MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) makes his way to Ligue 1 for Sunday night’s showdown between Rennes and Nice for his latest European NAP.
Rennes v Nice | Sunday 20.00 | BT Sport 1
Before the international break I suggested yet another Both Teams To Score bet when Nice hosted Nantes and with the score tied at 2-2 at half-time, torrential rain saw the match abandoned and are stake returned. Regular readers of the Ligue 1 column will know, the Nice BTTS bet has proven a treasure trove in France this term and I’ve no intention to leave it alone on Sunday night.
I’m almost prepared to back it blindly with William Hill’s 10/11 just looking far too big to ignore and I’ll recall the stats from a fortnight ago alongside the latest team news and trends below to back-up another punt on Both Teams To Score.
Nice have scored 20 goals in their first eight fixtures – their best return since 1975 – and a huge 17 of those have come from open play. Claude Puel’s troops have won three on the spin, scoring at least three goals in each. The hosts boast the most prolific attack in the league (despite playing a game fewer following that abandonment) and have Hatem Ben Arfa in the form of his life – not since 2008/09 has he netted six goals or more at this stage.
Nampalys Mendy and Maxime Le Marchand were red carded in their last success and both will be suspended at Rennes. Without Mendy, their defensive shield, you do wonder if the Eagles have a chance to end a barren run of 14 top tier games without a clean sheet. Mendy’s only missed five matches since the start of 2013/14 and Nice have conceded 12 goals – double their rate with him in the team.
The Eagles have had defensive selection issues all season long and this weekend Puel will be forced to field third-choice goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale between the sticks. striker Alassane Pléa remains sidelined but with Ben Arfa and Valère Germain still available to lead the offence, the visitors should continue to reward goal-hungry punters.
Rennes have proven just as fruitful. Les Rouges et Noirs have notched in all their Ligue 1 outings, a record only PSG can match, with Both Teams To Score proving profitable in all bar two of those nine encounters. Highly-rated Paul-Georges Ntep won’t feature but Giovanni Sio and Yacouba Sylla return from suspension to bolster Philippe Montanier’s men.
The hosts have W10-D5-L0 in their last 16 when welcoming Nice to Brittany and Rennes also approach this match with a W4-D4-L0 return from their first eight. Their past four have ended in 1-1 draws, mind. A repeat at Roazhon Park in front of the live cameras on Sunday night is a big runner.
With Rennes’ boasting their own excellent BTTS record, Nice have followed suit in 7/8 themselves this term, in 13/23 (57%) on the road since the start of last season as well as seeing Over 2.5 Goals collect in nine of their last 11 plus 16 of their previous 20 going further back. At almost even-money, it’s another steal.
Rennes v Nice – Both Teams To Score (10/11 William Hill)
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