Ajaccio – Angers
It has to be said that Ajaccio have looked much better since sacking Christian Bracconi. In all truth, they haven’t been bad all season, but it’s just under a new coach they should be able to head in a much better direction. With Olivier Pantaloni in charge I expect ACA to really improve, he’ll have the whole dressing room behind him. They have won their last 2 games at home and this is a difficult place for any side to visit if they can regain their toughness and Corsican spirit. They might have a chance tonight too because Angers are vulnerable. Stephane Moulin’s men travel here having lost their last 4 consecutive road matches, they simply aren’t the same outfit outside of their own stadium. They also miss a couple of defenders which could make them vulnerable at the back. Left back Arnold Bouka Moutou is a massive loss, arguably he’s the best at his position in the entire ligue. I would quite like to bet on Ajaccio but I’d need slightly better odds. Despite the aforementioned issues, Angers still have plenty of quality in their ranks and deserve some respect. I’d love a DNB line here about 1.90.
Prediction: Ajaccio 2-1 Angers NO BET
Auxerre – Chateauroux
I would think Auxerre should really get the job done here. Everyone thinks Chateauroux are a complete sack of shit outfit, but they aren’t as bad as that. They are however, a poor side, arguably the worst on paper in the entire division. Les Berrichonne have to be respected for grinding out some results, but I expect Auxerre to be too good for them here. The hosts have generally looked decent of late, minus the 0-3 home loss to Brest which was disappointing. Brest are a quality team though, so in many ways it’s understandable. I don’t think this will be a classic match by any means and I’d be surprised if it’s a pure blowout. But something like 2-0 Auxerre could be on the cards. Unfortunately the odds aren’t very good. Backing strong odds-on shots in this ligue probably isn’t the greatest of ideas. For those who want to be greedy you could maybe wait 10-20 mins for a better IR price and hope Auxerre don’t go ahead. I’m willing to risk 4 units on a -0.75 line. I’m pretty confident Auxerre win this one.
Prediction: Auxerre 2-0 Chateauroux
Recommended bet: Auxerre -0.75 @ 2.05 4/10
Clermont – Arles
I’m not totally sure about this match. Neither team is as bad as their ligue position suggests, but both regular make mistakes to fuck up matches which costs them. Poor coaching is perhaps to blame, I’m not sure. I think it’ll be a more open game than some people might expect, from a defensive point of view both teams can be horrible and times. In terms of a result, god knows, this really could go either way. In terms of odds, Clermont look a bit short to me, but there’s no way I could consider betting on Arles, they have proved to be too unreliable. Long term I think they’ll improve, but I need to see more evidence before I consider staking money on them.
Prediction: Clermont 2-2 Arles NO BET
Creteil – Orleans
It’s been a turbulent week for Creteil. They were embarrassingly dumped out of the Coupe de France last Saturday at home facing much lower ranked opposition. Coupled with some poor recent ligue results, it was enough for coach Philippe Hinchberger to resign. This is a positive for the club because Hinchberger was hindering their potential. Creteil actually have a decent squad and some good attacking players. I fully expect them to move up the ligue table, especially when they bring in a new coach permanently. Free of their ex manager, the players could really shine tonight facing a poor Nimes outfit. The visitors themselves have also had a turbulent week, albeit for completely different reasons. They have been rocked by a match fixing scandal which involves 4 of their matches from last season. There is no way this wont have affected them in some sort of negative way and it’s possible they might not be focused tonight. Overall there are loads of reasons why I fancy Creteil in this match, but fundamentally they are a much better side than Nimes anyway. Taking them on a -0.25 handicap looks like a nice sensible option, but I’m expecting them to win fairly easily.
Prediction: Creteil 3-0 Nimes
Recommended bet: Creteil -0.25 @ 1.80 7/10
Dijon – Orleans
Another team involved in the match fixing scandal this week is Dijon. Their coach was arrested at a dawn raid on Tuesday morning although has now been released. It looks like Dijon were probably clean so it’s a difficult one to assess. The club are saying that it has made the ‘squad stronger and closer’ but who knows, maybe it’s affected them in a negative way. What I do know is that Dijon are a fantastic home team and are pretty much all full strength tonight. Orleans meanwhile, miss a couple of key defenders and also their best player Loic Puyo. I just don’t know how they are going to score or create things without Puyo who leads them on assists and goals so far this season. They won just before the international break but their form has dipped following a hot start. It’s very difficult to see them getting anything tonight, Dijon are such a strong home team. Unless they are distracted by this match fixing scandal then I doubt they’ll have issues. But I actually think it will make them more determined to prevail and increase motivation. Taking them -0.75 looks safe enough in what should be a routine home win.
Prediction: Dijon 3-0 Orleans
Recommended bet: Dijon -0.75 @ 1.90 5/10
GFCA – Laval
The Corsican outfit are so good at home and this is fairly understandable. Their stadium is one of those small and intimidating places that nobody likes to visit. Laval are however unbeaten in 12 matches so perhaps have to be respected. They have picked up a ridiculous number of draws though, so it’s not as if they have been winning many. My big concern with them here is scoring goals. Key striker Christian Bekamenga is ruled out injured along with fellow attacker Maxime Bourgeois. I worry where goals are going to come from which is why I like taking them on. A -0.25 line on the hosts looks like a nice option to me, 0-0 looks to be the only danger result unless Laval somehow sneak a goal from a set piece or something. This place is becoming a real fortress and they have proven they can get the job done in front of their own fans. I think there is a very strong chance Laval’s unbeaten run comes to an end tonight
Prediction: GFCA 1-0 Laval
Recommended bet: GFCA -0.25 @ 2.01 5/10
Niort – Tours
Tours have lost a whopping 11/14 matches this season but are still only 4 points from survival. I honestly don’t think this team is as bad as it’s results might suggest though and they’ve only lost a single game by more than a one goal margin. They are still a poisonous team because they find ways to lose matches they shouldn’t but sooner or later they will get a result. It could even happen tonight because Niort are nothing special. It’s been a while since Le Chamois won a match and they’ve actually lost their last 3 consecutively. It’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that Tours avoid defeat here, or even win! I’m tempted to take TFC +0.75 but have learned my lesson from a couple of weeks ago. Bad things happen when you bet on bad or poisonous teams, so it’s best to swerve. I would be very careful if you’re thinking of backing Niort though, I am not convinced by them.
Prediction: Niort 1-1 Tours NO BET
Valenciennes – Brest
Since February, Brest have only lost 3 ligue games (out of 30). A couple of those defeats were against Caen and Metz who are both now in Ligue 1, so obviously this is one hell of a fantastic streak. The question when approaching Brest matches these days is whether you back them or not. Betting on their opponent simply isn’t an option, that’s how solid Brest are and hard to beat! I actually expect them to win tonight but I’m not willing to take a DNB line away from home. There is every chance this could end a draw, something like 0-0 or 1-1. If the match is level with 10 or 20 mins left, Brest won’t push the boat out and go gung-ho for victory. This won’t be a very entertaining affair and it’s not a contest I really want to bet on. Brest will probably prevail though, they know how to pick up results in an efficient way.
Prediction: Valenciennes 0-1 Brest NO BET
Metz – PSG
I’m not really convinced that PSG will win tonight. This is definitely a tricky trip to Metz, on a Friday night just after an international break. Most of the PSG squad has been on international duty and they are even resting some players who were involved for their respective nations. I also wonder if PSG might be looking ahead to their CL match against Ajax in midweek. It’s vital that they win their group and can’t afford any slip ups. So they travel here at an unfortunate time, but even in more favourable circumstances this wouldn’t be an easy match. Metz have developed a really strong home field advantage at Le Stade Saint Symphorien, picking up 14 points out of a possible 18 here this season. Unlike PSG, they have a squad at full strength which includes few players who were away on international duty. As long as the occasion doesn’t get to them I’d say Metz have a great chance of drawing, or even winning. PSG will rely on individual brilliance here, which has of course gotten them over the line in many matches before, but I’m willing to take them on tonight by backing Metz +1 for a few units.
Prediction: Metz 1-1 PSG
Recommended bet: Metz +1 (asian) @ 2.07 4/10