Tonight’s game between Sunderland and West Brom could all but relegate Norwich without the Canaries even stepping on to the pitch. A draw this evening at the Stadium of Light, might not mathematically guarantee Norwich’s doom, but even Delia Smith would find it hard to envisage a 20-odd goal difference swing on the final day of the season.
It’s not quite on the same level as Germany v Austria in 1982, or your average Serie B game in Italy, but unsurprisingly the draw has attracted plenty of cash in Paddy’s book – almost half of it to be exact and punters aren’t shy in cashing in.
The Baggies are no strangers to sharing the spoils this season. They have actually lost only two more matches than either Man United or Southampton this year, but find themselves near the foot of the table due to a whopping 15 draws in 36 games.
That’s a 42 per cent strike rate, when the Premier League average is 21 per cent this year.
The form team going into tonight’s game is Sunderland without question. The Black Cats have gone unbeaten in four games, picking up victories against Man United and Chelsea, drawing 2-2 with Man City as well as hammering Cardiff in a relegation dog-fight. The Baggies however have won just three in the last 16 games, and after throwing away a two goal lead against Cardiff and a three goal lead against Spurs in the last five weeks, they look as sturdy as soggy cardboard.
As if to almost highlight West Brom’s laissez-faire approach to games recently, here’s Chris Brunt enjoying a stroll on the beach.
In the head-to-head stats though the team from the Midlands has the edge. West Brom have won seven and drawn one of the last eight games with Sunderland. The Black Cats haven’t beaten West Brom on home soil since December 2008 and another loss would mean some squeaky-bum sessions for the Stadium of Light faithful this week.
The draw will tempt punters in at 21/10 but there may be a touch more value if you look beyond the seemingly obvious.
Sunderland are the confident team and have started quickly in their last three matches. It might be a case that they take the lead, but if West Brom can get level, don’t expect either team to go hell for leather in the last 15 minutes. The Baggies are 6/1 to come from behind and draw, while in the half-time/full-time market it is 12/1 to finish Sunderland/Draw.
Eight of West Brom’s draws this year have finished 1-1 and the correct score is an 11/2 shot for anyone who fancies calling the game bang on.