West Ham’s first-class recent record against Birmingham and the fact that the visitors have never won the away leg of a Carling Cup semi final, mean that Avram Grant’s team are worthy favourites in the clash between the two clubs struggling towards the bottom of the Premier League table.
The Hammers are 6/5 to beat Birmingham in the Carling Cup betting and have only lost one of the last eight showdowns between the pair, which was away from home in the Premier League last season.
Meanwhile, West Ham have triumphed in two of the last three encounters at Upton Park and Birmingham are generally far worse on their travels than they are at St Andrews.
Birmingham have lost their last three away legs in Carling Cup semi finals, but are 23/10 to end this problematic sequence with a victory over West Ham.
Furthermore, West Ham have triumphed in the home leg of their semi final in each of the last two occasions they have gone on to reach the final.
West Ham’s betting odds are 1/1 to make the Carling Cup final, with Birmingham 8/11.
The first legs of Carling Cup ties have tended to be tight in the last three seasons, with four of the six games at this stage being settled by the odd goal, including both during the last campaign.
Therefore, it may prove prudent to back West Ham to win the opening leg 1-0 or 2-1, which are available at 11/4 in the coupled correct score market.
Alternately, both results are valued at 7/1 individually.
Birmingham are also 7/1 to win 1-0, while it is 10/1 that Alex McLeish’s team emerge victorious 2-1.
A £25 bet on West Ham winning the first leg 3-0 could see a return of £525. New Ladbrokes customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.