IT’S a bumper weekend of betting in Ligue 1 for Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) with four value French fancies to be had.
Lorient v Bordeaux | Saturday 19.00
Lorient v Bordeaux May 2, 18:00 Lorient moved out of the relegation zone last weekend with a stunning 5-3 win at Marseille on Friday night. Jordan Ayew reminded OM fans just what they’re missing with a sublime display for Les Merlus who’ll be looking to build on that excellent performance when they return to their Stade du Moustoir home on Saturday.
The hosts have suffered back-to-back defeats on their artificial surface but boss Sylvain Ripoll should employ a similar gung-ho approach to their weekend fixture with Bordeaux. Lorient remain deep in the relegation mire and just one point above the dreaded drop zone.
This fixture tends to produce goals and bags of them. The last three Ligue 1 clashes have produced 16 and although Les Merlus hold just a W3-D6-L12 record against their visitors, they’ll be encouraged by Bordeaux’s lack of defensive stability that has seen them keep just eight clean sheets all season.
Les Girondins were disappointing against Metz last time out and missed out on a chance to consolidate their European position. And so with that in mind, Willy Sagnol’s troops will need to play on the front foot if they’re to improve their recent run of W2-D1-L2 and W3-D5-L7 on the road.
Bordeaux have scored in their last nine against Lorient, in eight of their previous 10 trips to the Stade du Moustoir and in 27 of their Ligue 1 matches already this season. So it makes sense to follow the goals path and have a swipe at Both Teams To Score with William Hill dangling a generous 10/11 in our direction.
Nice v Caen | Saturday 19.00
Staying on the BTTS theme, Nice’s meeting with Caen looks like following suit with Sportingbet’s 17/20 standing out as another decent Saturday selection.
Neither side are particularly safe from relegation just yet but Claude Puel’s hosts will be hoping three points against their struggling visitors will seal their place in the top-flight for another season.
And despite bland figures of W2-D5-L6 in their previous 13 on the Riviera, Les Aiglons have still managed to score in 12/17 of home matches this term. Caen are hoping to avoid an immediate drop back to Ligue 2 and after a spectacular start to 2015, have lost their way and are in danger of plummeting back into the bottom three. Last week’s loss was their fifth in seven and the fourth game in five they’ve failed to score, which isn’t ideal when you’ve kept just six shutouts all season.
But with Nice keeping just five clean sheets at their Allianz Riviera base, scoring in their past eight and Caen netting in all bar five of their 17 away days, the BTTS bet looks on. It’s a punt that’s won in 10/17 (59%) of both sides’ home/away fixtures so looks to have an excellent chance of repeating in Saturday evening’s clash.
Lille v Lens | Sunday 13.00
I’ve seen a fair bit of Lille in recent weeks (they’re my French team) and after a very very slow start, they finally looked to be hitting their stride. Six wins in seven had been secured before a 6-1 demolition by PSG at the Parc des Princes came out of the blue.
But René Girard’s charges have the perfect opportunity to bounce back to winning ways with a Le Derby du Nord clash against bedraggled and depleted rivals Lens on Sunday.
Visiting boss Antoine Kombouaré has only fourteen first team players available and with D3-L8 in their last 11 away, W1-D4-L10 across their previous 15 home or away, Les Sang et Or are heading straight back to Ligue 2.
Lille should be good enough to secure a victory even without the services of suspended skipper Rio Mavuba and Sébastien Corchia. Les Dogues have won seven of their last nine against bottom-six opposition, boast an incredible W21-D10-L0 record in 31 previous games against promoted teams and have secured three points in seven of their most recent nine fixtures as Ligue 1 hosts.
Throw in the fact that Lens have failed to score in four of their last five trips to ‘the enemy’, have leaked at least twice in eight of their last nine on the road and that Lille have conceded just seven goals at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy and you can start to see why Les Dogues are going to get the job done.
With the home win too short to recommend, have a play on the Asian Handicap market with BetVictor offering 22/23 on Lille -1. Taking this selection means we’ll get our money back should the hosts only win by a solitary goal and have ourselves a winner should the margin of victory be two goals or better.
Nantes v PSG | Sunday 20.00 | BT Sport 2
Three points clear with just four games to play, the Ligue 1 title race is probably all but over. PSG look primed to claim yet another title triumph with Nantes next to stand in their way on Sunday.
But Laurent Blanc’s men have proven to be far from away-day specialists this season and their W7-D7-L3 record on the road this term is good enough to put a lot of punters off a bet on the champions-elect this weekend.
Instead, I’m happy to chance my arm a big value bet involving Both Teams To Score. It may come as a surprise but the capital club have kept just four clean sheets in their 17 away league outings this season. Having scored in all bar three of those matches themselves, it’s unsurprising to see BTTS bank in a healthy 12/17 (71%) of the visitors’ fixtures.
The Parisians have plundered at least two goals in 11 of their last 13 games in all competitions, won their last five scoring at least three in each and can also count on the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic this weekend. OK, so maybe they won’t put many people off backing them…
After a flying start, Nantes went off the boil in November but their form has remained relatively solid at their La Beaujoire-Louis Fonteneau home. The hosts have W7-D6-L4 on home soil and avoided defeat against Marseille, Lyon and St Etienne.
But like PSG, Les Canaris have been popular in the goals markets, only failing to net in four of their 17 home encounters but keeping just six shutouts in the process. Those trends have led to a healthy 9/17 (53%) of BTTS winners.
Nantes boss Michel Der Zakarian made the choice to substitute three players at the same time to boost his side in last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Toulouse, which paid off thanks to Alejandro Bedoya's late equaliser. The mood is good in the camp and Les Canaris have a fully fit squad to choose from too. It just means the 13/8 (Bet365) on Both Teams To Score just looks too good to be true.
Lorient v Bordeaux – Both Teams To Score (10/11 William Hill)
Nice v Caen – Both Teams To Score (17/20 Sportingbet)
Lille v Lens – Lille -1 Asian Handicap (22/23 BetVictor)
Nantes v PSG – Both Teams To Score (13/8 Bet365)