WEST HAM are bottom of the Premier League – but second favourites to win the Carling Cup. Bizarre!
The Hammers are a biggest 5-1 with totesport and Blue Square among others after a stunning 4-0 quarter-final victory against Man United on Tuesday.
But that seems to be the Avram Grant way. Remember he guided Portsmouth to the FA Cup Final and relegation in the same season – although he could hardly be blamed for taking the skint club down. Grant reckons the victory against a severely weakened United will be the turning point in their season and if they avoid Arsenal in the semis they could well be heading for the final.
The Gunners eased past Wigan 2-0 and are a best 4-5 with Ladbrokes to end their five-year trophy drought.
Three Birmingham clubs go for Carling Cup glory tonight – and Aston Villa could be the odd ones out.
Alex McLeish's men take on Villa in a titanic quarter-final clash and are hot favourites to see off their struggling rivals. And West Brom should be too strong for Ipswich when they visit Portman Road.
Birmingham are a biggest 7-5 with William Hill and can justify their odds after a run of just one defeat in eight games. Champions Chelsea were beaten on the way and if it wasn't for the lack of a top-class striker McLeish would be confident of a high league finish.
City have been starved of cup success in recent years so I expect the former Scotland boss to put out a strong side.
Derbies can be volatile affairs when it comes to punting but injury-hit Villa were dire against Arsenal on Saturday and Gerard Houllier doesn't have many more he can call in.
Villa are as big as 11-5 with Betfred while City are 4-6 with Stan James to qualify.
Lee Bowyer bagged the winner against Chelsea after a charging run from midfield and is decent value at 16-1 each-way to break the deadlock at St Andrews.
West Brom head to Portman Road on the back of a 4-1 romp at Everton and must be looking forward to their clash with the League One outfit.
Roy Keane's men, on the other hand, have lost four on the bounce and pressure is piling on the shoulders of the ex-Celtic star after a 4-1 battering by Norwich on Sunday. As long as West Brom don't rest too many with the league in mind they should win at a canter.
The Baggies are a biggest 11-10 with bet365 while Ipswich are 14-5 at Chandler.
Roberto di Matteo's Premier League side haven't kept a clean sheet in 15 outings so there could be goals and three or more pays 10-11 with Hills.
Top scorer Peter Odemwingie is best bet for first goal. He is 11-8 with Coral to net and 5-1 with Chandler to break the deadlock. Deadball expert Chris Brunt, who hammered in an unstoppable free-kick at Goodison, is one for the each-way backers at 9-1 with Coral.
On the outrights it's 8-1 Villa (Betfred), 10-1 West Brom (Skybet), 12-1 Birmingham (Stan James) and 28-1 Ipswich (bodog).
There is a busy Europa League card with Man City in action at home to Red Bull Salzburg. City haven't been firing on all cylinders with just two wins in eight and don't justify a biggest price of 1-4 with Stan James.
Elsewhere tonight the best bets could be Young Boys who have been strong at home. They are 19-20 with totesport against a Stuttgart side who have qualified and will make changes.
Like the Germans, Zenit have won four out of four and therefore could take it easy at home to Anderlecht. Consider the Belgians at 2-1 with Skybet draw no bet.
- West Brom
- Atletico Madrid
- Red Bull +2
- Odemwingie to score first (5-1, Chandler)
- Man City 2, Red Bull 2 (25-1, Hills)