Having appointed Sam Allardyce as manager and illustrated their desire to make an immediate return to the Premiership by acquiring Kevin Nolan, West Ham are rightly fancied for the Championship title and they can start the campaign as they mean to go on by registering a home win against Cardiff.
The Hammers are 5/6 at William Hill to see off the Bluebirds, who suffered further play-off heartbreak last season, and although the Welsh outfit have made major changes, in terms of both management and playing personnel, it could take a while for things to settle and for them to get over the loss of the likes of Jay Bothroyd and Craig Bellamy.
Nevertheless, Cardiff to ensure it’s a close encounter and it’s 11/4 (bet365) for the hosts to prevail by a one-goal margin. The Bluebirds can get on the scoresheet too, so a case can be made for the 17/20 that chalk against both teams finding the net but for punters seeking bigger rewards, there’s Skybet’s 8/1 for it to finish 2-1 in favour of Allardyce’s charges.
On his competitive debut for West Ham meanwhile, Kevin Nolan is 13/2 courtesy of Paddy Power to break the deadlock but the former Newcastle midfielder is arguably a better bet in the same firm’s ‘anytime goalscorer’ market at 21/10.
Kevin Nolan to score at any time – 21/10 (Paddy Power)