Nottingham Forest vs West Ham Odds, Picks, Predictions | Premier League Match Preview

Nottingham Forest vs West Ham Odds, Picks, Predictions | Premier League Match Preview article feature image

Visionhaus/Getty. Pictured: Anthony Elanga.

Nottingham Forest vs West Ham Odds

Saturday, Feb. 17
10 a.m. ET
Nottingham Forest Odds+140
West Ham Odds+190
Over / Under
 -125 / +100
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

A week after West Ham's embarrassing 6-0 defeat at home to London rivals Arsenal, the Hammers are underdogs yet again, this time on the road against Nottingham Forest. Despite their relative over-performance to sit eighth in the PL table, there is a lot of discontent amongst the fanbase about the job that David Moyes has done in charge of West Ham this season. The reality is that the Hammers have run extremely well to get all the way up to the top half of the table and their true talent is closer to 15th or 16th.

Only four teams in the Premier League have a worse xG differential for the entire year and the current version of Nottingham Forest is playing at a higher level right now. The Trees are getting healthy and have most of their top choices available for selection as well, which makes them undervalued at home as a small favorite on Saturday.

Read o for my Nottingham Forest vs West Ham prediction.

Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest's biggest issue has between the posts this season. They've now tried three different goalkeepers, and all three have been terrible at shot-stopping. Matt Turner entered the season as first choice and his poor distribution and uncharacteristically mediocre shot stopping cost him the job. The Trees tried Odisseas Vlachodimos and he was even worse than Turner at saving the ball. The Trees then acquired Matz Sels from Strasbourg in January and through two matches, he has a -2.1 PSxG. The sample is too small to draw any conclusions about Sels, but the issues in goal are the primary reason that the Trees are in the relegation picture.

The defense has actually been quite good at the City Ground. The Trees rank fourth in the league in xG conceded at home. They constantly have numbers behind the ball and don't concede many big scoring chances. Away from home, their form has been a lot more rocky. They've had some run bad on set pieces and long distance shots against them, as well as the shot-stopping. As a result, Forest have conceded 10 more goals than expected and it has killed their point totals.

Now that Anthony Elanga, Taiwo Awoniyi, Morgan Gibbs-White and Neco Williams are all fit at the same time, the Trees have a very solid attacking unit. Awoniyi hasn't been fit much, but he's scored 15 goals in 25 games for Forest with 0.42 xG per 90 across two seasons. Gibbs-White and Williams offer a ton of creative production, Chris Wood is a solid plan B striker in the second half and the Trees have had no issues scoring goals since Nuno Espirito-Santo became manager.

They've managed 13 total goals in seven games under Espirito-Santo. They've done this while conceding 1.4 xGA per match under him. It's solid improvement from their numbers under Steve Cooper.

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West Ham

West Ham are one of the worst defenses in the entire Premier League this season and that's supposed to be the calling card of a Moyes team. Given how passive and conservative they are, it's been far too easy to play through the Hammers. They rank 20th in box entries, 20th in progressive passes allowed, 20th in crosses allowed and 16th in non-penalty xG allowed. The only thing the Hammers do well defensively is stopping set pieces and shot stopping.

The Hammers are bottom three in pass completion rate allowed, high turnovers forced and expected threat. If you're going to be an extremely passive defense, you better at least be able to prevent box entries or shots. West Ham have had a handful of upset wins against big sides — Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal — but they barely held on defensively in every one of those matches.

The market is well aware how mediocre the Hammers are, hence why they are priced as an underdog to Forest here. But now that Moyes has again ruled out Lucas Paqueta, the entire attack is centered around set pieces. The Hammers beat Forest 3-2 in the reverse fixture in the London Stadium, with two goals coming from set pieces and one coming from a Paqueta moment of magic from outside the penalty area.

Moyes said that Michail Antonio could make his return on Saturday for this match, but his production had declined considerably prior to his injury. The attack is 14th in xG created and while set pieces could be the great equalizer, the rest of the advantages lie with the hosts.

Nottingham Forest vs West Ham


Outside of their goalkeeper issues, Nottingham Forest are healthier and better at both ends of the pitch. The Trees are trending up in attack with everyone healthy and now have multiple key players back from AFCON in midfield and defense. Meanwhile, West Ham are in some turmoil and there's more room for the Hammers to fall given their horrendous defensive profile that cannot stop the ball from entering the penalty area.

With the Trees barely favored at home, I'd back them to take all three points at the City Ground at +12o or better.

Pick: Nottingham Forest ML (+140)

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