match so far this season would have yielded 133% almost twice as much as the next best team (Leicester City).



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