EPL picks: Nottingham Forest-Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur-Crystal Palace predictions

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We’re officially at the top of the stretch for the 2023-24 Premier League season and essentially every race is still up for grabs.

There are three contenders to win the title, a handful of clubs still in the mix to grab a spot in the top 4 and the relegation battle has plenty of twists and turns to go.

Two teams looking to avoid the drop feature in this week’s underdog column:

Premier League picks Saturday

Nottingham Forest vs. Liverpool prediction

(10 a.m. ET, Peacock)

At first glance, this looks like one-way traffic.

Liverpool is sitting at the top of the table and has one of the best statistical profiles in Europe, while Nottingham Forest is in the thick of the relegation battle and has just four wins in their last 20 matches in the Premier League.

Liverpool’s +38 goal difference is in another universe compared to Forest’s -14 mark and the Reds’ +26 expected goals differential (xGD) is the third-best mark in the Premier League.

The Tricky Trees, on the other hand, rank 13th with a -6 xGD.

This looks like a mismatch. That is, until you get to the injury report and see that Liverpool will be without almost their entire first team for this trip to the City Ground.

Mo Salah, Darwin Nunez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota, Ryan Gravenberch, Curtis Jones, Wataru Endo and Dominik Szoboszlai are all set to miss the match, leaving the midfield completely ravaged and the attacking ranks depleted.

Nuno Espírito Santo the head coach / manager of Nottingham Forest during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United. Getty Images

First-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker is also sidelined, which isn’t to be overlooked, either. 

And while Liverpool has the depth to patch together a decent squad, this won’t be an easy trip.

Nottingham Forest have improved under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo and the numbers suggest some better results are to come for the Tricky Trees. 

Forest is just 1-1-4 (W-D-L) with a -3 goal difference in its past six matches, but its expected goal difference is essentially even during that span despite playing a pretty tough schedule.

Things won’t get much easier for Forest on Saturday, but Liverpool’s injury concerns — coupled with the fact that they played a match on Wednesday — make this a decent opportunity to have a flutter on the underdog at a big price. 

PICK: Nottingham Forest ML (+500, Bet365)

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Crystal Palace prediction

(10 a.m. ET, Peacock)

The odds may not show it, but this looks like a tricky match for Tottenham Hotspur. 

Palace has spent a good chunk of the season hovering right above the relegation zone, but things seem to be heading in the right direction for the Eagles.

Not only has Palace collected four points in its past two matches, but new manager Oliver Glasner seems to be committed to the idea of unlocking the Eagles’ offensive potential. 

We saw some of that attacking firepower on display last weekend in a 3-0 win over Burnley and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Eagles continue that positive momentum against a leaky Tottenham Hotspur side.

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Spurs have plenty of offensive firepower themselves, but they have a propensity for making mistakes and leaving themselves open in the back.

Tottenham can often outscore those issues against weaker sides, but doing that against a sound defensive side like Crystal Palace is easier said than done.

There seems to be plenty of positive momentum brewing at Crystal Palace and they should provide value on Saturday morning in North London.

PICK: Crystal Palace ML (+575, BetRivers)

Michael Leboff analyzes English Premier League soccer for Action Network. 

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