THE French League Cup final takes centre-stage on Saturday but Mark O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) found two bets from Sunday’s league action worth pursuing.
St Etienne v Nantes | Sunday 13.00
St Etienne take on Nantes with Les Verts still pushing for a potential Champions League qualification place. Christophe Galtier’s team suffered a semi-final French Cup exit to PSG on Wednesday night, meaning all eyes and all attention can now be focussed on their Ligue 1 challenge.
Les Verts produced a polished display to take a deserved 1-1 draw from Monaco last Friday night, reducing the Principality club to just one shot-on-target. And returning to their Stade Geoffroy-Guichard base, Sainte should be good enough to overpower a Nantes side drifting towards the end of season.
As hosts, Galtier’s charges have recorded 20/34 (59%) wins since the start of last season and have now W17-D8-L2 from their most recent 27 when entertaining in league matches. And so Sainte look decent value at 15/16 (BetVictor) off a -0.751 start on the Asian Handicap line.
With this selection, we’ll pocket a full pay-out should St Etienne win by two clear goals but also bag half of that potential pay-out should they only manage a victory by a solitary goal. Of those 20 aforementioned three-pointers, Les Verts have won by two goals or more on 13 occasions and can also call upon the return of Max Gradel and Landry N'Guémo this weekend.
St Etienne’s home record when taking on teams in seventh below reads W7-D2-L1 and so a visit from Les Canaris should be right up their street. Nantes have D2-L5 in seven games against the current top-five in Ligue 1 and suffered defeats in 9/10 trips to top-six sides.
Michel Der Zakarian's visitors have lost six of their last nine away days, failed to even score in five of their previous six on their travels and are winless on the road in 2015. I fully expect to see the home side collect maximum points and taking the -0.75 selection means we’ll make money should they do so.
Bordeaux v Marseille | Sunday 20.00
Bordeaux’s meeting with Marseille is perhaps the highlight of the French top tier fixtures this weekend. Although Marcelo Bielsa’s visitors blew their title hopes with a 3-2 defeat at home to bitter rivals PSG in Le Classique last weekend, Les Phocéens have remained profitable in the goals markets.
The 2010 champions have netted in all bar three of their 15 Ligue 1 road trips this season but only managed to keep three clean sheets across the same games. Unsurprisingly, that’s led to 9/15 (60%) of Both Teams To Score winners in Marseille’s away matches and another high-scoring affair should be on the cards as they travel to the Stade Chaban-Delmas.
Hosts Bordeaux were without four key players for last weekend’s last-gasp victory over struggling Lens and some of the defending on show left a lot to be desired. And like L’OM, Les Girondins have been a dream for goals punters this term, scoring in all bar one of their home games and keeping just two clean sheets in front of their home supporters.
Yep, only Lyon have stopped the home side scoring on their own patch and Sagnol’s side racked up seven goals in games against PSG and Monaco this term. With Marseille failing to shut out any top-half team when playing away, we’re right to expect the FCGB to trouble the scoresheet.
The obvious bet is to take the BTTS option. We’ve already mentioned the high figure of successful Both Teams To Score winners in Marseille’s road games but it’s been bettered by Bordeaux, when hosting Ligue 1 fixtures.
Les Girondins have seen a whopping 12/15 (80%) of their Stade Chaban-Delmas games prove profitable in this market and if we tie in the 60% BTTS win ratio for L’OM, we’re right to think there’s a 70% chance of the bet landing again on Sunday night.
If we turn that 70% expectancy into odds, it would hand us a 4/9 shot. Well Ladbrokes have made Both Teams To Score an 8/11 play and that’s why BTTS is also my European NAP this weekend.