West Brom are odds-on favourites to beat Norwich in their FA Cup fourth round tie at the Hawthorns despite losing at home to the Canaries in the Premier League just two weeks ago.
The Baggies are priced at 91/100 to win in 90 minutes in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, with the draw at 5/2 and a Norwich success at 14/5.
Meanwhile, West Brom are priced at 3/5 to make it through to the next round, leaving the Canaries at 5/4.
However, comparisons with the last game could prove difficult given both teams’ managers have made noises about making changes ahead of the tie.
West Brom boss Roy Hodgson said the FA Cup “maybe gives you a chance to give one or two players a game who haven’t been getting a game”, while Norwich counterpart Paul Lambert showed in the last round that he is also in favour of giving fringe players a chance in the cup.
The Scot made five changes to his side for the league game following Norwich’s 4-1 success over Burnley earlier this month, with Bradley Johnson coming in for Andrew Crofts, John Ruddy for Declan Rudd, Anthony Pilkington for David Fox, Kyle Naughton for Adam Drury and Steve Morison for Grant Holt.
West Brom have not scored the first goal in any of their last three league matches at the Hawthorns, while Norwich have struck the opener in four of their last six games away from home – including against the Baggies two weeks ago.
The likes of Simon Lappin, Elliott Ward, Leon Barnett, Drury and James Vaughan will therefore be hoping to make an appearance at the Hawthorns for Norwich tomorrow, although it should be noted that the impact of Lambert mixing things up could be far less severe than if similar action were taken by rival Premier League managers.
Lambert’s squad is used to adapting to the new systems and starting line-ups devised by the former Celtic player as he seeks to give his team the best chance of winning a game while ensuring fringe members of the squad remain integrated with first team regulars.
The recent game against QPR is a case in point: Lappin made his first ever Premier League appearance against the Hoops as Lambert sprung another surprise – and it paid off as Norwich won 2-1.
So however strong a side Hodgson decides to field, Lambert will be confident that the team he puts out onto the pitch will be able to do the business, particularly as the Canaries are unbeaten in January so far.
Nevertheless, they will have their work cut out on Saturday, even if the Baggies have a woeful home record.
West Brom have only won twice at the Hawthorns this season and have scored just eight goals in 11 matches.
This gives them the worst attacking record at home in the Premier League, which is hardly a label Hodgson will have wanted to pick up at the start of the season.
But the Baggies will take confidence from the fact that they created more than enough chances to beat Norwich in their last home game and that they ran out impressive 2-1 winners away to Stoke last weekend.
Throw in Norwich’s terrible cup record – they have only gone past the third round of the FA Cup in 12 of the last 16 seasons – and the fact that changes are likely to be made to a defence which only kept its first clean sheet of the season on Saturday, and a West Brom win looks the best bet.
However, there could still be value in betting on Norwich when it comes to which team will score first.
West Brom built up a reputation early on in the campaign as a team who start quickly, with their first five goals of the season being scored in the first half, three of which were the first goal of the game.
However, they have not scored the first goal in any of their last three league matches at the Hawthorns, while Norwich have struck the opener in four of their last six games away from home – including against the Baggies two weeks ago.
With this in mind, Norwich to score first looks a value bet at 3/2 when it is considered that West Brom to score the opener is priced at 13/20.
A successful £25 free bet on Norwich to score first against West Brom is set to return £62.50, with the free bet available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
That said, it could still be worth betting on the game to be level at the interval at 6/5 given this has been the case in eight of the 11 league games at the Hawthorns so far this season.
And with West Brom looking good to exact revenge on their Premier League rivals over the course of 90 minutes, a draw/West Brom win is one final option to consider at odds of 17/4.
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