Nottingham Forest and Newcastle have battles on their hands at opposite ends of the table over the final two months of the Premier League season, and the points will be priceless for both teams as they square off on Friday.
Forest head into this matchup in 14th place, but just two points above the drop zone. They’re still very much in a relegation scrap — and things became more perilous after Steve Cooper’s men were totally outplayed in a 3-1 loss to Tottenham last weekend.
Newcastle’s bid for Champions League qualification has taken a few hits in recent weeks after four games without a win, but a 2-1 victory over Wolves last time out keeps the Magpies in striking range for the Top 4 spot they crave.
Read more in our free Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle picks and predictions for a deep dive on this Friday, March 17 showdown.
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle best odds
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle picks and predictions
After crashing the party and getting into the Champions League mix, it would be a tough blow for Newcastle if they ultimately fall short of the Top 4. But they still have full control of their destiny with 13 games to go, and I like the visitors’ talent edge here against a Forest team that’s been dragged back into the relegation fight.
Despite the Magpies’ wobbles in February, their away form has been solid this season. They’ve taken 18 points from 12 games on their travels, and they’ve got enough menace in the final third to trouble Forest, who were tormented by Tottenham’s front three last weekend and haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their past five outings.
Yes, Nottingham Forest are unbeaten in their last nine contests at the City Ground, but it’s tough to ignore the defensive woes — and the likely absence of key man Brennan Johnson (seven league goals) would take away the hosts’ biggest threat at the other end of the pitch.
Newcastle’s much-needed three points last weekend — their first league win since Jan. 15 — have steadied the ship, and I expect the visitors to build on that here. They can’t afford a slip-up with Tottenham, Liverpool and Brighton all in the mix for the fourth and final Champions League spot.
I’m taking the Newcastle moneyline on Friday and pumping up the odds by tacking on the Over 1.5 total goals. Going any higher on the total goals number feels risky, with neither team in free-scoring form, but the Magpies have a golden opportunity to flex their muscles here.
My best bet: Newcastle ML + Over 1.5 (+115 at bet365)
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Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle side analysis
Newcastle arrive at the City Ground as clear favorites with the oddsmakers despite some shaky moments over the past month. I’ve already made the case for the visitors above, and Eddie Howe has an array of attacking options at his disposal here, even with Joelinton suspended and Anthony Gordon out injured.
Miguel Almiron came off the bench to rescue the Magpies against Wolves and could start on Friday alongside Allan Saint-Maximin and Alexander Isak. Howe could also consider a shift in formation to get Callum Wilson into the lineup to partner Isak.
As for Forest, they’ve been in a rut too. After clawing their way up the table in January, Cooper’s men haven’t won since Feb. 5, losing three and drawing two since then. With a string of injuries in attack, the hosts face an uphill battle breaking down a Newcastle defense that’s tied with Arsenal for the fewest Premier League goals conceded on their travels (nine).
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle Over/Under analysis
While Forest’s last three games have each served up four or more goals, I’m pumping the brakes on the idea that this will be an end-to-end thriller. The hosts have injury question marks in attack, with Johnson and Chris Wood picking up knocks against Tottenham, and more will be asked of Morgan Gibbs-White and Emmanuel Dennis.
Meanwhile, the goals have dried up for Newcastle. Before scoring twice against Wolves last time out, the Magpies hadn’t scored more than once in any of their prior five games. That’s a head-scratching stat given the talent available — and Howe is seemingly still searching for his first-choice combination for the front three.
A loss on Friday would be a damaging blow for either team, and I see this contest being cagey as a result. There’s enough midfield playmaking in both squads to create chances, though the odds for the Under on 2.5 total goals are worth a look.
Bruno Guimaraes’ vision could be the X-factor for Newcastle, and his battle with former Magpie Jonjo Shelvey will go a long way to determining the flow of the game.
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle game info
|Location:||City Ground, Nottinghamshire, England|
|Date:||Friday, March 17, 2023|
|Time:||4:00 p.m. ET|
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle key injuries
Nottingham Forest: Brennan Johnson ST (Questionable), Chris Wood ST (Questionable), Wayne Hennessey GK (Out), Taiwo Awoniyi ST (Out), Dean Henderson GK (Out)
Newcastle: Anthony Gordon AMC (Out), Emil Krafth RB (Out)
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle recent form
|Teams||Last five matches|
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle weather
Expect a slick playing surface at the City Ground with on-and-off showers in the forecast throughout the day, including around kickoff, and temperatures in the low 50s.