LIGUE 1 looks like going right to the wire. So we asked Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) to share his best bets from the weekend action.
Caen v Lyon | Saturday 16.00
PSG hold a three-point advantage over Lyon in the race for the championnat and with just three fixtures left in the Ligue 1 season, OL know victory away at Caen on Saturday is absolute must if they’re to stand any chance of pulling off their unlikely league title triumph.
OL are rated 3/4 (BetVictor) shots to do the business and it’s hard not to be a little seduced by that price. The visitors have four of their last five matches – all by two goal margins – and recorded three points in seven of their last 12 trips to bottom-half teams. And on the road their W3-D1-L0 record of late is certainly encouraging.
That’s all part of the wider Lyon picture as Hubert Fournier has guided his youthful side to a wonderful return of W13-D5-L2 across their past 20 league outings. So taking on a Caen side that are dropping like a stone should be well within their capabilities.
SMC sit just two points above the dreaded drop zone and although they put in an improved performance last time out against Nice, they’ll need an impressive display from an experimental defence to prevent Les Gones from running riot. The hosts have kept only six clean sheets this season and that’s just the tip of a worrying iceberg in their way.
Patrice Garande’s charges have suffered defeats in five of their last eight, in nine of their 17 matches at their Stade Michel d'Ornano home and that includes seven reverses in nine against top-half teams. Their last three as Ligue 1 hosts have ended in losses without scoring and their dangerous slide down the ladder is unlikely to be halted on Saturday.
Bordeaux v Nantes | Saturday 19.00 | BT Sport 1
It’ll be an emotional night in Bordeaux. Les Girondins will be playing their final game at their Stade Jacques-Chaban-Delmas stadium after 77 years at their historic home and I’m certain they’ll want to sign off in style against a Nantes side treading water towards the end of the season.
Willy Sagnol’s side have done their best work on home soil this campaign and as well as going seven undefeated when entertaining Ligue 1 opposition, Bordeaux have W11-D8-L2 of their previous 21 as hosts, scoring in 20 of those games. It’s an impressive return that’s seen the team come out on top in nine of their last 15 with Sagnol in the dugout and I’m expecting that record to be enhanced.
Les Girondins may have only W2-D2-L2 across their most recent six but they remain in the hunt for a European qualifying place and should have plenty of chances against a Canaries outfit that’s W3-D5-L8 of their last 16 and netted a league low of 27 goals in 2014/15.
Michel Der Zakarian’s visitors are winless in eight on the road (W0-D3-L5), scoring just twice in that sample and their return against Ligue 1’s elite leaves a lot to be desired. Nantes have lost all of their most recent eight away days against top-six teams with six of their last 11 away to top-six clubs ending in defeat by two goals or more.
With that in mind and an emotionally-charged atmosphere in Bordeaux, I’m going to get involved with backing the home side -1 in the Asian Handicap market. Should Sagnol’s charges win by just one goal, I’ll get my money back. But if Bordeaux manage a victory by two goals or more, we have ourselves a winner.
Marseille v Monaco | Sunday 20.00 | BT Sport 2
The game of the round arrives on Sunday night as Côte d'Azur giants Marseille and Monaco go head-to-head with a Champions League qualifying place up for grabs. Monaco hold a five-point advantage over their hosts with three games to play and know a point should secure their place in Europe’s premier club competition again next season.
Failure to qualify for the Champions League will be seen as a disaster by the Marseille board and Marcelo Bielsa’s men have endured a torrid 2015 as they looked to follow up their outstanding first half of the campaign. This calendar year OM have W5-D4-L7 and failed to record three points in any of their previous five at the Stade Velodrome.
Marseille’s on-loan winger Lucas Ocampos will not able feature against his parent club whom, having taken just 10 points from their first eight matches, haveo have steamed up the Ligue 1 table, suffering league defeats just twice since September. Leonardo Jardim’s men strolled to a 4-1 success against Toulouse in their last outing and conceded just their first first-half goal since November!
The visitors have leaked in just six of their last 20 Ligue 1 games and look primed to take something from the game on Sunday. Backing Monaco +0.5 at 5/7 (BetVictor) is simply too big too ignore. At almost 8/11, we’ll be paid out if Les Rouges et Blancs avoid defeat at the Stade Velodrome.
Monaco have bagged eight wins in their last nine on the road and scored at least three goals in their most recent four road trips. As well as that resolute defence, Jardim’s troops boast a devastating counter-attack and could potentially tear Marseille’s dodgy backline to pieces, given the chance.