Nottingham Forest vs Leicester City Odds, Pick | Premier League Match Preview

Nottingham Forest vs Leicester City Odds, Pick | Premier League Match Preview article feature image

Alex Livesey/Getty. Pictured: Brendan Rodgers.

  • Nottingham Forest and Leicester City are dead even heading into their Premier League match according to the odds.
  • Is that the correct assessment of the fixture?
  • Read on for Anthony Dabbundo's match preview and pick.

Nottingham Forest vs. Leicester City Odds

Saturday, Jan. 14
10 a.m. ET
Nottingham Forest Odds+165
Leicester City Odds+165
Over/Under2.5 (+104 / -128)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(-130 / +105)
Odds via DraftKings. Get the latest soccer odds here.

Nottingham Forest had a massive week in their quest to remain in the Premier League next season after they drew at home against Chelsea and beat Southampton in a relegation six-pointer. The Trees are up to 17 points and are level on points with Leicester City heading into their clash on Saturday.

Leicester went into the World Cup break in solid form, but that was built on unstable and concerning underlying numbers. Since returning from the break, the Foxes have lost all three of their league matches and were knocked out of the EFL Cup in the quarterfinals. Home losses to Fulham and Newcastle have distanced them further from the top half of the table and inched them closer to the relegation picture.

The market has moved solidly toward Forest in this match, who were as high as +215 on the three-way moneyline 10 days ago. Now at a true toss-up, the value still lies with Forest when you consider their much-improved home form.

Nottingham Forest Finding Key Results in Relegation Battle

When Forest brought in 19 players in the summer transfer window, the expectation was that it would raise the floor of their performance levels enough to keep them in the league for another season. But bedding in that many new players proved difficult for the Trees, who were one of the worst teams in the league prior to November.

The idea was that the break would help Forest more than most because it gave manager Steve Cooper a chance to find his best XI and engrain all of the new players into the system. The market has upgraded Forest from the second-worst team in the league now. In their last five league matches against Brentford, Crystal Palace, Manchester United, Chelsea and Southampton, Forest have a positive non-penalty expected goal difference.

Their current form has also improved when playing at the City Ground. For the season, Forest are 11th in xG difference on their home ground.

From the beginning of the season until Nov. 1, Nottingham had a -0.85 xG difference per 90.

Since Nov. 1, the Trees have been a -0.30 xG difference per 90 team. The sample is too small to draw truly meaningful conclusions from, but the upward performance trend matches the theory that the signings would eventually pay dividends.

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Leicester City Have All Sorts of Issues

Leicester beat Nottingham 4-0 in the first meeting between these two clubs on the Foxes' home ground. They barely won the match on xG, 1.3-1.1, but superb finishing from the Foxes on shots from outside the box led to the rout.

The underlying numbers from that match suggested a much closer fixture. Now, the Foxes are on the road, dealing with a ton of injuries and they aren't in any real kind of form.

Let's start with the injuries. James Maddison and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall are key losses in the midfield for Leicester, while Jonny Evans and James Justin remain out in defense. Maddison was getting 3.2 shots per 90 this season, which is the best amongst all regular starters for the Foxes. Boubakary Soumaré was one of the top midfield choices since the season continued post-Christmas, but he's out injured for this match too.

Patson Daka has had a mediocre season and Jamie Vardy is clearly in decline now, so the Foxes badly needed Maddison's production from the attacking midfielder role. Without him, Youri Tielemans gets pushed further forward. He's an excellent progressive passer but isn't providing the extra shooting punch with his 1.2 shots per match.

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Nottingham Forest vs. Leicester City Pick

When you look at the season-long numbers, you'd say that a pick'em is a fair price in this match. Leicester have been the marginally better side over the course of 18 matches. But when you consider the trend lines of these two teams, it suggests that Nottingham Forest are the undervalued side.

All of the Leicester injuries have left Brendan Rodgers scrambling to find his best XI. Meanwhile, Nottingham's been a league average team at home with an improved defense. Add in the potential positive regression looming — Forest have finished chances really poorly this season — and the Trees should be a favorite at home on Saturday.

I'd bet Nottingham at -115 or better on the draw no bet line on Saturday.

Pick: Nottingham Forest PK (-115 or better)

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