MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) managed another strong 2/3 haul in Ligue 1 last weekend. Here’s his latest batch of French fancies.
Bastia v Nice | Saturday 19.00 | BT Sport 1
This fixture might not leap out as a classic but the Derby de la Mediterranean meeting always delivers with goals, cards, rivalry and entertainment. Saturday night’s duel should follow suit and I think there’s strong claims to go against the grain of low-scoring Ligue 1 games.
Yes, Both Teams To Score has proven one of my favourite weekend bets when it comes to betting on Nice’s matches and I’m going back in again. It’s been chalked up at 15/13 with 888 and at odds-against, it’s just too good to ignore.
Bastia put in an unusually disappointing performance in Sunday's 4-1 defeat at Marseille. Brandao netted his first goal for the club since arriving 13 months ago but head coach Ghislain Printant was understandably upset by his team’s performance.
The Corsicans return home this weekend and tend to deliver in front of their passionate home support. Since Printant was appointed, Bastia have W9-D4-L2 at the Stade Armand Cesari, scoring at least twice in 8/15 (53%) and only failing to net on three occasions.
Their 60% win record at home would equate to a 4/6 shot and they’ll fancy their chances to see off a Nice side they did the double over last season. The visitors have also suffered losses in 29/59 (49%) of their away days under Claude Puel’s tutelage and so backing Bastia at 27/20 (Coral) makes perfect sense.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Alexander Djiku and François Kamano remain suspended, Jean-Louis Leca and Yannick Cahuzac are doubts and new signing Medhi Mostefa isn’t fit enough to start from the off. It’s a similar story for Nice, mind. Les Aiglons are still without Niklas Hult, Simon Pouplin, Mahamane Traoré and Romain Genevois with Puel yet to be able to field the same four-man backline twice in a row.
Les Rouge et Noir failed to score for the first time this season in Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Guingamp and their experimental defence has been costing the side dear. They’ve now gone 11 games without a clean sheet but the attacking trio of Hatem Ben Arfa, Valere Germain and Alassane Plea should always be counted on to conjure up something in the final third.
In fact, 13 of the visitors last 17 have featured three goals or more, including seven of nine on the road. Both Teams To Score has banked in four of Bastia’s five matches this term and they’ve scored in 11 of their last 13 at home.
None of the 46 Ligue 1 between these two sides have ended with a 0-0 draw and Nice’s record of just two shutouts in 23 trips to Bastia should aid the BTTS bet but with Les Aiglons also offering up a dour W3-D5-L15 head-to-head record away to the Islanders, I’ll throw in a Bastia win and Both Teams To Score at a chunky 9/2 (Bet365) too.
Caen v Montpellier | Saturday 19.00
Despite only boasting an average ball possession figure of 35% this season, Caen have made their best ever start to a Ligue 1 season. Patrice Garande's side are up to fifth having put three goals past Troyes last weekend, their third victory of the new campaign and enhancing a nine-game spell that reads W5-D2-L2 including the end of last season.
Standing in their way is a Montpellier side in a mess. The deadline day sale of Anthony Mounier and the injury absence of Morgan Sanson is hurting the side’s offensive output badly and La Paillade’s one-point return represents their worst tally from five fixtures at the start of a season.
As well as Sanson’s absence (In the last 12 matches he’s missed, Montpellier have scored only five times, losing eight), the visitors are unable to rely on key men Geoffrey Jourdren, Jamel Saihi and Souleymane Camara being fit for action on Saturday night. It’s hard not to be seduced by the 5/4 on Caen (BetVictor).
Joris Marveaux's injury-time goal against St Etienne for the travellers last weekend was their first all season but wasn’t enough to stop Rolland Courbis’s team to suffer their fourth loss in five. It also provoked club president Louis Nicollin to openly the players – clearly things aren’t going smoothly at the club right now.
Caen might be missing as centre-backs Damien Da Silva and Syam Ben Youssef but Nicolas Seube can play and if you needed any more encouragement, Montpellier have lost 12/16 away days at top-six sides and failed to even net in six of their last eight on the road. Home win please.
Bordeaux v Toulouse | Sunday 13.00 | BT Sport 2
Bordeaux look outstanding value to continue their excellent home record against Toulouse. William Hill have made Les Girondins a 23/20 shot with the hosts boasting a superb W17-D2-L4 record when entertaining their rivals in Derby de la Garonne battles.
Willy Sagnol’s side held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in the Europa League on Thursday and are without suspended skipper Henri Saivet but their W7-D3-L1 return from their past 11 outings on home soil should encourage supporters, as will their record of winning 11 of their past 14 games when welcoming bottom-six opposition.
Toulouse wasted a 2-0 lead at home to Reims last time out to extend their winless streak to four. Dominique Arribage’s troops have W2-D3-L5 in their last 10 Ligue 1 fixtures and have been woeful on the road – losing 11 of their most recent 12 road trips.
The visitors have managed just one away victory this calendar year and star striker Wissam Ben Yedder is unlikely to be involved with his recent tantrum seeing Toulouse drop the forward to the bench for this clash with Bordeaux.
Bastia v Nice – Both Teams To Score (15/13 888)
Bastia v Nice – Bastia to win and Both Teams To Score (9/2 Bet365)
Caen v Montpellier – Caen to win (5/4 BetVictor)
Bordeaux v Toulouse – Bordeaux to win (23/20 William Hill)