Wigan Athletic have not made the best of starts to the season and find themselves in the familiar position of 16th in the Premier League table as they prepare to welcome West Ham United.
Sam Allardyce’s men, on the other hand, have impressed on their return to the top flight having picked up four wins from eight games to date and the Hammers sit high up in seventh spot.
The two ‘W’s meet on Saturday for the second time this season, with Wigan having handed out a 4-1 battering to the Londoners at Upton Park in the third round of the Capital One Cup.
This result was very much against the grain though, as the London side have made by far the superior start to the 2012/13 campaign as far as the league is concerned.
However, after looking at the statistics ahead of their clash at the DW Stadium, I cannot separate these two when it comes to predicting a winner and I’m instinctively leaning towards the draw at 11/5.
Wigan have drawn two and lost two at home – the second worst home record in the top flight – and conceded eight goals in those four games. West Ham have not done quite so badly on the road, with one win, one draw and one loss to show from their travels.
After a comfortable 4-1 home win over Southampton last time out, you would think that a West Ham triumph would be the tip to follow and that can be found at 21/10 with bwin.
On the flip side, the Latics won the last league meeting between the two at the DW Stadium, sending the Hammers down to the Championship with a 3-2 victory on the penultimate weekend of the 2010/11 season.
With that and their League Cup win in their pocket, there is a compelling argument to be made that Roberto Martinez could mastermind Wigan’s first home win of the campaign and 13/10 will be your reward for backing them.
However, despite other things spitting in the face of it, there is just a feeling in my betting waters that a draw is on the cards here.
Perhaps it’s that the arguments in favour of both teams seem to cancel each other out. Perhaps it’s because Wigan have drawn half of their home games. And perhaps it’s because West Ham’s away record of 1-1-1 is perfectly balanced.
In the various meetings between the two sides over the past nine years in Championship, Premier League and League Cup, there have been seven Wigan wins, nine West Ham wins and only two draws.
Despite that, Martinez and his boys drew as many at the DW as they lost last season and won less, which is the clincher for me.
The 11/5 on a stalemate between these two – which is potentially worth £64 to anyone backing it with their free £20 bet after joining bwin.com – is the way I will be playing this one.
You just watch it be a 5-0 mauling to one or the other now.