West Ham United should by all rights be approaching their Premier League opener with Tottenham Hotspur at Upton Park with a healthy dose of optimism.
The Irons beat their fierce London rivals on three occasions last term, winning 3-0 and 2-0 in the league and also 2-1 at White Hart Lane in the Capital One Cup.
Furthermore, Sam Allardyce is unbeaten in three top flight matches against new Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino going back to his Southampton days.
But there are also three strong reasons to believe that the 21/20 on a victory for the Lilywhites is the way to punt in preference to the draw at 12/5 or a home win at 5/2.
Only last season’s top four boasted a better record against bottom half sides than Tottenham.
Spurs’ results against West Ham last season were something of an anomaly in an otherwise very strong record against bottom half teams.
Under Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood, the north Londoners won 14 and drew three of 20 fixtures, winning six of those on their travels.
Similarly, Pochettino’s Southampton had a very strong record against the Premier League’s lesser lights, winning 12 and drawing four of their 20 fixtures, conceding just 14 times, a goals against column bettered only by Swansea.
West Ham lost 14 games against teams that finished in the top half last term.
The league double over Spurs, while sweet for the Irons faithful, was a rare bright spot in an otherwise terrible record against the sides that finished in the top half.
Big Sam’s boys lost 14 of their 20 fixtures against the division’s better sides, winning just three. Their record at home against such opposition bodes badly, too, with West Ham losing eight of the 10 games on their own patch, keeping just one clean sheet.
Spurs have lost just two of their last seven trips to east London.
The Hammers may have had the hoodoo on Tottenham last term, but traditionally it is the side from White Hart Lane that enjoy the bragging rights in this fixture.
Prior to last season’s reverse, Spurs had been defeated at Upton Park just once in six matches, four of which ended up with the points heading back to north London.