RENNES welcome Montpellier in Saturday afternoon's live Ligue 1 action. Jack Wright (@JackWright_BSB) is on-hand to preview his favourite fancies.
Rennes vs Montpellier | Saturday 29th August 2020, 16:00 | BT Sport
Rennes secured a very creditable draw after their visit to Lille on the opening weekend of the Ligue 1 season.
Rennes fell behind soon after being reduced to 10 men following the 35th minute dismissal of Sacha Boey for his pretty decent impersonation of the Karate Kid. The recipient of that boot to the face, Reinildo, evened up the playing numbers just before half-time with a red card of his own, and a 74th minute Damien Da Silva strike levelled the scores as the points were shared.
Meanwhile, this will be Montpellier’s first outing of the season having been due to play a Lyon side who had a prior engagement in completing their Champions League commitments.
A run of eight wins from their last 10 home games (W8-D1-L1) would usually turn my attention to siding with Les Rouge et Noir, especially at the widely available odds against of 21/20.
That is made to look even bigger given what turned out to be both these sides’ final game of the curtailed 2019/20 season as Julien Stephan’s hosts recorded a resounding 5-0 victory, making it eight league games undefeated against their visitors.
However, Rennes have this week reported three positive tests for coronavirus from as yet unidentified members of their squad, which not only raises doubts regarding the outcome of this fixture, but also in the likelihood of it even taking place.
But with news the hosts will be splitting their training groups up into smaller numbers and not permitting any media to attend the sessions we will press on in looking to attack this match up with another angle which looks like cracking value.
The betting angles
Should the game get the go ahead, one man definitely taking to the field will be Willy Delajod. The appointed referee who, like the visitors, will be having his first run out of the new campaign, but it is impossible to overlook his incredible historic penalty record.
From 34 Ligue 1 appointments, Delajod has given 0.56 penalties per-game, eight from 15 fixtures last season (0.53 per-game) but 14 in his last 20 at an incredible 0.70 per-game, so the 2/1 available with Unibet for a penalty to be awarded looks definite value, especially with VAR in operation.
The odds imply a 33% chance of the selection landing which doesn’t correlate with the frequency this referee points to the spot.
Although neither side featured high up in the charts for penalty action last season with five awarded in the 14 games Rennes played in their Roazhon Park home (F4-A1) and the same number (F1-A4) in La Paillade’s road trips, there were two given in the aforementioned same fixture last season – both for and successfully converted by the home side.
Rennes to score a penalty is 6/1 with Bet365 and with the stats suggesting if there is one awarded it is highly likely to be in the home sides favour, I’m prepared to take the chance at pretty appealing odds.
Players to watch
For those of you looking at goalscorer options for Rennes to add to a potential penalty award, former Watford man M’Baye Niang was top scorer last season with 10 Ligue 1 goals from 26 appearances and he has 21 in 55 league games since initially arriving on-loan from Torino.
Therefore the 23/10 on offer from Betfair looks a good option at face value. However, the Senegal frontman only lasted 64 minutes on his seasonal reappearance and his recent record from 12-yards is poor, having failed to convert both opportunities he had in the league last season, as well as one of the two spot kicks he took in the Europa League – meaning he has missed each of his last three attempts!
Both scorers from the spot in that 5-0 romp last term started on the bench last weekend – unused sub Adrien Hunou is 13/5 (Betfair) to find the net but Romain Del Castillo did get a 27-minute run out and is available at a potentially generous 11/2 at anytime. Del Castillo also took the first penalty that day.
My advice given the uncertainty around player availability though would be to wait on team news approximately one hour before kick-off then make a move.