MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) runs the rule over the weekend Ligue 1 action, sharing his three favourite fancies.
St Etienne v Reims | Saturday 16.00
Ligue 1’s a tough coupon this weekend because there’s so many cracking betting angles. I’ve picked out three but I could easily be sharing six or seven – if you want more, grab me on Twitter and I’ll do my best to point out a few.
Anyhow, not many teams are as reliable as St Etienne when playing in front of their home fans. I’ve outlined Les Verts superb trends when hosting Ligue 1 action at their Stade Geoffroy-Guichard many times before but we’ll go over them once more, just to set the scene…
Looking at their results since 2012/13 to the present day, Christophe Galtier’s charges have W38-D15-L9 – that’s a win ratio of 61% and as a percentage would translate to equivalent odds of 8/13. The hosts have come out on top in nine of their last 11 home Ligue 1 games and are backable at 4/6 with William Hill on Saturday.
Normally one of the league’s most reliable defences, Les Verts did commit an unusually high number of individual mistakes when losing 4-1 to table-topping PSG last weekend and although Fabien Lemoine, Romain Hamouma, Moustapha Bayal Sall and Jonathan Brison all miss out, Jeremy Clément is available.
One goal might suffice on Saturday – Sainte have kept clean sheets in 33/62 (53%) of those aforementioned fixtures although 25 of those 38 victories arrived by a margin of two goals or more. St Etienne have scored first in all bar one of their last 12 Stade Geoffroy-Guichard dates and with opponents Reims leaking the opener in 13 of their previous 17 on the road, Galtier’s boys should have enough to get in front and see the match out.
Reims’ bright start to the campaign has dissipated pretty quickly and Olivier Guegan's travellers were knockout out of the Coupe de la Ligue in midweek by second tier Dijon. That result extended their losing streak to four in all competitions and the visitors have lost their last three Ligue 1 outings ‘to nil’.
Aside from their ribbon-cutter at Bordeaux, Reims have been less than impressive on the road – W1-D2-L2 overall – and have failed to find the net in three of those five matches. To make matters worse, Hugo Rodriguez, Antoine Conte are Mohamed Fofana sidelined whilst Jaba Kankava and Aissa Mandi will be assessed.
But their biggest blow could be major injury doubt David N’Gog. Since the start of last season Reims have lost 12 of the 23 matches he’s missed compared to just seven of 22 with him. Furthermore, they’ve picked up just three points from the last eight away matches he’s missed.
St Etienne at 4/6 (William Hill) look decent value.
Guingamp v Lorient | Saturday 19.00
Both Guingamp and Lorient made slow and tricky starts to the new campaign having lost key players during the summer but have found their feet impressively in recent weeks.
Guingamp were pointless after three matches but have since returned W4-D3-L1 to rise into mid-table. That sole reverse in eight came at PSG with head coach Jocelyn Gourvennec continuing to earn rave reviews for overperforming with a modest group of players.
EAG saw their Coupe de la Ligue clash with GFC Ajaccio abandoned on Wednesday night with the score 2-2 due to torrential rain as the Brittany club showcased their frailties at the back and potential going forward. However, Marcus Coco was sent off and will be suspended despite the match not reaching a conclusion.
Gourvennec is expected to switch back to his more ambitious 4-4-2 formation on Saturday with Sloan Privat and Yannis Salibur hoping to get the nod after back-to-back draws against two of the most reliable defences in the division (Angers and Lille) in recent weeks. And I’m going to back a more attack-minded Guingamp to play their part in an enjoyable game.
Both Teams To Score is odds-against at 21/20 (Betway) and I reckon it’s got legs having won in six of Guingamp’s last nine at the Stade du Roudourou, including the previous three on the spin.
Like their hosts, Lorient have been picking up plenty of points of late with Les Merlus returning W4-D2-L1 since September. Sylvain Ripoll rested numerous key players against Montpellier in midweek but will revert to his most familiar starting XI on Saturday and there’s no reason why the visitors can’t play their part in a decent spectacle.
Lorient have scored eight goals in their last four fixtures whilst seven of their last eight have featured BTTS winners. Since the start of last season, 14/24 (58%) of their road trips resulted in both teams scoring and African front-pairing Benjamin Moukandjo and Majeed Waris continue to wreak havoc in attack.
Both sides’ strengths are in their ability to get goals and that’s seen in their respective clean sheet records. The two clubs have managed a paltry 10 shutouts between them in their accumulative 48 home/away matches since the start of last season, making the Both Teams To Score (21/20 Betway) angle appear strong.
Nice v Lille | Sunday 13.00
Being in Berlin last weekend, I wasn’t able to file a Ligue 1 column but I did at least keep the Nice – Both Teams To Score party going in a personal capacity. So I really hope you loyal readers did so too, given the success and profit it’s given us already this season? Don’t say you forgot!?
Normal service should resume this weekend in what looks to be a real clash of styles as the Les Aiglons entertain Lille at the Allianz Riviera on Sunday. BTTS is again quoted at odds that just can’t be ignored – Coral’s 19/20 the best price on offer.
It was a surprise to see Claude Puel’s men downed 3-1 at Gazalec but the side promptly bounced back by knocking Caen out of the Coupe de la Ligue in midweek. Yet another of Nice’s bright academy prospects – Alexandre Mendy – played a starring role and despite last weekend’s defeat, confidence is high on the French Riviera.
Les Aiglons already boast the division’s most potent forwardline and following that Gazalec loss that BTTS bet has paid out in all bar one of their last 10 outings as well as eight of their last nine on home soil. In fact, 15/23 (65%) at the Allianz Riviera have rewarded Both Teams To Score fans with just five clean sheets kept.
Over 2.5 Goals have been celebrating in 18 of their previous 22 at all venues and the prospect of a repeat is encouraged by the hosts lack of defensive options once more. Neither Mouez Hassen and Simon Pouplin are ready to return yet so third-choice goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale will remain between the sticks whilst backline boys Maxime Le Marchand and Mathieu Bodmer are not 100%.
Lille are experiencing their worst league start in 20 years but those issues should help Les Dogues grab a goal on Sunday. Herve Renard's troops are Ligue 1’s lowest scoring side with only six to their name from their first 11 fixtures.
However, four of those goals came in their last three outings and Lille also managed to beat Troyes 2-1 in the cup on Wednesday night to extend their scoring streak to four. Rio Mavuba, Vincent Enyeama, Florent Balmont and Djibril Sidibé were all rested in midweek and should be refreshed for the journey south.
Les Dogues tend to be built from the back but have leaked in each of their last three on their travels (two of which saw BTTS bank) and they’ve actually managed just five shutouts in 24 away days since the start of last season. A surprising 11/24 (46%) were Both Teams To Score winners and so the bet looks much more likely than the 19/20 on offer.
And for those who like trends, Nice have been level at half-time in 12/14 home fixtures as well as a huge 18/23 (78%) going back to the start of 2014/15. Lille have followed suit in nine of their previous 11 road trips. A repeat is 11/10 with Stan James.
St Etienne v Reims – St Etienne to win (4/6 William Hill)
Guingamp v Lorient – Both Teams To Score (21/20 Betway)
Nice v Lille – Both Teams To Score (19/20 Coral)
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