WEST BROM supporter Daniel McCulloch (@DMcCulloch1984) eyes up the odds ahead of Saturday evening's televised Championship tussle between Nottingham Forest and West Brom at the City Ground.
Nottingham Forest v West Brom | Saturday 3rd August 2019, 17:30 | Sky Sports
East meets West Midlands on Saturday night as two sides with relatively moderate Championship expectations (compared to last season) meet at the City Ground.
Both Nottingham Forest and West Brom changed their managers during the summer and given that the pair still expect to do plenty of business in the transfer market, I wouldn't anticipate either side – but particularly Albion – making a fast start to the season.
At present, Forest look the more balanced side to me. They were fairly solid defensively last term and at present have managed to keep hold of the talented Joe Lolley, who is well supplemented by the talented Joao Carvalho and Lewis Grabban, who is an excellent goalscorer at this level.
It may take time for them to gel under new coach Sabri Lamouchi but if they keep hold of Lolley and get the best out of Carvalho, a play-off place is certainly possible.
For years, West Brom fans have bemoaned mobility and creativity in central midfield. Croatian loanee Filip Krovinovic and the much-coveted Romaine Sawyers should go a long way to solving those problems but the Baggies look seriously short of goals, having lost 45-goal strike pair Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez.
More signings are expected but the Baggies' striking options this weekend consist of Kenneth Zahore – who has only managed to hit double figures in a season once in hit nine-year career – and Oliver Burke, who boosts 12 league goals in 95 starts. Most of those were as sub but he was hardly prolific on-loan at Celtic and many Albion fans doubt whether he will fit in Slaven Bilic's long-term plans.
I do genuinely believe that West Brom can be title contenders if they can sign a top quality striker but that is not going to happen by 5:30pm on Saturday. With the lack of goals a clear concern for the club, Under 2.5 Goals looks like excellent value to me at 19/20 with Marathon
This bet would have landed in 25 of Forest's 46 league games last season and while West Brom matches averaged 3.30 goals aper-game, they had far more attacking quality last season but were also a lot poorer defensively than I envisage this term.
A draw would be a great result for Albion and I don't believe it would be too devastating for Forest either. 1-1 was the scoreline here in the second game of last season and I believe that a 1-0 home victory are the most likely scorelines.
Nottingham Forest v West Brom – Under 2.5 Goals (19/20 Marathon