MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) has surveyed the Ligue 1 scene to bring us the best three bets from the weekend coupon.
Bordeaux v Metz | Saturday 19.00
Bordeaux’s chances of a top-four finish were dealt a blow at Lille last weekend. Despite dominating proceedings for large chunks of that game, Willy Sagnol’s men failed to find the accuracy to grab a goal, leaving Les Girondins three points adrift of fourth and five from a Champions League qualifying position in third.
But back in their Stade Chaban-Delmas home, FCGB will be confident of returning to winning ways when basement battlers Metz arrive. Bordeaux have returned impressive W10-D4-L2 figures from their 16 Ligue 1 clashes as hosts with Marseille, PSG and St Etienne all leaving empty-handed in previous encounters.
Lowly Metz have rallied to keep their top-flight status intact recently but Albert Cartier’s charges look to be making their Great Escape attempt a little too late. Home victories against fellow scrappers Toulouse and Lens have brought the visitors to within seven points of survival but time and games are running out.
Les Grenats have taken 22 of their 29-point haul at home and have only managed to plunder three goals in their 16 away fixtures (W1-D4-L11). In three of their four trips to top-seven opposition, Cartier’s men have been beaten by a margin of two goals or more and Bordeaux look primed to repeat the trick.
BetVictor have made Bordeaux -1 a 9/8 chance in the Asian Handicap market and that holds plenty of appeal. Should the hosts win by a one-goal margin, we’ll get our stake back. But should Les Girondins come out on top by two goals or more, we’ll have ourselves a winner.
St Etienne v Montpellier | Sunday 13.00
St Etienne were rather fortunate to leave bitter rivals Lyon with a share of the spoils in last weekend’s derby, despite facing 10 men for over an hour. It was a laborious performance from Les Verts but they remain deep in the European challenge, sitting just two points off a Champions League qualifying position in third.
Christophe Galtier’s side will be without skipper Loic Perrin this weekend as they look to continue an excellent unbeaten record against Montpellier at their Stade Geoffroy-Guichard base which stretches all the way back to the 1995/96 season. Sainté arrive undefeated in eight (W4-D4-L0) and with only two home losses in their past 28 in Ligue 1 (W18-D8-L2) but I’m not prepared to back them at 4/5.
Montpellier have joined the pack of European contenders and their 1-0 success over Caen has kept Rolland Courbis’ side well in the hunt. But a rotten road record threatens to derail their challenge; it’s now just three wins in 15 on their travels (W3-D6-L6) with losses in 10 of their previous 14 at top-six rivals.
However, I’ve seen enough encouragement in La Paillade’s away displays at Monaco, PSG and Rennes to believe they could have the tools to leave the Geoffroy-Guichard with something. So instead, I’m looking towards a market that has proved incredibly successful for punters who prefer to oppose goals.
St Etienne have kept three consecutive clean sheets in front of their own fans now, as well as nine from their 16 games since the start of the season. So it’s perhaps far from surprising to see the hosts have only recorded 5/16 (31%) of Both Teams To Score winners this term when entertaining France’s top tier.
It’s a similar story for Montpellier on the road. The visitors have failed to notch in five of their previous seven away days and in nine of their 16 road fixtures all season. But with seven clean sheets also to their name across those games, La Paillade have seen BTTS bank in just 4/16 (25%) when visiting Ligue 1 opposition.
By my calculations, we should be expecting just a 28% chance of both teams scoring on Sunday and so I’ll happily take ‘No’ in the Both Teams To Score market at what looks a huge value price of 4/5 with BetVictor. Going on the stats alone, this bet should be closer to a 2/5 play.
Lens v Monaco | Sunday 16.00
On Sunday afternoon Monaco will look to keep their Champions League qualification dreams alive as they travel to relegation-haunted Lens. Les Rouges et Blancs have been on a stunning run since December in league action (W11-D6-L1) to propel themselves into the top-three in France following a slow start under Leonardo Jardim.
Sure, the visitors will be disappointed with their exit from Europe’s premier club competition in midweek but they can take heart from a sterling display across the two legs against Juventus. The principality club easily boast the best away record in the league (W10-D2-L4) and that includes a brilliant return of seven wins from their last eight road trips. With seven clean sheets already recorded on their travels, Monaco are a tough nut to crack.
Lens sit rock bottom of the table and last weekend’s damaging 3-1 loss at Metz has all but ended Antoine Kombouaré’s team’s stay in the top-flight after a troubled season with off-field wrangling and poor performances to blame. Les Sang et Or have W1-D4-L9 of their 14 league games in 2015, failing to even score in seven of those fixtures.
Indeed, the hosts have already leaked 28 goals in Ligue 1 this calendar year (unsurprisingly the worst record) and could have relegation confirmed as early as this weekend. Monaco’s five other top-six rivals have already returned from Stade de la Licorne with three points and it would be a surprise should Jardim’s team not follow.
BetVictor have made Monaco -0.75 at 19/20 shot and that looks the best value bet to take on Sunday. With this selection, we’ll receive a full pay-out should the visitors win by two goals or more (something they’ve achieved in their last three away days) but also pocket half of that potential full pay-out should Monaco only manage a victory by a solitary goal.
Lens have failed to even score in five of their last seven on home soil and lost by two goals or more in three of their five defeats when hosting top-six sides. Jardim’s travellers have proven victorious by a two-goal margin or better in five of their previous 10 visits to bottom-six teams.
Bordeaux v Metz – Bordeaux -1 Asian Handicap (8/7 BetVictor)
St Etienne v Montpellier – Both Teams To Score ‘No’ (4/5 BetVictor)
Lens v Monaco – Monaco -0.75 Asian Handicap (19/20 BetVictor)
What’s the best bet from France this weekend? Do you have a Ligue 1 fancy you’d like to share?
We’d love to hear your views so let us know in the comments box below.