THE final fixture of Matchday 16 in Ligue 1 features Rennes and Marseille. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his betting thoughts.
Rennes v Marseille | Thursday 20.00 | BT Sport Europe
Rennes made a rip-roaring start to the new Ligue 1 season (W4-D0-L1) and found themselves in the dizzy heights of second after Week 5. But Philippe Montanier’s troops have become paralysed by draws (W1-D7-L2) and are slowly sliding down the Ligue 1 table towards the bottom-half.
Les Rouge et Noir were hit by the news that star winger Paul-Georges Ntep will be out of action until after Christmas following an injury setback during his recovery and the hosts will also be without suspended striker Giovanni Sio and central midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré for Thursday night’s televised encounter.
Still, 18-year-old Chelsea loanee Jeremie Boga scored on his first Ligue 1 start in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Reimes – Rennes’ second successive 2-2 draw – and is once again expected to lead the attack alongside lively Polish wideman Kamil Grosicki and Ousmane Dembele.
The Brittany boys have picked up 13 of their 22 points (59%) away from their Roazhon Park home with both home encounters against top-half teams ending in defeat (PSG and Nice). But Rennes do tend to be competitive in front of their home fans, recording W10-D8-L8 in league fixtures since the start of last season.
With neither Ntep nor Sio available, I’m happy to swerve the Match Odds markets or even the handicap lines, even though Marseille are improving under Michel and have won three away league games on the bounce. Instead, I prefer a play on goals with Both Teams To Score surprisingly odds-against at 13/12 (888).
Les Rouge et Noir may have struggled to turn draws into wins but they do know where the net is, scoring in all bar seven of their last 26 at Roazhon Park. However, Montanier’s men have struggled to keep the goals out and that’s led to plenty of BTTS winners this term – 11/15 (73%).
Marseille arrive just three points behind their hosts following Sunday’s thrilling 3-3 derby draw at home to Monaco. Michel is likely to rotate his team with centre-back Karim Rekik unlikely to keep his place following a woeful weekend display.
Going forward, the Spaniard is expected to field L’OM’s fit and firing attacking quartet. Michy Batshuayi and Georges-Kévin Nkoudou have both scored in the same game in each of the past three outings whilst Romain Alessandrini returned to action with a goal, alongside Remy Cabella.
Les Phoccens are unbeaten in Rennes since 2008 but remain one of France’s most unpredictable sides and just aren’t worth trying to second guess. So keeping our focus on goals, Marseille have scored in 19/26 (73%) of Ligue 1 road trips since the start of last season, keeping just seven shutouts in the process.
This season, Marseille have recorded 8/15 (53%) of successful BTTS bets with all eight of those arriving in the most recent 11.
I’m also going to have a tickle on the 1-1 correct score at 6/1 (888). With the BTTS prospects strong, add into the mix that 11/15 (73%) Rennes home games have featured fewer than three goals, as well as 8/11 (73%) Marseille road trips and combining the two makes total sense, to me.
For what it’s worth, five of Rennes’ seven draws this season have finished 1-1 – that’s 33% of their 15 Ligue 1 matches. And Marseille have seen the same scoreline bank in 20% of their domestic outings, with three of their four stalemates ending with one goal apiece.
Rennes v Marseille – Both Teams To Score (13/12 888)
Rennes v Marseille – 1-1 correct score (6/1 888)
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