West Ham vs Nottingham Forest Odds, Pick | Premier League Match Preview (Feb. 25)
Richard Sellers/Getty. Pictured: Remo Freuler.
West Ham vs Nottingham Forest Odds
West Ham Odds
Nottingham Forest Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+100 / -145)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(-105 / -135)|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get the latest soccer odds here.|
West Ham United will attempt to climb out of the relegation zone and pull Nottingham Forest back into the fight in the process when the sides meet Saturday at London Stadium.
The Hammers begin the weekend in 18th, one point to the wrong side of the relegation line after a 2-0 defeat across town at Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday. That result snapped a modest three-match unbeaten run that included hard-fought draws away to Newcastle and home against Chelsea.
Forest snatched a dramatic 1-1 draw at home against Manchester City through Chris Wood’s late leveler to continue an extended run of improved form. The Trees have now earned 20 points in their last 13 matches after taking five points from their first 10 games in the top flight since the late 1990s.
Forest won these teams’ first meeting back at the City Ground in August.
West Ham Underperforming Against Analytics
If you go by the analytics, David Moyes’ team shouldn’t even be in a relegation battle.
Entering the weekend, the Hammers are the only team in the bottom 11 rungs of the table to have a positive expected goal (xG) difference (+2.3 xG). Their inability to earn results equal to that metric is particularly painful in away games. They’ve lost eight of their 11 away from London Stadium despite an away xGDiff of virtually zero.
But, West Ham do have the advantage of playing three crucial six-pointers at home down the stretch, beginning with Saturday’s affair. They’ll also host 20th-place Southampton in early April and 19th-place Leeds United on the penultimate weekend of the season in May.
West Ham has also won three of their four home games against the teams between themselves and Forest in the current table. In wins over Everton, Wolvew and Bournemouth, the Hammers outscored their foes 7-1 and posted a total +3.4 xGDiff.
It suggests a squad that, despite their current position, has enough raw talent to outclass some of their fellow relegation strugglers when pitted directly against each other. And there are some signs of an overall improvement since Moyes swapped to a three-back system for the previous four games.
Nottingham Forest Face Tactical Challenge
The question then is whether Forest profile similarly to those other squads the Hammers have handled somewhat comfortably at home.
Based on away form, you might say so. Steve Cooper’s squad enter the weekend as one of only four teams with only one away win, and their -9.1 xGDiff on their travels is third-worst in the Premier League.
But Forest also have one of the more skewed strengths of schedules in terms of who they’ve played home and away. They’ve already traveled to five of the EPL’s top six teams according to the table. Remove those fixtures and the remaining away record is 1-2-3 (W-L-D), and it’s 1-1-2 against bottom six foes.
Overall, Forest have just scored three times on their travels, but they’ve found the net in two of their last three matches. Their attack could be bolstered Saturday by the return of veteran Jessie Lingard from injury, even though it’s still far from a full-strength group that makes the trip south.
West Ham vs Nottingham Forest Pick
The xG models suggest value on a higher total here, but there’s a major catch.
Both of these sides are more conservative in the way they defend, which can lead to opponents building up higher xG totals without creating high-probability chances.
Need evidence? West Ham are sixth from the bottom in the league in overall tackles made. Forest rank similarly in tackles attempted in their attacking third and in their middle third.
The actual goals scored and allowed this season might be a better predictor of the future than those xG numbers at this stage. And if you accept that, you can narrow down your wagers to two plays.
My favorite is for the total to land on exactly two goals at +240 odds and an implied 29.4% probability.
There have been exactly two goals scored in nine of the Hammers’ 11 home games, a trend so consistent it makes you almost balk at such a wager for fear of regression.
But Forest have also seen four of their 11 away games finish with two goals scored, which by itself is still a higher rate than the implied probability of those odds.
To be more conservative, a goal-bands wager on 1 or 2 goals at +100 odds probably provides better value than the regular total under 2.5 goals wager at less than even money. These teams have combined for only one scoreless draw between them all season.
Pick: 2 goals – Exact Total Goals (+240 via BetMGM)
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