West Ham form makes them understandable play-off favourites


West Ham go into this year’s Championship playoffs as 13/8 shots to emerge victorious, and the pre-season promotion favourites look good to justify this price.

The Hammers have hit a purple patch of form at an ideal time, going unbeaten in a six match run which has featured four wins.

4/1 outsiders Cardiff stand in their way of progression to the Wembley final, though the 2-0 defeat the Welsh outfit suffered at West Ham’s hands in March will stifle their confidence.

Sam Allardyce’s men are 17/10 to win in Wales once again, which would give them a terrific foundation to build on ahead of for the return tie at Upton Park next week.

A draw would be a more preferable result for the playoff favourites too, so the Hammers would fancy their chances of progression should that outcome occur at 21/10.

Malky Mackay’s team will be spurred on by the Wembley heartache they suffered in the Carling Cup final meanwhile, and some may fancy them to gain a fighting chance by beating the Hammers at 7/4 in the first leg.

Elsewhere, Blackpool carry good form into the playoffs too, and some will be inclined to back them to achieve promotion via this route for the second time in three seasons at 11/4.

They face Chris Hughton’s stingy Birmingham side in the semi-final, at 11/8 for a home success at Bloomfield Road on Friday night.

Birmingham’s consistency though, has seen them head into the playoffs only slightly longer than West Ham in the betting at 13/5, but draws have dominated their results at the tail end of the regular Championship season.

It is 23/10 about the Blues recording what would be a fifth stalemate in their past six games on Friday, which looks a very plausible outcome.

They are 19/10 to gain an advantage in Blackpool meanwhile, which would surely set them on their way to a Wembley appearance.