Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United Odds, Pick, Predictions | Premier League Preview

Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United Odds, Pick, Predictions | Premier League Preview article feature image

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Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United  Odds

Friday, Aug. 18
2:45 p.m. ET
USA Network
Nottingham Forest Odds-118
Sheffield United  Odds+350
Over / Under
 +120 / -150
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United will both be looking for their first points of the new season when they meet on Friday at the City Ground.

Forest may feel the more encouraged of the two sides after making things interesting in a tough opening fixture, losing 2-1 at last year's runner up Arsenal.

Sheffield United were held scoreless in their first Premier League game in three seasons, a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace.

These sides last famously met in the 2022 promotion playoff semifinals, which Forest won on penalties after each side earned a 2-1 away victory.

Here is my Premier League preview for Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United.

Nottingham Forest

There were periods in Forest's opener — particularly late in the first half — where it looked like manager Steve Cooper's side might lose their grip on their clash with the Gunners, much as they had in their 5-0 defeat at the Emirates last season.

But the Trees regrouped at half and, despite trailing 2-0 at the break, refused to be baited into sending overly aggressive numbers forward in what would likely have been a suicide mission.

Then, substitute Taiwo Awoniyi scored an excellent counterattack goal in the 82nd minute. That set up Forest with a puncher's chance of  leaving London with a shock result against a Gunners side that entered as hefty favorites at better than -500 odds, which felt like a moral victory.

One question will be how much more time Awoniyi can offer than his 20-minute cameo in the opener. The Nigerian led the Trees last season with 10 Premier League goals and converted at an impressive rate of 0.64 goals per 90 minutes without any of those coming from the penalty spot. Injuries limited him to 27 appearances, however, and an ankle issue limited him to his brief but important work on match day 1.

Forest were one of oddsmakers' picks to be relegated last season in their first top flight season in more than two decades, and they escaped that fate largely on the basis of strong home form. All but one of their nine league victories came at the City Ground last season, as did 27 of their 38 goals.

Sheffield United

With the Blades losing star Iliman Ndiaye and influential midfielder Sander Berge to outgoing transfers before the season again, there were concerns about just where chances were going to come from this season.

Those might be growing after an opening weekend defeat to a Palace side whose ceiling is probably just above mid-table, yet demonstrated a relatively wide gulf in attacking quality. United allowed nearly 2.0 xG while creating just over a quarter of that in their opener before their home support.

In fairness, incoming striking signing Benie Traore's poor opening showing probably owed to missing much of the preseason due to work permit issues. His striking partner on match day 1, the 20-year-old William Osula, was in his first top-flight appearance at any level after playing only two matches in last year's Championship campaign.

By comparison, former Everton winger Tom Davies — who completed a move to Sheffield this week — is a seasoned veteran despite spending the last two of the Toffees' relegation-threatened seasons on the fringes of first-team action.

There have been some additions on the defensive side, including American midfielder Auston Trusty after he spent last season on loan from Arsenal at Birmingham City.

The Blades had a reasonably strong away record last season, winning 12 of their 23 Championship away fixtures. But even with those since-departed stars, they were never an overly attacking side on their travels — they did not score more than two in any of those away days.

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Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United


With Awoniyi coming back in the fold, plus Morgan Gibbs-White and Brennan Johnson healthy, this is a Forest team that is poised to grow in attacking impetus in their second season back in the top flight. The same can't be said of Sheffield United.

As such, the moneyline feels reasonably tight here and the line on the overall total makes sense. But I think perhaps the Trees' attacking prowess at home and ability to avoid a scoreless draw is being undersold.

As such, I think the best play here is on the total finishing at one or two goals at +100 odds and an implied 50.0% probability. That wager cashed in 12-of-19 home games for Forest last season, while there were zero scoreless league draws at the City ground.

I'd be more inclined to consider betting Forest to score two or more if I had more hope of the Blades showing a lot of menace up top. But when you look at how Cooper's sides fared against similarly defensively focused opponents at home last year, the outcomes were generally low scoring.

Pick: Multi-goal, 1 or 2 total goals (+100 via Caesars)

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