FOOTBALL BETTING: 19:45 – Live On Sky Sports 1.
It’s second against third in the Championship as West Brom host Nottingham Forest. William Hill‘s Sam Leggott previews tonight’s televised encounter
Second and third face each other in what should be a thrilling encounter on a chilly Friday evening match at The Hawthorns. Both teams go in to the match in good form with West Brom (5/6 at William Hill) on the back of three consecutive wins and Forest (10/3) unbeaten in 16 league matches, arguably the form team here.
This game may not be as cut and dry as you would expect as Forest have had a really impressive season, performing above all expectations. Many fans hoping this will be the year they re-enter the big time and recreate some of those glory days under Clough 75-93.
They are the only team in The Championship to remain unbeaten away from home, although drawing nine of twelve, therefore the best bet I can see in this whole match is the double chance of covering Nottm Forest and the draw at 11/10.
The prospects of a West Brom victory look slimmer when you delve deeper into the stats; in the last four meetings between these two teams the away side has come out on top and of West Brom’s four defeats in the league this year, three have come at home. This taken into consideration and with the possibility of the draw I think covering your back with the handicap of Forest plus one goal at Evs is a good option.
Looking at West Brom going in to this match it is hard to totally discount them from the match – they are still one of the league’s most dominant forces. Although only two points ahead of Forest they seem likely to bounce straight back to The Premiership and with gaffer Di Matteo having no fresh injury concerns they certainly have a chance.
I am expecting it to be a close game so if I was to expect a West Brom victory it would be likely be a close one with 1-0 and 2-1 being 5/1 and 6/1 respectively.
A stat that intrigues me in this match is that at least one of the teams has kept a clean sheet, or the other has failed to find the net depending on how you look at it, in each of the last nine meetings between these two.
With Forest keeping three consecutive clean sheets away from home you might look towards only them to score at 6/1, for West Brom to be the only team to score at 15/8 or them to buck the trend and both score at 3/4.
In terms of team news for West Brom there are no big concerns as new signing Gabriel Tamas – the loanee centre back from Auxerre, is in line for a first start which has come as welcome news for Di Matteo as he has just lost Abdoulaye Meite to the African Cup of Nations.
West Brom are the league’s top scorers and with the likes of Graham Dorrans bagging four in his last six games, with eight overall, he looks a decent bet at 7/1 first scorer or 2/1 anytime. Simon Cox seems to have found his shooting boots finally after joining from Swindon Town, and if he lines up he looks good to be the first scorer at 5/1.
Nottm Forest arguably haven’t got the wealth of quality in the ranks that their rivals have but Billy Davis has built up a squad to be reckoned with. The return of cup-tied loanee Nicky Shorey at left back will be welcomed which also means Chris Gunter can move back to his favoured position at right back.
If joint top scorers Dexter Blackstock and nomadic striker Robert Earnshaw line up – both 7/1 first goal scorer – then Forest certainly have a threat upfront, you can even get them both to score at any time at 17/2. Lewis McGugan has chipped in with a few goals from midfield this season too and maybe not a bad try for each way first at 12/1 or anytime at 5/1. If the strikers can get scoring I think a good correct score would be Forest 3-1 at 40/1.
Overall, any fan looking on paper may see West Brom as clear favourites for this match but looking through the stats and recent form you have to say Forest at least have a shout here and there’s some tempting prices out there if you agree.
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