After a disappointing opening-day defeat at Burnley, Bolton Wanderers bounced back with a convincing 2-0 home win over Derby County and have a good chance to continue their promotion charge on Friday evening with a home win against the Rams’ rivals, Nottingham Forest.
Yet Forest proved a better side away last season (picking up 27 of their 50 points on the road) and have invested heavily this summer, so they are likely to put up tougher resistance than Nigel Clough’s men offered in midweek.
Bolton’s recent Premier League credentials make them the marginal favourites at 19/20 in bwin’s 3Way betting market but the draw at 23/10 and even a Forest win at 14/5 look to offer value.
The quality of the two squads suggests a tight, competitive game – Bolton have four players with England caps along with six other regular internationals, while Forest boast an attacking quartet of Simon Cox, Andy Reid, Ishmael Miller and Matt Derbyshire, who have over 50 Premier League goals between them.
It would be no surprise if there is very little between the sides at the Reebok Stadium and as such, it’s worth backing the draw at half-time or full-time at 13/20 and lead-draw at 13/4 in the run of play market.
The first goal will certainly be key and that’s an area Forest struggled in last year, falling behind in over two-thirds of their league games – they are 67/100 to concede first again here.
But with Bolton’s paucity in front of goal last season (they averaged just 1.2 goals per game) coupled with their loss of top scorer Ivan Klasnic, it’s worth suggesting that the breakthrough may not come in 45 minutes and no first-half goals at 19/10 also warrants a look.
With both sides also still adjusting to summer switches – Forest have changed 12 first-teamers in this window and Owen Coyle has shipped out no fewer than 14 players from Bolton – they may lack the cohesion to put on a high-scoring game and so a game featuring under 3.5 goals at 7/25 sounds about right.
But seeing as Bolton still boast a host of Premier League calibre players like Kevin Davies, Lee Chung-Yong and Martin Petrov, they could have the extra quality to edge to victory, making a Bolton win in a game of under 2.5 goals look a smart play at 333/100.
New customers using the £20 free bet available when registering with bwin would win £86.60 if Bolton do secure a low-scoring triumph of this nature.
If you’re not fully convinced by the Trotters, the prices on offer for Forest are certainly tempting – but I’ll be sticking with Coyle’s men to get the job done.
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