Sports Betting Weekly

Nottingham Forest v Middlesbrough

When: Saturday, 07 March 2015 @ 21:00 (FINISHED)
Where: The City Ground
Having lost their six match unbeaten run in midweek, Nottingham Forest will look to get back on track and resuscitate their extremely slim play-off hopes by taking on the new table-toppers, Middlesbrough, at The City Ground on Saturday.

The 2-1 defeat to Charlton was Forest’s first under new manager, Dougie Freedman, who had previously overseen his side claim 16 points from a possible 18 while scoring an impressive 19 goals in the process – and Michail Antonio’s superb strike on Tuesday means that the Reds have also scored in every game that Freedman has managed so far.

Boro on the other hand have fallen into the same trap that seems to happen every year in the Championship, where the teams at the top decide they don’t actually want to achieve promotion after all and lose a few games. This is shown by their recent form, as despite winning three times, they have also lost twice with a far-from-ideal draw with Birmingham thrown in as well.

Their task at The City Ground won’t be an easy one, with Forest winning all three of their home games since Freedman arrived, racking up an impressive nine goals and also taking down promotion hopefuls Bournemouth despite going a goal behind.

A home win, however, doesn’t represent great value at 2/1, while a Boro victory is even shorter odds at 6/4, with the draw currently available at 12/5. The bookies have also clocked onto the goalscoring pedigree of both teams – with over 2.5 goals available at 21/20 – and the handicap market offers decent value given both sides’ recent form. Forest to win from a -1 disadvantage is available at 13/2, while Boro with the same deficit can be had at 17/4.

One man certain to be in the spotlight is Boro striker Patrick Bamford, who is on loan from Chelsea. Bamford is a Forest fan and came through the academy there before being sold to the Blues in 2012 when the club hit financial trouble. The talented forward is Boro’s top scorer this season with 13 in all competitions, including goals against Liverpool and Manchester City in the cup competitions. Bamford is available at 13/2 to open the scoring or 12/5 to score anytime against his former club.

Kike has also chipped in with his fair share of goals for Aitor Karanka’s men this season following his £2.7 million move from Spanish side Murcia in the summer, with eight league strikes to his name and 10 in all competitions. The Spaniard is priced at decent-looking odds in the goalscoring markets, being listed at 6/1 to break the deadlock and 2/1 to score at any time.

Forest’s top scorer this season, Britt Assombalonga, won’t be playing due to a serious injury which will leave him on the sidelines until next April. The man Forest look to now for goals is Antonio – who has been a revelation since signing from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer – with 12 goals in all competitions and nine assists. The pacy and powerful winger offers tempting odds in the market, with Antonio to score first listed at 11/1 and 22/5 available on Forest’s dangerman scoring anytime.

Another attacking threat for Forest comes in the form of Henri Lansbury, who has seen his season take off under Freedman’s guidance. Since the Scotsman came into the club, Lansbury has scored five goals in his last seven and has been a star performer all round. The ex-Arsenal midfielder is available at 4/1 to score anytime or 11/1 to open the scoring.