Odds: Stoke 91/100, Draw 23/10, West Brom 31/10
Venue: Britannia Stadium, Stoke
Date: Saturday 29 August
Kick off: 15:00
Referee: Michael Oliver
Last three meetings (most recent first): West Brom 1-0 Stoke, Stoke 2-0 West Brom, West Brom 1-2 Stoke.
Form: Stoke LDD West Brom LDL
Injured: Stoke – Ryan Shawcross. West Brom – Ben Foster
Doubtful: Stoke – Jonathan Walters, Peter Odemwingie. West Brom – None.
Match betting: The Baggies have been tough nuts to crack on the road under baseball-capped supremo and former Stoke boss Tony Pulis.
Since the Welshman took over they have avoided defeat in all bar three of their 11 away games, with Manchester City and Arsenal responsible for two of those reverses.
However, only two victories were recorded during that sequence, both of which came against sides winding down towards the end of last term in Crystal Palace and Manchester United.
Stoke have retained their strength at home under Pulis’ successor Mark Hughes, yet they were unable to breach Liverpool’s rearguard on the opening day of the season.
Brendan Rodgers could learn a thing or two from the West Brom boss when it comes to defensive organisation, suggesting that securing a point is more than within the visitors’ powers and the 23/10 draw looks the prime ploy here.
Under/over betting: Just once in six meetings across the last three seasons have these sides combined to thwart under 2.5 goals backers.
A repeat showing is understandably the 31/5-favourite on that basis.
For all our adversaries have been no strangers to net-rustling this term, the Baggies twice shipping three in three league games and both sides bagging in two of Stoke’s trio of outings, their form does little to dissuade unders backers.
After all, the Potters scored were shut out in their sole home game to date, bagged just once against a Norwich side that shipped three to Crystal Palace in their previous match at Carrow Road and were shut out by Tottenham for 78 minutes.
Meanwhile, West Brom have already drawn blanks against Manchester City and Watford and can be forgiven for conceding in such magnitude against the Citizens and Chelsea, last season’s champions and runners-up.
Goalscorer betting: If the scorers are to be troubled, Mame Biram Diouf is head and shoulders above his contemporaries as the standout candidate.
The Senegalese hitman has his favoured foes, as he proved when bagging a fourth in two tussles with Norwich last weekend and the Baggies are another side likely to be on his Christmas card list.
Diouf is 4/1 to open the scoring and 9/5 to find the net at anytime during proceedings, having struck three times in as many previous meetings with the visitors.
Saido Berahino netted ten goals more than his next most-prolific colleague last term, but has seemingly been exiled to the bench amid head-turning interest from Spurs.
Playing in his place, WBA record signing Salomon Rondon looked a double handful against Chelsea and his physical prowess make him the most likely to unsettle a Stoke defence minus long-term leader Ryan Shawcross.
The Venezuelan is 8/1 to score first and 3/1 to bag anytime.
Having equalled his own haul for the 2014/15 campaign in one game against the reigning champions last time out James Morrison is an intriguing outsider at 17/2 any time.
Left-field betting: The passing of Stoke’s Premier League brutalists par excellence tag to Crystal Palace has yet to be acknowledged by the stereotype lovers.
However, only Everton have averaged less fouls per game in the top flight this term than Hughes’ men, who look nailed on losers in the most yellow cards market.
That the man who now manages the Baggies reprogrammed Palace’s off-the-ball demeanour shouldn’t be lost on punters and the visitors should be backed at X/X to claim the most bookings at the Britannia.