EUROPEAN football expert Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) has scoured the Ligue 1 card and shares his favourite fancies from France this weekend.
Nice v Rennes | Sunday 16.00 | BT Sport Europe
Champions League-chasing Nice and Rennes lock horns on Sunday in what should prove to be an enticing contest with goals on the agenda.
The duo shared four goals in their earlier season meeting whilst Rennes’ last five fixtures have featured an eye-watering 23 goals, as they’ve smashed 16 themselves during that spell.
The visitors have been involved in 11/16 (69%) of successful Both Teams To Score bets on their travels this term and although Nice were walloped 4-1 at PSG last weekend, 10/16 (63%) of their outings on the south-coast have produced at least three goals.
Both Nice and Rennes are amongst the top-five sharpest shooters in Ligue 1 this term and with a galaxy of quality attacking players on show – Ousmane Dembele, Hatem Ben Arfa and Kamil Grosicki to name just three – I’m more than happy to suggest a Both Teams To Score play at the Allianz Riviera at odds of 5/6 (Unibet).
Cumulatively, these two have scored in 50/64 (78%) of their domestic dates this term, recording 15/64 (23%) clean sheets. No surprise then to see those two trends have led to 38/64 (59%) winning BTTS bets.
Marseille v Bordeaux | Sunday 20.00 | BT Sport 1
Michel somehow remains Marseille manager with club owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus confirmed he’ll see out the season despite last weekend’s disastrous 2-1 defeat to Bastia and supporters angry disapproval.
Nicknamed ‘Fashion Week’ by L’OM fans, the Spaniard’s position appears doomed and he’ll have to get by without two key players on Sunday with Lassana Diarra and Romain Alessandrini missing out through injury and suspension, respectively.
Les Phocéens are rated as the second worst ‘home’ side in Ligue 1 and are now 13 fixtures without tasting Stade Velodrome success. The hosts have managed just two home triumphs – the last back in September – and almost impossible to support against Bordeaux, who won at Monaco under new boss Ulrich Rame last time out.
The visitors were dominated in terms of possession in Monaco but two carbon-copy corners from Adam Ounas proved decisive as Les Girondins picked up a welcome 2-1 win. And this weekend Rame is hoping to welcome back a raft of players from the treatment table.
Bar long-term absentees Nicolas Maurice-Belay and Cédric Carrasso, Bordeaux could have a fully fit squad in the coming days and weeks with Mathieu Debuchy, Clément Chantôme, Nicolas Pallois and Grégory Sertic all pushing for a place with the likes of Lamine Sané, Cheikh Diabaté and Diego Rolan also available for selection again.
But Les Girondins have posted the league’s joint-second worst defence and their inability to keep their sheets clean makes them an unappealing proposition. Therefore, the wise option here is to once again support goals with Both Teams To Score standing out at 5/6 (Matchbook).
The BTTS bet has banked in each of Marseille’s last eight and in 22/32 (69%) of L’OM’s matches overall. At the Velodrome, the hosts have seen both sides score in 12/16 (75%), shutting out just two travellers to the south-coast.
Bordeaux have followed suit in four of their last five, as well as 19/32 (59%) across all Ligue 1 games. Looking purely at league away days, the visitor have provided profit for BTTS backers in 10/16 (63%) this term.
If we put the two teams’ Both Teams To Score records together and found the average, we’d be within our rights to assume there’s a 69% chance of landing a repeat on Sunday night. Turn that parentage chance into implied betting odds and the BTTS bet would be closer to 4/9. Nice.
St Etienne v Troyes | Saturday 19.00
Troyes relegation was confirmed last weekend with a last-minute winner for Angers sending l'ESTAC back to Ligue 2 after one unhappy campaign in the top-flight.
Interim head coach Mohamed Bradja has called on his players to “respect the club” during the remaining six fixtures but the rock-bottom side look vulnerable visitors for Saturday’s trip to St Etienne.
Troyes have lost each of their last six games, shipping two or more on each occasion. The guests have lost 12 of their 16 away outings, conceding 41 goals and have accumulated a -49 goal difference during a bleak season.
Hosts St Etienne are back in top-three contention having secured back-to-back wins for the first time since February, seeing off Montpellier (3-0) and Gazalec Ajaccio (2-0) with two polished performances.
Nolan Roux’s taken on the mantle of Les Verts leading striker very well and I’d expect Sainte to comfortably cover the -1.5 Asian Handicap here at 5/6 with BetVictor.
The hosts are awesome operators at their Stade Geoffroy-Guichard home (W8-D3-L4) but exclude games against the top-five and Sainte have W7-D1-L2 with five of those seven successes by a two-goal margin or better.
Further back, Christophe Galtier’s charges have beaten 11 of their last 12 bottom-six visitors with nine by two goals or more. And in Galtier’s reign, Les Verts have W42-D9-L6 since December 2009 – 27/57 (47%) covering the one-goal handicap but arguably none of those opponents were in a worse state than Troyes.
St Etienne v Troyes – St Etienne -1.5 Asian Handicap (5/6 BetVictor)
Nice v Rennes – Both Teams To Score (5/6 Unibet)
Marseille v Bordeaux – Both Teams To Score (5/6 Matchbook)
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