With over a third of the Championship season now complete, both Middlesbrough and West Ham are well placed to achieve their dream of returning to the top flight – but don’t expect a thriller when they meet at the Riverside on Tuesday.
The clash sees Boro put one of the division’s three remaining unbeaten home records on the line against the team who have picked up more points on the road (20) than anyone else thus far.
In fact, Tony Mowbray’s men have not lost on Teesside in 16 matches, which perhaps explains why they are the narrow 3/2 favourites in bwin’s 3Way football betting market for the match.
The Hammers, who have won six of their nine matches away from the comforts of Upton Park, are priced at 9/5 to get a priceless victory, with the draw available at 21/10.
West Ham go into the match in second place, two points behind leaders Southampton, following a 3-1 home win over Derby at the weekend, while Boro are five points further back in fourth after being held to a 1-1 draw at Peterborough.
Backing under 1.5 goals before the interval looks as close to a banker as you will find at odds of 2/5. The 18 first halves involving Boro this term have contained a total of just 19 goals, while that figure only rises to 20 for West Ham.
The proximity of the two sides in the table and the similarity of their match odds highlight just how tricky it will be to pick a winner, so exploring alternative betting options is the way forward here.
A closer look at the formbook suggests that a low-scoring affair is on the cards, particularly as Boro and the Hammers share the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded 15 goals apiece in 18 matches.
Middlesbrough have played nine league fixtures at the Riverside and just one of them has contained more than one goal in the first half, so backing under 1.5 goals before the interval looks as close to a banker as you will find at odds of 2/5.
This is also supported by the fact that the 18 first halves involving Boro this term have contained a total of just 19 goals, while that figure only rises to 20 for West Ham.
Along the same theme, placing a bet on there to be more goals in the second half than the first could also be a tempting proposition at odds of 23/20.
Punters using their free £25 bet for joining bwin.com on this particular selection could get returns of £53.75 if the prediction proves correct.
Interestingly, the Hammers, who will be looking for their fourth straight away win, have not lost a single second half on the road this term, while Boro sit 19th in a Championship table based purely on second-half performances at home.
This brings the half-time/full-time market into view, particularly if you’re looking for some enhanced odds on a Hammers triumph.
Draw/West Ham is available at 11/2, with West Ham/West Ham currently priced at 7/2, and backing one or both options could be prove incredibly shrewd if Boro’s two best strikers, Marvin Emnes and Scott McDonald, fail late fitness tests.
It would be remiss not to finish by noting that Middlesbrough are the division’s draw specialists, having shared the spoils on eight occasions.
With six of these coming at home and not many goals expected again on Tuesday, results such as 0-0 and 1-1 offer decent alternative value at odds of 27/4 and 5/1 respectively.
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