Sports Betting Weekly

West Brom v West Ham

When: Saturday, 14 February 2015 @ 18:45 (FINISHED)
Where: The Hawthorns
With two wins, two draws and one solitary defeat, there’s no doubt that the Tony Pulis effect is already starting to take hold at West Brom this year – but the Midlands-based club will be given another stern examination when West Ham United visit the Hawthorns on Saturday lunchtime.

Having crushed Gateshead 7-0 in the third round and edged past local rivals Birmingham in a 2-1 victory last month, this will be the first time that West Brom have met top flight opposition in the F.A. Cup this season and they will no doubt face a much tougher assignment against a West Ham side currently buoyed by the energy and guile of the returning Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia.

That being said, if there’s one thing Pulis knows how to do, it’s how to frustrate teams that are known for their attacking prowess – and with clean sheets in three of the six games he’s been in charge at the Hawthorns for so far, his team go into this one as slight 6/4 favourites ahead of West Ham at 21/10, with the draw not far off either at 12/5.

That aforementioned run of shut-outs understandably makes the 9/4 currently available on a West Brom clean sheet again look tempting – especially when you consider the visitors have failed to score in their last two away games in the Premier League – while in a similar vein, you can also get an even bigger 10/3 on the Baggies defeating West Ham without conceding a goal.

In the last round against Birmingham, striker Victor Anichebe was the hero as a ten-minute brace proved enough to book West Brom’s place in the fifth round, but with doubts remaining over the Nigerian’s fitness following a groin injury, the man of the moment is Brown Ideye. Having scored in his last two appearances for the Baggies, you can currently get 13/2 on Anichebe’s countryman to open the scoring, though Saido Berahino is the favourite at 11/2 with Sakho and Valenica both 7/1.

Although Pulis’ priority is undoubtedly Premier League survival and his opposite number, Sam Allardyce, will also have one eye on getting into Europe, it should be noted that both managers put out full strength teams in the previous round and are likely to do so again here, making the game almost too close to call – but with the home side’s confidence high and West Ham’s forwards looking dangerous, it may be just preferable to back West Brom to win and both teams to score at 17/4.