Clermont – Chateauroux
This is a match that Clermont really should be winning. They are a difficult side to predict and fairly inconsistent but they’ve looked alright since the winter break. Their squad is in pretty good condition too, injuries and suspensions aren’t an issue here. The home record of the Auvergne side isn’t too bad either (4-4-1) although they do sit only just above the relegation zone on 22 points. Chateauroux are possibly the worst side in ligue 2 and are also renowned for their shocking away record (won just 2 of their last 50+), but they have at least managed to pick up a few draws recently. Another issue for them here is lack of freshness. They fielded a strong XI in the cup away at Guingamp on Wednesday night, eventually losing 0-2. Just a 3 day turnover for a L2 team isn’t ideal, especially now they are on the road. The price on Clermont isn’t anything special, and arguably there’s a question mark if they should be as short as this in any ligue match. But I’m expecting them to win this fixture fairly comfortably.
Prediction: Clermont 2-0 Chateauroux
Recommended bet: Clermont -0.5 @ 1.80 5/10
Valenciennes – Tours
VA haven’t been in great form since the winter break, losing a couple of ligue games and then getting KOd of the cup by lower ranked Yzeure on Tuesday night. I’m not really sure why they are struggling so much because on paper this team isn’t too bad on paper, especially the defence. Maybe it’s a coaching issue, or confidence. It makes me wary of backing them today but there are certainly a few factors in their favour. Tours played a brutal match on wed night against St Etienne in the cup. They came back from 1-3 down to take it to extra time but then subsequently lost 3-5. Considering they played such a strong team, it’s only natural to expect some sort of a letdown here, I really don’t expect them to be at their best in this fixture. The question is whether or not VA can take advantage? It’s going to be a tough trip for Tours and for this reason I’m going to fade them. I don’t actually trust the hosts but they might only need to play ‘half well’ to beat Tours here.
Prediction: Valenciennes 2-1 Tours
Recommended bet: Valenciennes -0.25 @ 1.80 4/10
Troyes – Sochaux
Heavyweight contest here between a couple of sides who’ve had great results recently. Troyes statistically have been a machine this season, such a lot of wins and clean sheets. But I honestly don’t think many of their victories have been particularly impressive and they’ve actually lucked out in a number of games. Don’t get me wrong, Troyes are a quality outfit, but they aren’t as good as many might think. They’ve especially been lucky in terms of conceding goals. For some reason, teams can’t seem to finish very well against them. Sooner or later that will change, maybe today? Sochaux are unbeaten in 15 ligue games and haven’t lost a single away match all season. Both teams are pretty much at full strength so this is just a question of who can perform best and grind out a result on the day. I actually rate Les Lionceaux as the better outfit right now so to have them @ this price on a +0.5 asian handicap looks a bit generous, and they are worth a nibble.
Prediction: Troyes 1-1 Sochaux
Recommended bet: Sochaux +0.5 @ 2.04 3/10
Lille – Monaco
Lille have actually looked a bit better in 2015 since the winter break, at least they are grinding some results out and performances improved. I think this is the sort of fixture they should enjoy as a technical underdog, but realistically I don’t see why Monaco are given favoritism here. Ok, they are a decent side, but they aren’t anything special these days. Both teams miss players to injury and the African Nations, so in this regard it doesn’t look like either team has an edge. Lille are at home though and have had a whole week to prepare for this game. For Monaco, this will be their 4th match in the space of 14 games so fatigue could be an issue. Yes, they are used to juggling a lot of matches this season but I’m sure it will have some sort of negative affect. A draw is certainly possible, but I don’t really see why Lille are so big so taking them DNB looks like a nice bet here.
Prediction: Lille 1-0 Monaco
Recommended bet: Lille DNB @ 2.0 5/10