Friday, February 23, 2024

Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle Odds, Pick: Back the Aggressive Pick in Premier League Fixture

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Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle Odds

Nottingham Forest Odds

-145

Newcastle Odds

+425
Draw +290
Over/Under 2.5 (+110 / -135)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No) (+100 / -125)
Odds via DraftKings. Get the latest soccer odds here.

Newcastle United look for their first away league win since Boxing Day when they pay a Friday night visit to a Nottingham Forest side that suddenly appears wobbly.

The Magpies haven’t exactly been awful on their recent travels — three of those last four in the league have finished in draws. Even so, picking up single points against teams lower in the table won’t be enough to stay in the hunt for a top-four finish, and that is the aim still.

Forest may have gained a false sense of security following a run of two defeats in 11 league games. But reality has crept up with a vengeance after they’ve taken only two points from their last five, including a surprising 1-1 draw against title chasers Manchester City and a more frustrating 2-2 tie against relegation strugglers Everton.

Newcastle beat Forest 2-0 on the opening weekend of the season at St. James’ Park on goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson.

Nottingham Forest Struggling to Handle Injuries

For most of Forest’s 11-match run of good form, the analytics showed manager Steve Cooper’s side deserved those results. Their overall xG difference in that stretch was in positive territory, and they created more xG than opponents in seven of those games.

Then, a sudden reversal happened, and there’s one likely reason. An injury crisis at center back began catching up with them.

Joe Worrall and Felipe remain the only healthy and eligible options at the position since Forest had not included Steve Cook in their 25-man roster for the EPL stretch run. Willy Boly and Scott McKenna are expected to recover before season’s end, but aren’t expected to be available Friday.

And given how much defending Cooper has asked his side to do since shifting into a four-back system last fall, recent days have felt akin to a ship slowly taking on water that is suddenly too much. Forest have been outscored 12-4 over their five-game swoon while paying to a -6.0 xG difference.

The Trees have at least been able to depend on goals at home, scoring in all but one of their league games at the City Ground. But even that could become more difficult now.

Scoring leader scorer Brennan Johnson (seven goals) is questionable after picking up a groin injury in Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur. Taiwo Awoniyi – second on the Trees’ goals list – hasn’t played since early January.

Newcastle Looking to Break Their Run of Form

The Magpies had been in an attacking funk of their own, which prompted Eddie Howe to make a couple of bold changes in last Sunday’s 2-1 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Howe inserted Alexander Isak at center forward in place of a struggling Callum Williams, and also left team-leading scorer Miguel Almiron on the bench for the first time all season.

The result was an excellent performance going forward. Isak scored early and nearly set up another goal before halftime, and Almiron came on late to score the winner. Suddenly, it felt as if Newcastle’s run at the top four and a place in next year’s UEFA Champions League had been rejuvenated.

If they aren’t able to make up the four-point gap (with two games in hand) on fourth-place Tottenham, it might be due to regression at the other end of the pitch. After a run of nine clean sheets in 10 matches in all competitions, the Magpies have now conceded goals in seven straight.

Some of that is explained by a tougher run of fixtures, but not all. Wolves were the third consecutive team in the bottom half of the table to score a solitary goal against the Magpies. Unlike Forest, there isn’t an obvious health-related explanation to explain the trend.

Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle Pick

The signs point to a Newcastle revival, and I think the most likely outcome is probably a win for the visitors. But the price of -145 and an implied 59.2% probability is too steep given their recent defensive habits.

Even though Forest look more vulnerable of late, they’ve still taken at least a point in their last nine at home. They’ve drawn their last three at the City Ground despite analytics that suggest they were second-best — and they were downright lucky against City.

Some of their home form owes to schedule, with Manchester United and Arsenal still to visit. But there’s also a draw with Man City and a win over Liverpool already on the books.

Given other recent factors, the draw has value at +290 odds and an implied 25.6% probability. The percentages suggest it, even if the analytics don’t. The Magpies have drawn six of 12 away from St. James’ Park, and Forest have drawn five of 13 at home.

If you can’t stomach that, consider Nottingham Forest to score exactly 1 goal (+150 via BetMGM). That wager has also cashed in 12-of-25 games between Newcastle’s travels and Forest’s home slate.

Pick: Draw (+290 via DraftKings)

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