Sports Betting Weekly

West Ham v Manchester United

When: Sunday, 08 February 2015 @ 22:15 (FINISHED)
Where: Boleyn Garden
While they may have sat fourth in the Premier League table as recently as December 20, it’s fair to say that the bubble has well and truly burst at West Ham as a return of one win in their last six games has seen them drop to eighth ahead of their Sunday afternoon clash with Manchester United.

Back in those happier winter days, the Hammers sat just a solitary point behind their free-spending rivals, but that gap has now increased to seven, meaning Sam Allardyce’s men will almost certainly need to pick up all three points if they are to seriously challenge for a European place this season.

Unfortunately for them, they face a United side that currently boasts the second-best away record in the league over the past six games and, as such, they go into Sunday’s clash with Louis van Gaal’s men as 29/10 outsiders, with the Red Devils representing outstanding value at just over evens.

That being said, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Hammers. Allardyce’s team have lost just once in their last six games at the Boleyn Ground and have only been beaten there three times all season, while United have actually drawn double the number of games they’ve won away from home in the Premier League so far.

As such, odds of 13/5 on the two sides sharing the points in this one look half-tempting and – although it’s a result that will not really benefit the home team in the long run – 1-1 is the bookies’ favourite scoreline at 13/2. Beyond that, the shortest odds of any correct score for a West Ham win come in at 12/1 for a 1-0 victory, which is still deemed less likely than a 2-0 win for United at 10/1.

Although he picked up a slight injury in West Ham’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool last week, Andy Carroll is set to be fit for the game on Sunday – and with Diafra Sakho unlikely to feature again for West Ham until his dispute with FIFA over missing the Africa Cup of Nations is settled, the hosts will need the big striker to offer a real physical threat against a United defence that still looks far from convincing.

If Carroll’s teammates can provide him with the service that he requires to flourish, the former Newcastle man therefore looks a likely candidate to be first West Ham goalscorer at 8/1, while despite netting just twice in his last six appearances, his opposite number, Robin van Persie, is deemed the man most likely for the visitors at odds of 4/1 – slightly ahead of Radamel Falcao at 11/2.

Whoever it is that does the damage for either side, it looks highly likely that both teams will find the net in this one – a fact reflected by odds as short as 4/5 on such an outcome – so if you are going to go against the grain and back an outright winner, make sure you combine the two bets to secure yourself enhanced odds of 3/1 on a United win or a massive 6/1 on a victory for the hosts.