Saturday Ligue 1 & 2 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Brest – Sochaux

Brest suffered a shock defeat away at Arles last weekend, but I’d say they have a great chance to rebound today. All season long they have been one of the best teams in Ligue 2, especially at home where their record is formidable. Nobody has yet beaten them at Le Stade Francis le Ble and they usually perform very well in ‘big’ fixtures like this one. Normally I would be wary of Sochaux but the visitors have been in a real slump of late, losing 3 straight games in poor fashion. They are in a bit of a crisis right now and until they show otherwise, it’s probably a good idea to bet against them. Taking the hosts -0.25 makes sense to me, at very worst Brest should draw.

Prediction: Brest 2-0 Sochaux
Recommended bet: Brest -0.25 @ 1.79 4/10

Lille – Lyon

OL have only lost one match in the ligue since the end of August, so it would be a bit foolish to bet against them. But this could be a genuine tough trip if Lille actually play to their potential. Les Dogues are so difficult to predict and often look good on the eye without having any end product. Usually at home, they are hard to beat and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they at least draw today. Right now, I think Lyon are playing too well for them but I’m not going to bet on OL because I respect the quality on paper of Lille.

Prediction: Lille 1-2 Lyon NO BET

Bordeaux – Reims

Having watched Reims play last week, it’s obvious they are in dire form and completely devoid of any confidence. They should’ve lost against Metz at home but managed to squeeze out a 0-0 draw in unconvincing fashion. But if they play like that today, Bordeaux will easily beat them. Les Girondins are playing well and look set to go on a good run quite soon. Since the winter break, they are steadily improving and 2 wins in their last 3 have boosted morale. I have to say last week they were very unlucky to only draw away at Rennes, despite totally dominating them. I just can’t see Reims coming close today, they are a team under pressure and who have been wilting since the winter break. It’s rare I would advise this line & price but I think the straight win @ 1.70 is the best bet, I don’t like the -0.75 handicap odds in this instance.

Prediction: Bordeaux 2-0 Reims
Recommended bet: Bordeaux -0.5 @ 1.70 6/10

Lens – Rennes

Both teams have just 1 win between them since 2nd December! Obviously recent form is poor and in terms of result I’m not exactly sure. I do however think it’ll be an open encounter, giving a good chance for the overs to hit. Anyone who watches Lens games will know how open they are. Les Sang et Or will ‘give it a good go’ but doing this leaves them exposed at the back. 11 of their last 13 games have contained at least 2 goals, whilst 9 of Rennes last 12 have contained at least 2 in them as well. Because it’s such a nice price, I think over 2.25 is definitely worth a nibble and I’d have to say the chances of actually having a full loss on this bet isn’t that high.

Prediction: Lens 2-2 Rennes
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 2.12 3/10

Lorient – Bastia

This is a difficult match between a couple of sides in decent form, especially Bastia. The Corsicans are unbeaten in 9 games and also have a Coupe de la Ligue final to look forward to in the next month or so. They are basically flying and it would be difficult to oppose them. I expect this might be quite an open game of football. Each side has plenty of fast attackers and should be willing to give it a go. It’s just a question of whether or not the strikers can take their chances. I like the look of over 2.25 goals but not many Bastia away games actually end up with 3 or more in them. Maybe a 1-1 draw is the main danger and it wouldn’t surprise me if it ended all square. I’m going to refrain from betting on this one.

Prediction: Lorient 1-1 Bastia NO BET

Metz – Evian

Horrible match between two of the bottom three and really this is capable of going either way. Metz haven’t won for donkeys years, whilst Evian rarely pick up 3 points either. To be fair to the visitors, they have at least picked up a couple of victories in 2015 and have had a 2 week break prior to this match, so it might suit them. This match means an awful lot to Metz though and it’s what I call a ‘kitchen sink’ game for them. They are going to throw EVERYTHING they have at Evian today and it’s quite simply a must win for them. I have a feeling Les Grenats get 3 points but there’s no way in a million years I could bet on them!

Prediction: Metz 2-1 Evian NO BET

Toulouse – St Etienne

A winless 6 game run has halted Sainte’s progress and they need to return to winning ways if they are to get their season back on track. Can they win today? Well, I’d say they have a good chance but I’m not interested in betting on them @ this price. Until they get 3 points again then it would be very unwise to back them IMO, but realistically Toulouse is a very winnable fixture, even on the road. Les Violets haven’t had a particularly impressive season and are actually languishing just outside the relegation zone under pressure, so I’m not expecting too much from them today.

Prediction: Toulouse 0-1 St Etienne NO BET

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Friday Ligue 1 & 2 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Clermont – Valenciennes

Tough one to predict here. Both teams are missing a number of players so the key is how backup guys perform. It should be a close and tense battle, capable of going either way. Many will point out Valenciennes’ poor recent run but they showed enough to dig out a result last time they played away. I personally don’t trust Clermont and haven’t all season, so I prefer to leave this alone.

Prediction: Clermont 0-0 Valenciennes NO BET

Creteil – Dijon

Dijon just haven’t been in form since the turn of the year and won only 1 out of 7 ligue games in 2015. The level of their performances has generally been poor and it’s difficult to trust them at the moment. Creteil haven’t been anything special but can be pretty tough to beat, only losing once at home all season. My prediction is for a home win or draw tonight. I don’t have enough confidence in Creteil to actually bet on them, but if they took 3 points I really wouldn’t be surprised.

Prediction: Creteil 1-0 Dijon NO BET

GFCA – Orleans

I think in the end GFC should prevail, but I would be wary of backing them here. They much prefer being the underdog in matches and have had issues breaking down solid sides before. Orleans will come here looking for a 0-0 and basically park the bus in negative fashion. They managed to draw with 9 men away from home a couple of weeks ago, so this proves their resoluteness. Both of these teams got promoted from the National, so are likely to know each other extremely well. The poor pitch at GFC won’t be an issue for Orleans either, because theirs is even worse! I expect a low scoring slugfest which GFC might just knick. The danger of a 0-0 or 1-1 is too high for me to actually place a bet on them though.

Prediction: GFC 1-0 Orleans NO BET

Laval – Arles

I have said all season long that Laval are a fraudulent team, not as as good as their ligue position suggests. Recent results have backed this up. They failed to beat 9 man Orleans at home and some of their other performances have been pretty poor too. They have yet to lose at home this season but I could honestly see Arles springing a shock. The visitors are doomed in many peoples opinion, but that won’t stop new coach Victor Zvunka from trying. They beat Brest last time out and drew on the road at Tours with 10 men the week before. Arles might be a dangerous team right now and I have this down as a ‘shock’ away win. There is no way I could stomach placing actual money on the visitors though!

Prediction: Laval 0-1 Arles NO BET

Le Havre – Ajaccio

I have to say Le Havre have possibly played the best football out of anyone in Ligue 2 during the last 3-4 weeks. The way they beat Valenciennes and Clermont in their last two home games was very impressive, whilst they backed that up with a 2-2 away draw at Troyes, a match which they arguably should have won. They have no new injuries or suspensions and keep the same squad for the 3rd consecutive game, which for me is a massive positive. I don’t think they should have too many problems dispatching Ajaccio tonight. The Corsicans are just a below average side who will actually be missing 2 key midfielders tonight (Pedretti and Cavalli) and both will be greatly missed. Ajaccio have drawn a lot of away games this season but I don’t see them getting anything here. If Le Havre play as they have been doing recently then I see a comfortable home win.

Prediction: Le Havre 2-0 Ajaccio
Recommended bet: Le Havre -0.5 @ 2.0 5/10

Chateauroux – Nimes

Urrrrrrggghhhhh, what a horrible match! I don’t rate either of them myself and this is such a poisonous game to bet on. It was a disastrous start for new Chateauroux coach Cedric Daury last week, losing 6-0 at Nancy! He has got a really difficult job on his hands here and they look set for relegation. I would imagine this week he concentrate on defence so I wouldn’t expect them to take too many risks here. Nimes won on Monday night and would be happy with a point, I guess. It should be a low scoring contest and perhaps a 0-0 contender. The standard of football on show is likely to be really low.

Prediction: Chateauroux 0-0 Nimes NO BET

Niort – Troyes

It’s amazing that Niort have drawn 13/25 matches this season, that’s more than half their games! They are an ok side, fairly unpredictable with a main weakness being lack of goals. Troyes sit top of the table and are obviously a good side, although at times I feel they aren’t as good as what many people think. ESTAC usually find a way to eek out a result and may well do again tonight, but I wouldn’t be so sure. They have only won 1 of their last 4 games so maybe there are some signs that they are starting to struggle. I am not sure with this game, the draw is probably the favourite and it’s not an affair I’m interested betting on.

Prediction: Niort 1-1 Troyes NO BET

Tours – Nancy

The visitors have suddenly found some form, winning their last 3 games consecutively. They smashed Chateauroux 6-0 last week and should be brimming with confidence ahead of this match. Both teams miss a number of players to injury and suspension here, especially in defence. It is a shame Nancy have Youssef Hadji and Maurice Dale ruled out, else I’d like this bet even more, but even still I’m going to take a piece of the over 2.25. With each backline depleted a little bit, mixed in combination with the usual attacking styles of both outfits, I see this being an open contest. Nancy may well take it eventually, but Tours have potential goals in them which makes me slightly reluctant to bet on the visitors.

Prediction: Tours 1-3 Nancy
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.92 4/10

Marseille – Caen

This should be an open game of football and I would strongly love to back the overs in it. Sadly, the goals line is 3.0 and that’s way too high for any ligue 1 match, no matter what teams are playing. But I do think it gets covered and that Caen really push OM tonight. They are playing really well at the moment, whilst OM have been below par a bit. There should be chances at both ends of the field, neither defence is particularly strong and will take risks and chances. Caen are a really big price here and it’s a bit of an insult that they are so big on the +1.25 line, so worth a small nibble IMO.

Prediction: Marseille 2-2 Caen
Recommended bet: Caen +1.25 @ 1.97 3/10

Sunday Ligue 1 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Guingamp – Montpellier

It must be said that Guingamp have been in great recent form but sooner or later their packed schedule will catch up with them. They have been involved in a lot of different competitions this season and their squad isn’t the biggest, logically physical problems will become a massive issue with them at some stage. Compare that with Montpellier who have had a full 2 weeks off, and been in good form ,then it’s easy to favour the visitors today. Guingamp were horrible after EL games prior to the winter break, so could struggle again. I’m not going to bet here because I respect EAG’s recent form, but I firmly believe in X2.

Prediction: Guingamp 0-1 Montpellier NO BET

Lyon – Nantes

OL should realistically win this match. They have a great home record (11-1-1) this season and have been playing nice football for quite a long time now. As a bonus, they welcome back key man Lacazette for today’s game. Nantes have slipped off form recently, failing to win in a while, but they aren’t that bad. They aren’t the sort of side who I believe will get blown out easily, although ultimately I think they’ll lose this contest. I’m not betting on Lyon though because we are starting to get to the stage of the season where the pressure of winning the title is on their backs a bit. The asian line is -1 which doesn’t really offer any value either.

Prediction: Lyon 2-0 Nantes NO BET

Reims – Metz

Both teams have struggled in 2015 so far, each yet to register a victory in this calendar year. For Metz, the problem goes way back though and the last time they picked up 3 points was 1st November! A long long time ago. Reims’ recent problems have been more understandable, they lost a lot of players to the African Nations, plus had a bunch of injuries. However, the signs were more positive last week during their 2-2 draw at OM. They actually played well at the Velodrome, earning a point thanks to a late equaliser, so should have momentum here. Despite them having not won for a while, I feel they have to be backed here. Metz’s away record is an appalling 1-2-10. Les Grenats have only scored a measly 3 goals on their travels all year! Taking the hosts -0.25 makes sense to me, at very worst they should draw.

Prediction: Reims 1-0 Metz
Recommended bet: Reims -0.25 @ 1.83 4/10

St Etienne – Marseille

Sainte haven’t won any of their last 5 and have struggled in 2015, but Marseille always have issues away. OM’s road record is really poor compared to their record at the Velodrome, and they can’t be trusted on their travels. However, Marcelo Bielsa’s men might enjoy this sort of fixture which is likely to be an open encounter, and one in which many might fancy Sainte. Marseille enjoy playing as an underdog so I wouldn’t actually be surprised to see them put in a decent performance here. Overall though, I’d say this has to be a no bet game and a draw most likely.

Prediction: St Etienne 1-1 Marseille NO BET

Saturday Ligue 1 & 2 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Troyes – Le Havre

It seems Troyes are the real deal this season and they are well on their way to achieving promotion. In all likeliness, they will probably win the ligue too and have shown unusual grindy characteristics this year. This could actually be a tough test today though because Le Havre have been playing well recently. They were extremely impressive last weekend when they beat Clermont 3-1, playing some of the best passing football I have seen for a while in ligue 2. They have to be respected and I could definitely see them getting something here, maybe even a victory. HAC beat Troyes earlier in the season so they can take some comfort from that. I think this’ll be an open game of football so I’m willing to have a piece of the over 2.25 goal line.

Prediction: Troyes 2-2 Le Havre
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 2.06 3/10
PSG – Toulouse

The big problem that PSG have had recently is player fitness. A number of guys just aren’t operating at their full potential because of knocks or fatigue. It won’t help that they are coming off the back of a tough CL match either, it’s just a question of whether Toulouse can take advantage or not. I can’t imagine that the hosts will be anywhere near their best, but even PSG at 50% is usually enough to win most matches in this league. They really need a result, so might just pull through in the end, but I am not at all convinced they will cover the handicap. No bet for me here, but Toulouse could spring a surprise.

Prediction: PSG 2-1 Toulouse NO BET

Evian – Lorient

Difficult one here, I’m not really sure which way this goes. Evian are missing key man Daniel Wass to suspension and he is so influential they could struggle without him. Lorient aren’t in bad shape but I’m not so sure I could trust them away from home in a difficult location like Evian. No result would surprise me here, anything is possible so I’d say it’s best left well alone.

Prediction: Evian 1-1 Lorient NO BET

Rennes – Bordeaux

It’s been quite a tough period for Rennes and they have gone winless for a number of games. Sooner or later they will hit back though, there is enough quality in this squad. Will it be today? Hmmmm maybe, but I’m not convinced enough to stake money on them. Bordeaux are a solid enough team and in better form, so were they to draw, or even win, then it would hardly be a surprise. I think this will be a tight game, a potential 0-0 contender, one goal would probably be enough for either outfit.

Prediction: Rennes 0-0 Bordeaux NO BET

Bastia – Lille

The Corsicans are in a rich vein of form. They are unbeaten in 8 games and have also made the final of the CDL, things have gone great since they sacked Claude Makelele earlier in the season. Le Stade Furiani seems to be a fortress once again and nobody wants to visit this place at the moment. Lille have been a little bit more improved since the winter break but it still has to be said that they have only won 1 of their last 5 matches, which is hardly the greatest of returns. I really don’t think this will be an easy fixture for them the way Bastia are currently playing, so I’ll take a piece of the hosts DNB.

Prediction: Bastia 1-0 Lille
Recommended bet: Bastia DNB @ 1.94 4/10

Caen – Lens

Since the winter break Caen have been red hot and even came from 0-2 down against PSG last weekend in dramatic fashion. They are playing some great attacking football which is lovely on the eye. This is a match they really should be winning, even if Lens aren’t quite as bad as their ligue position suggests. Les Sang et Or have put in a few good performances, but lack final third clinicality and converting chances. That’s an issue here because Caen will probably score at least twice against a leaky defence. I think this’ll be a really open and exciting game, and one which Caen will ultimately edge. I like backing them and the overs here.

Prediction: Caen 3-1 Lens
Recommended bets: Caen -0.5 @ 2.05 4/10 & Over 2.5 goals @ 2.05 3/10

Friday Night Ligue 1 & 2 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

UPDATE:-

For those wondering why I have been quiet recently then fear not, I am fine. I just had an incredibly busy January, plus was generally doing a lot of mid season research projects. Besides, the French Ligues have been difficult to bet on this season, especially Ligue 2 which has been an absolute minefield at times…

Ajaccio – Auxerre

For me, Auxerre are one of the ‘teams to follow’ for the remainder of the season. They had a decent January window and have been playing quite well recently, hard to beat. I think if they take their chances tonight, they’ll get a result, but Corsica is a renowned difficult place to visit so it wouldn’t be particularly advisable to bet on them @ their current price. Ajaccio have been relatively poor all season so there chance is there for the visitors.

Prediction: Ajaccio 0-1 Auxerre NO BET

Arles – Brest

Arles are 10 points from safety, so time is running out for them. Things look a bit more settled with this team under new coach Victor Zvunka so perhaps there is some hope, but you couldn’t really back this team with monopoly money. Logically, Brest should win but they still have a number of injuries to contend with, a short week (they played on Monday), plus have a long travel down to the south of France. Nobody likes to play at Arles either, it’s an awful pitch and a morgue like atmosphere. Got the feeling for a surprise home win but I’ll refrain from betting.

Prediction: Arles 1-0 Brest NO BET

Angers – Laval

The hosts miss key striker Jonathan Kodjia, but should still have too much for Laval in this derby encounter. Along with Auxerre, I think Angers are a ‘team to follow’ for the rest of the season and they could make a serious assault on the promotion places. Their home form has generally been good, only top teams like Brest and Troyes have beaten them here. I have said all season that Laval are a poor unit and much worse than their results suggest. They have ground out a high number of draws this season but failure to beat 9 man Orleans last week is a major concern. Now that Christian Bekamenga has been sold, it’s difficult to see where their goals are going to come from. Angers should be able to take all 3 points tonight.

Prediction: Angers 2-0 Laval
Recommended bet: Angers -0.5 @ 2.09 4/10

Nancy – Chateauroux

This really should end up as a comfortable Nancy win, but there are a few factors which prevent me backing them pre game. Firstly, they are a -1 handicap, which is usually a terrible line to back in any French ligue. For some reason, teams rarely fully cover this line in Ligue 2 and struggle with favouritism. The other slight concern is that Chateauroux now have a new coach Cedric Daury who might potentially help improve the visitors. Logically though, he has a tough job on his hands, Roux are an appalling away side. I think it’s best to watch this game and see if there are any signs of improvement. If not, then back Nancy IR but pre match it’s probably sensible to swerve.

Prediction: Nancy 2-0 Chateauroux NO BET

Clermont – Creteil

This is a really difficult match to predict and a draw seems the most likely outcome. Both teams regularly finish up all square in games and I don’t see why tonight should be any different. I don’t think either of these teams has the ‘killer instinct’ to really push for 3 points late in games and will be too scared to lose. 0-0 or 1-1 has a very high chance of occurring.

Prediction: Clermont 1-1 Creteil NO BET

Dijon – GFCA

Dijon had a really sticky run at the start of 2015 but there were signs in their last home match that they might have turned the corner. They put in a very good performance vs Sochaux, and crucially won it thanks to a late goal which as fully deserved. They followed that up with a creditable away draw at Niort which keeps their scoreboard ticking over. This week, the whole Dijon coaching staff has been given an extension through to the end of the 2017 season, with an extra year guaranteed if they obtain a promotion. This has to be a feel good factor and worth something ahead of tonight’s match. GFC are one of those awkward teams who have regularly overachieved. They are an annoying bunch but I think Dijon have too much for them here if they play to their normal home ability.

Prediction: Dijon 1-0
Recommended bet: Dijon -0.5 @ 2.11 4/10
Orleans – Tours

Orleans are actually unbeaten in 7 games but I don’t think they are as good as their results suggest. This team might ultimately end up going down IMO or at very least will come close to the drop. Tonight, most of their first choice defence is suspended, whilst in other areas of the squad they have key injuries. Tours are a much improved side these days and should ultimately get out of trouble, They have a good attack force that should be able to take advantage of the Orleans backline. I think this will be an open game which the visitors take victory in and I like the +0.25 and over 2.25 bets.

Prediction: Orleans 1-2 Tours
Recommended bets: Tours +0.25 @ 1.87 4/10 & Over 2.25 goals @ 1.98 3/10

Valenciennes – Niort

Difficult one here because both teams have yet to win a match in 2015. Neither side will have much confidence at the moment and I expect this to be a really tight and cagey affair. I couldn’t possibly bet on this match because it’s so hard to call, but something like a draw is perhaps most likely. Neither team will want to lose this fixture and the first goal would be massive. This has all the markings of a potential stalemate.

Prediction: Valenciennes 0-0 Niort NO BET

Nice – Monaco

South coast derby which should be tighter than a nuns cu*t! Everyone knows about Monaco’s ridiculously good defensive record, whilst Nice have drawn their last three matches 0-0. I really can’t see many goals being scored and unless the deadlock is broken early then the whole style of the match should be defensive. Monaco tend to do well in these sort of fixtures so if either side is to win, I’d favour them slightly. But with a CL match against Arsenal coming up on the horizon it’d be hard to back them. 0-0 potential here and not a match I really want to get involved in.

Prediction: Nice 0-0 Monaco NO BET