Nottm Forest v West Ham
Live on ITV1
Forest go into Sunday's live FA Cup tie in rather confident mood having not lost a league game for almost six weeks, during which time they've defeated Championship title favourites QPR, and play-off chasing Leeds United at the City Ground.
Billy Davies' men sit fifth in the table having lost just four of their 24 Championship games this season. They are particularly strong at home, conceding on average less than a goal per game in front of their own fans.
While Davies could make a number of changes to personnel he has no fresh injury worries, though midfielder David Vaughan will have to prove his fitness before being considered. Striker Darius Henderson is available after completing a suspension.
The Hammers are sinking like a stone in the Premier League and now occupy 19th position in the table after taking just two points from the last 21 available to them. All the fears I had about them pre-season - when I recommended backing them at 17.016/1 to be relegated - are coming true, and the only surprise to me at this stage is that Sam Allardyce doesn't appear to be under immense pressure to keep his job.
I'm not sure Big Sam will be judged on this game either given the number of injuries and suspensions he has beforehand. In fact the Hammers boss has already stated that he will be including a number of youth players in his squad for the trip to the City Ground.
Definitely out include midfield duo Kevin Nolan (suspended) and Mark Noble, defenders James Tomkins, James Collins and Winston Reid, and West Ham's forever injured striker Andy Carroll.
It's not very often that you'll see a lower league side clear favourites to win a game against Premier League opposition but that's exactly what we have here. Forest are 2.1211/10 to win the tie with The Draw available to back at 3.613/5 and West Ham the outsiders at 3.9.
The reality is however that just five clubs separate the Hammers and Forest in the league ladder, and with the Championship side holding home advantage as well as easily being the more in-form of the two clubs, then you can understand why the Match Odds are the way they are.
You sense that for West Ham this game is a huge hindrance. Their ultimate priority is to remain a Premier League club and to do that they need as many of their first team to remain injury and suspension free as possible. With so many big names already absent I can't see any way in which Allardyce will name the strongest side available to him and that must surely open the door for a home win.
Forest are unbeaten in seven games in the Championship and will be full of confidence going in to this tie having just defeated QPR and Leeds on home soil, two clubs who at full strength are arguably a lot better than the West Ham side we'll see on Sunday.
The fear is that Forest go into this game too confident, believing they'll face a side full of kids and thinking that they just have to turn up to win the game. This will be a tough match, and as long as Davies makes sure the Forest boys know this then I'd expect them to get the victory.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
At first I saw this market as literally a coin toss, but the more I thought about it the more I leaned towards Over 2.5 Goals at 2.1411/10 (Under 2.5 Goals is trading at 1.824/5).
Forest aren't recognised as one of the division's high-scoring sides and the fact that they've kept four clean sheets in their last six games will have many people expecting another shut-out against a below-strength West Ham side.
But there are two factors on our side here. First, West Ham have gone from being a very well-organised defensive side to one that is conceding goals for fun (11 against in their last four games). Much of that is down to the disruption in their defensive line-up which will be evident again with three key defenders missing on Sunday. Forest will be capable of scoring a few here.
And secondly, there's the surprise element. No one knows how West Ham will line-up and therefore the Forest management won't have been able to prepare accordingly for it. Youth and lesser known players - if that's how Allardyce goes - can be very dangerous, and although I wouldn't expect them to score too many times I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Hammers got on the scoresheet at the City Ground.
Correct Score & Cash Out Opportunity
I'm happy to play the home win and Over 2.5 Goals options in this game, both strong fancies and both at odds against, but if this game goes how I expect then there's no harm in throwing some small stakes at a few options in this market.
Liquidity is quite low at the time of writing but the 3-1 and 3-2 Correct Scores should be available to back at in excess of 22.021/1 and 34.033/1 respectively closer to kick-off, while the Any Unquoted option - any side to score at least four - looks like trading at around the 12.011/1 mark. An early goal or two will see all those odds reduce dramatically.
Back Nottm Forest to Win @ 2.1211/10
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.1411/10
Cash Out Opportunity
Back 3-1 @ 22.021/1, 3-2 @ 34.033/1, and Any Unquoted @ 12.011/1 Correct Scores with a view to Cashing Out to net a profit