West Ham look good to get their Championship campaign up and running with a win against Cardiff this afternoon.
The Hammers could be at their strongest in the first few weeks of the season as there is still a chance that some of their star players could leave the Boleyn Ground.
Scott Parker is still a Hammer despite attracting interest from a host of Premier League clubs and while he is expected to depart before the close of the August transfer window, he will line up in claret and blue today.
So, too, will Robert Green, another of West Ham’s prize assets, and the fact that both he and Parker have been named in Fabio Capello’s England squad to take on Holland illustrates the size of Cardiff’s task this afternoon.
For not only will West Ham have many of the players who took part in their ultimately unsuccessful battle against the drop last season, but they will also be able to call on a number of impressive-looking recruits.
Former Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan is the most eye-catching, with Abdoulaye Faye and Matt Taylor also likely to make an impact at Championship level.
While West Ham have been busy adding Premier League-quality players like Kevin Nolan and Abdoulaye Faye to their squad over the summer, Cardiff have lost three of their star players.
Craig Bellamy has returned to Manchester City after his loan spell came to an end, Jay Bothroyd has joined QPR on a free transfer and Michael Chopra – who scored two goals for his new side yesterday – has surprisingly been allowed to join Championship rivals Ipswich.
With this in mind, it should come as no surprise to football betting fans that West Ham are favourites to beat the Bluebirds in bwin’s 3Way market.
The Irons are 67/100 to claim all three points, with Cardiff odds of 17/5 reflective of their status as outsiders.
However, with Cardiff having the best first-half record in the Championship last season it could take West Ham a while to make the breakthrough.
As such, the best bet could be on the game to be level at half-time and West Ham to be ahead at the final whistle.
This half-time/full-time bet is available at odds of 7/2, meaning a successful £25 free bet on this outcome, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £112.50.
Indeed, Cardiff scored first in 29 of their 46 league games last season, meaning a bet on the Bluebirds to score first could also pay dividends at odds of 9/5.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Championship odds.
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