Premier League betting tips: Can Brighton or West Ham finish in the top four this season?

Our tipster Andrew Beasley weighs up whether it's worth backing the Seagulls or the Hammers to bag a Champions League spot.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

The international break is as dull as ditchwater, but it gives us an opportunity to take a breath and assess how the new season has begun.

It has been business as usual for Manchester City, with four wins from four. Behind them are a quartet of teams on 10 points, then Brighton complete the top six with nine points.

Less successful have been Manchester United (who have six points), Chelsea (four) and Newcastle (three). Despite their slow starts, Paddy Power expects the two Uniteds to finish in the top six, with Erik ten Hag’s side also joint-fourth favourites, alongside Tottenham Hotspur, for a top four berth at the end of the season.

There’s no value in betting on City, Arsenal or Liverpool to get one of those slots so it looks to be a multi-team battle for fourth place. While there’s a long way to go and the big clubs could easily recover, is it worth having a bet on West Ham United or Brighton?

West Ham

David Moyes’ team have made a much better than expected start to the campaign. According to the pre-match odds, there have been seven instances of an underdog winning a Premier League match so far this season and West Ham have been responsible for two of them.

And while not as unexpected as Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge, the Hammers’ victories over Brighton and Chelsea are currently the second and third least likely top flight wins respectively in 2023/24.

Surprising or not, the points are on the board, with West Ham having amassed 10 in total. History suggests this could be significant. There have been 20 instances of a team having exactly this many at this point in the last 15 seasons, with all-but-four of them finishing in the top six and 13 of them earning a spot in the top four.

The obvious problem for the Hammers is that most of them were members of England’s self-appointed big six clubs. Exclude them and only one of the four teams with 10 points after four games made the top six – Brighton last season – and that was the highest position any of the smaller sides posted.

30/1
West Ham Top 4 Finish 2023/24

The other issue is that Moyes’ boys have picked up more points than the underlying expected goal numbers imply they deserve. While this is perhaps correcting what occurred last season – when the data suggested they performed better than their points total – they were only mid-table for xG in 2022/23 anyway.

There is little to suggest they can hit the 70-point mark normally needed for fourth, and north of 60 for sixth would still be quite a big ask.

West Ham are big odds to make the top four and a single-figure price for the top six. As they host Manchester City on Saturday, those odds could easily lengthen this weekend.

17/2
West Ham Top 6 Finish 2023/24

David Moyes West Ham

Brighton

Brighton might be a point behind the Hammers – who beat them 3-1 last month – but they look a much stronger bet to dislodge one of the big boys from the top spots.

They did so last season, for one thing. The important factor, though, is that they deserved even more.

According to Understat, Brighton delivered the fourth best underlying performance in the 2022/23 Premier League, and third strongest for the period Roberto De Zerbi was in charge. It’s asking a lot to come from eighth favourite to finish top four but getting top six is undoubtedly possible.

23/10
Brighton Top 4 Finish 2023/24

A lot may hinge on how well the Seagulls handle playing European football for the first time in their history. West Ham are accustomed to the grind of playing both Thursdays and Sundays on a regular basis, giving them one edge in this battle. Chelsea and Tottenham don’t have any continental football at all and added training time with their new, clearly better managers should see them improve too.

This weekend could be huge for Brighton, though, as they head to Old Trafford. Manchester United are currently in turmoil, issuing daily statements and apologies for something horrendous someone at the club has done. Their home wins over Wolves and Nottingham Forest were utterly unconvincing too.

The Seagulls won in Salford last year and are a solid price to do so again on Saturday afternoon. If they have 23 shots, as Wolves did, they’re likely to convert some of them and they won’t throw away a 2-0 lead like Forest did should they find themselves in that position.

Brighton’s odds for a top four or top six finish could shrink this weekend. This could be the perfect time to bet on them.

4/6
Brighton Top 6 Finish 2023/24

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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