West Ham welcome QPR to Upton Park this weekend for a London derby which could play a pivotal role in the outcome of both teams’ respective seasons.
For QPR, every game from now on is a must-win due to their shockingly bad haul of 14 points from 22 games, a total that sees them rooted to the foot of the table, where they have been since August.
But for West Ham, things have gone considerably better, sitting as they do in 11th place, a whopping 12 points better off than their opposition this Saturday.
No surprise, then, that the Hammers are 19/20 favourites with the bookies at bwin, while lowly Rangers are a long 14/5, with the draw in the middle at 12/5.
A look at those odds would suggest that West Ham will stroll to victory, but just recently, the fortunes for both sides have begun to turn.
With just two wins in their previous ten league games, Sam Allardyce’s Hammers are enduring a tough period of form and their last Premier League appearance saw them comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Sunderland, who until that point had only scored 21 goals.
The Hammers fared slightly better in midweek in their FA Cup third-round replay with Manchester United, but despite a strong performance they still ran out narrow 1-0 losers and another defeat this weekend could see them slip to within four points of the relegation zone.
While the Irons have been sliding, QPR, under the management of Harry Redknapp, have, by their previously poor standards, enjoyed a fruitful January so far with a stunning victory over Chelsea, a point at home to Tottenham and a 2-1 success over West Brom in their FA Cup replay on Tuesday.
This series of results means that the Hoops have now won two away games on the bounce having previously only won twice all season, home or away.
Key to both of these victories (and the draw with Spurs) was the new-found defensive solidity that has appeared out of nowhere after 36 goals were conceded in the first 20 league games of the campaign.
With three clean sheets from four games in all competitions, QPR are priced at 21/4 to win to nil and you can also get 16/5 on West Ham failing to score, but even if neither of these occurs, we are unlikely to see a great number of goals from either side.
In their past five league games, West Ham and Rangers have only managed to breach the opposition defence three times and you would have to go back to 1993 to find a game between both sides that had more than three goals.
With this in mind, you should be safe with odds of 3/10 on there being under 3.5 goals in the game and I would be backing a goalless draw for a longer shot at 15/2, despite Redknapp splashing £8 million on French striker Loic Remy during the week.
New customers registering with bwin can claim a free £20 bet and placing this on West Ham and QPR to draw 0-0 would return an impressive £170 if successful.
But for a safer play, stick with that under 3.5 goals shout or take the 12/5 on a draw between two sides who are suddenly more evenly matched than their league positions suggest at present.
Top bet: West Ham and QPR to draw @ 12/5