It’s the match that the Metropolitan Police have feared since the fixtures came out in June, but Saturday’s Championship lunch-time kick-off might see two of London’s biggest foes having to share the spoils.
While both Millwall (9/5) and West Ham (7/5) will have their backers, at the risk of being accused of sitting on the fence, the combination of a hotly-contested derby and a midday kick-off means I’ll be on the draw at 9/4.
Big Sam’s boys have made a good start to life in the second tier after last season’s comically inept campaign, particularly away from home, where they have won all three games, making light work of Doncaster, Watford and Nottingham Forest.
Those three fixtures have been won by an aggregate of 9-1 and their relative struggles at home suggest that Allardyce’s preferred 4-5-1 formation is better suited away from Upton Park.
Yet seeing off struggling Doncaster and Watford and still-in-transition Forest is not the same as being thrown into the Lions’ Den.
This is the match that means the most to Millwall and their fans and despite
their inconsistent start, there is no doubt the hosts will provide the Irons’ sternest test yet.
Kenny Jackett has done a marvellous job at Millwall, making the New Den a place to be feared once more. Millwall lost just five times at home last season and remain unbeaten there this term, keeping two clean sheets in the process.
Their points return should read better than it does, having twice thrown away two-goal leads (against Reading and Peterborough) and another season in upper mid-table is well within reach.
Incredibly for such bitter rivals, these teams have only met 25 times – with 11 of those at Millwall – which not only makes you wonder where the intense hatred comes from, but gives little indication of previous form.
Millwall have, however, won the two meetings at the Den this century and the Lions are sure to raise their game once more and the 9/4 for the draw looks fine to me.
Variations on the draw are worth considering, too. Early kick-offs often take a while to get going, so the 23/20 on the match being a draw at half-time is worth a look, while draw/draw in the half-time/full-time market is available at a tempting 17/4.
Correct score punters may want to split their stakes on 0-0 (33-4) and 1-1 (21/4). Anyone using their free £25 bet for joining bwin.com on the latter outcome would pocket a cool if the result comes in.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Championship odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting