Liam Kelly previews West Ham's Europa League trip to face Rapid Vienna, expecting a tighter match-up than the prices suggest.
1pt Under 2.5 Goals at 6/5 (General)
West Ham head to Austria in full control of Group H, four points clear at the top with just two matches left to play.
David Moyes' men do have to rebound from a 1-0 defeat to Wolves at the weekend, though, one of the very few disappointing displays we've seen from the Hammers this season (xG: WOL 1.29 - 0.43 WHU).
The visitors are understandable favourites against a Rapid Vienna side that sit bottom of the group, but the price does look a little short when considering the likelihood of West Ham resting players.
The hectic festive schedule has already started, and the Hammers need not risk further injuries given the commanding position they have secured in the Europa League.
Rotation is necessary, which will undoubtedly please the home team, who are in urgent need of a win to keep their hopes of qualifying for the next round alive.
It's difficult to see Rapid Vienna scoring many goals in their efforts, however. After all, they've scored only three goals in the competition thus far, averaging 0.93 expected goals for (xGF) per game.
Their 1-0 league win of bottom-of-the-table Altach at the weekend is also indicative of the type of team Rapid Vienna are.
As a result, I expect the hosts to try and stay in the game for as long as possible to give themselves a chance against a better unit, making UNDER 2.5 GOALS a solid play at odds-against.
West Ham have limited opponents to few chances in the Europa League this term, allowing an average of 0.98 expected goals against (xGA) per game, and have conceded just two times.
A purposefully weakened team should hinder the Hammers going forward, too, which would only help our cause further.
Score prediction: Rapid Vienna 0-1 West Ham (Sky Bet odds: 7/1)
Odds correct at 1030 BST (23/11/21)
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