|By PAUL GOUGH
After a weekend full of upsets, West Ham can rescue favourite backers in the English Premier League by winning at home to Stoke in the Monday fixture in what is shaping as a low-scoring affair.
The clash, which will be shown live in Australia at 7am on Tuesday morning, completes week 12 action that has seen upset after upset, with Manchester United beaten by Norwich, West Bromwich Albion knocking over Chelsea, Reading defeating Everton and struggling Sunderland winning away to Fulham in the Sunday game.
With that in mind, the temptation is to steer clear of backing seventh-placed West Ham to win at home against 14th-placed Stoke, particularly with the Hammers just barely over even money odds at $2.04 at Betfair and even money exactly at $2 at TAB Sportsbet.
Stoke are priced at $3.50 at TAB Sportsbet, $3.75 at sportsbet.com.au and a generous $4.30 at Betfair, while the draw is at $3.45 with the latter and $3.30 elsewhere.
However despite week 12 having been one for the roughies so far, West Ham still looks the way to go in this match.
The Hammers are coming off their best win of the season so far - a 1-0 success at Newcastle - and are unbeaten in five home games this season, including a 0-0 draw with league leaders Manchester City in their previous home game.
That is good form against a Stoke side, whose only win in the past five matches was a 1-0 home win against bottom club Queens Park Rangers.
|Hammers to keep clean sheet v Stoke at $2.62 at Betfair
||West Ham to win 1-0 v Stoke City at $7.40 at Betfair|
Stoke's biggest problem this season has been their lack of goals - just nine so far which makes the Potters the league's equal lowest scoring team so far.
But, on the other hand, they have only conceded 10 goals, the equal-best defensive record of the season so far along with reigning champions Manchester City.
However, West Ham's defence, under Sam Allardyce, has improved considerably this season and the Hammers have the next best defensive record, having conceded just 11 times.
So with two of the league's best defences going head-to-head at Upton Park on Monday , goals are likely to be few and far between, with the Hammers great value at $2.62 at Betfair to keep a clean sheet against a side that has failed to score in three of their past five games.
And if you are looking for a bit of an extra value punt, then consider backing the Hammers to win 1-0 at Betfair in correct score betting at $7.40.
*Note prices subject to change