Forest can start Championship term by beating new-look Brighton
Recent battles between Brighton and Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest have largely ended in favour of the visiting team, so Coral make Dougie Freedman’s East Midlands outfit a fantastic 5/2 price to come away from the Amex Stadium with all three points.
The Championship curtain comes up on the south coast where Seagulls coach Chris Hughton has tried to address a chronic lack of goals last term by signing two senior strikers (Israel international Tomer Hemed and ex-England target man Bobby Zamora) and a couple more young attacking talents, including former Real Madrid prodigy Jack Harper.
A pair of full backs, plus another goalie to breathe down David Stockdale’s neck, equates to considerable turnover to a club of Brighton’s stature, and a relatively high number of new faces means they look a little short at 6/5 for a home win. A draw is priced as an 11/5 chance.
Much depends on how Hemed and Zamora gel up front. Although the former has international pedigree, there is no guarantee he will take English football as other La Liga cult hero Vicente Rodriguez did. Hemed is a 21/10 chance to deliver on his Seagulls debut with a goal anytime.
Zamora is by far better value, though, as we offer an enhanced matchday special of 11/4 for him to cap his second Brighton bow by scoring against Forest. He managed to have the final say when last facing the Reds in QPR colours, so should be considered to net last too at 6/1.
While it’s been all-change at the Amex, Freedman has had to operate within the constrains of that transfer embargo the Football League is still imposing on Forest, which prohibits the paying of fees for players.
Punters should not let such strictures fool them into thinking this makes the Tricky Trees an easy target. What free transfers and loans Forest have made all add something to their squad.
Leicester City loanee Ben Hamer will challenge Dutch stopper Dorus De Vries to be first-choice in nets, while Matt Mills is excellent cover at centre back in case of injury.
Northern Ireland winger Jamie Ward needs to have a decent debut, however, as he left on a free from Forest’s bitter rivals Derby County. He has never netted against Brighton, but can only change such a stat, and is 3/1 to do so anytime.
Forest happily have a player who loves scoring against the Seagulls, though, in playmaker Henri Lansbury. With four goals against them, he is a superb 7/2 anytime chance to hurt Albion on their own turf again.
Michail Antonio starred for the Reds last term, and can put himself in the shop window for a Premier League move, provided the price is right. Odds of 15/2 say the 14-goal winger will strike first.
Goals aplenty have flown in during this fixture recently too. Four of the last five have contained a minimum of three, so the match total being over 3.5 is a sweet 17/5 chance.
Coral’s top tip: Back a Forest win with both teams to score and get a terrific 13/2 price.