The hosts are actually unbeaten in 12 ligue games. Ironically, the last time they tasted defeat was against Monaco way back in November. I’ve personally been really impressed with Nantes since the winter break. They’ve played some nice football, often very positive in style. It’s like they are a changed team and coach Michel de Zakarian is willing to gamble more, opting for an open style of play. Monaco are also rarely beaten, suffering Continue reading →
I will be releasing previews as the day progresses. In the meantime, if anyone would like to listen to me on the Allsportsbetting podcast then click the link here http://www.allsportsbettingpod.com/
Nice – Bastia
This should be an extremely fiery Mediterranean derby between two teams who absolutely hate each other. Whenever these two sides meet, there tends to be controversy, crowd issues, loads of bad tackles and a ton of commitment from both outfits. I’m expecting a very stop-start game and I’d be surprised if this fixtur Continue reading →
Both teams played in the midweek EL on Thursday night so it’s a tough ask to now perform in the early Sunday kick off. I don’t expect this to be a very entertaining affair and both could be quite sluggish, lacking energy. OM haven’t won at home in the ligue since September 13th, which is a truly horrendous run. Yet they are odds-on here! Silly price but sooner or later they will win again here and I prefer to avoid betting on this game.
Caen – Rennes
I was tempted by Caen DNB but in the end decided to refrain from betting. Caen have lost 6 of their last 8 games and are just in the middle of a sticky unreliable patch. However, Rennes haven’t looked that great yet under Rolland Courbis and both of their away performances have been poor since he took charge. The price on Caen is big, you can get 1.95 on them DNB. This is juicy and value, but I’m just not convinced by them at the moment so will avoid the match.
Lille – Lyon
I was tempted by over 2 goals here but ultimately I’ve opted to avoid betting on the contest. Lyon have been playing some very open football recently and are actually in good form. The problem is they will likely come up against a resolute defence here. Lille tend to play very tightly against the ‘big’ teams in this division. Plus, in recent weeks 7 of their last 8 games have ended under 2.5. I think Lyon will have a lot of possession and probably create more chances but maybe Lille can graft out a result.
De Graafschap – Vitesse
Vitesse finally produced a decent performance plus a few goals by easily beating Heerenveen 3-0 last week. It will be interesting to see if they kick on from that result because prior to that they’d been really struggling to fire in the final third. I’ve got a feeling this’ll be a difficult fixture for them facing a hard working DG. For the hosts, second bottom is within reach of them now after Cambuur’s shocking form. Ultimately I think Vitesse will win today, but they are no bankers.
Utrecht – Willem II
The big problem that Willem II have is scoring goals. Each of their last 3 matches have all ended 0-0 but their performance levels haven’t been too bad. If they can finally convert chances then perhaps Utrecht could be in for a difficult afternoon. But until we see that then the most likely outcome is a home win to nil. I’m not going to bet on this fixture however because my instinct tells me Willem II could produce a shock.
Ajax – Excelsior
I’m expecting Ajax to win this match comfortably. They certainly need to match PSV’s victory against Heracles on Saturday night and Excelsior are unlikely to produce much of a test. Ajax have looked much better in their last two matches, beating Feyenoord & Groningen. So if they keep playing to that standard then it’s just a question of how many they’ll win by today. The visitors are an awful side who lack quality and often struggle to score goals. I think backing Ajax on a -2 asian handicap looks a good option. At very worst they should win by a couple, but overall I’m expecting them to put their foot down and make a statement.
Incredibly, Feyenoord have lost seven consecutive Eredivisie matches a run which must surely come to an end here. Gio Van Bronckhorst is under huge pressure and his players simply have to deliver for him in this fixture. On paper, they should have few problems, but Roda have been an improved side in 2016 and are capable of keeping it tight. There’s no way I’d be backing Feyenoord on a -1.25 handicap but I will predict them to win the game. Their quality levels on paper should ultimately be enough.
I have previewed the early French games today and will be posting the evening match previews later in the afternoon. I have produced another podcast which highlight all of my picks + analysis and here is the link to the page its hosted on http://www.allsportsbettingpod.com/#!latest-podcasts/e9any
I’ll be back with full written previews later in the day, but below here is a podcast I’ve produced with my associate Kevin Harper on ASBpod. For more, take a look at the new ASB website. http://www.allsportsbettingpod.com
Auxerre – Ajaccio
Both teams have been in fairly good recent form so this should be a good game. Auxerre have been noticeably more positive since the winter break and have been involved in a lot of high scoring contests. All of their last 6 matches have actually contained over 2.5 goals, therefore it’s a surprise to see the goal line as low as 2.0 for this fixture, and at a decent price. There’s a slight doubt that Ajaccio will come here looking for a 0-0, but they themselves have been playing more freely of late and their goalscoring touch has returned. A push might come into play and something like a 1-1 draw is quite possible. But I really think the overs on this 2.0 line are worth backing based on what I’ve seen of these teams so far in 2016. In terms of match result, I’d say Auxerre are more likely to win. Ajaccio have been much improved on the road in recent weeks, but historically they can never be relied upon much away from home.
Prediction: 2-1 Recommended bet: Over 2 goals @ 1.85
Brest – Red Star
The visitors have the best away record in the entire division, losing just once on the road all season! Their statistics are superb and to have only conceded 5 away goals all campaign is a magnificent achievement. Red Star know how to keep things tight and they are a very tough team to break down, highly organised and disciplined. I’d be surprised if they lost here tonight because Brest aren’t really a team I rate that much. The Breton outfit have won back to back games, but look who they’ve been against – Bourg-en-Bresse & Niort, two sides who are in really poor form. This will be a much tougher test, although Red Star are missing two regular defenders to suspension, Jeanvier and Palun. So maybe Brest can score one goal but I don’t think they’ll win on the night. A draw seems most likely and it’s not really a game I’m particularly interested betting in.
Clermont – Niort
The hosts have gone off the boil a bit, losing 4 of their last 6 games. But defeats against Nancy, Nimes Ajaccio and Auxerre are understandable at the moment and I won’t hold too much against them. Here at home, Corinne Diacre’s side are usually very good and she possesses an excellent record at Le Stade Gabriel Montpied since she took charge. An 8-3-2- home record is good enough for me to back them -0.25 tonight. Niort just look bang out of form to me and their recent performances have been awful. Scoring just one goal in their last five matches hasn’t helped matters, but just overall in general this side seems to be lacking confidence all over the field. Coach, Regis Brouard is usually quite negative and facing his old team he’ll be nervous about losing. A draw is always possible in any Niort match which is why I’m taking the -0.25 here, but this looks like a great chance for Clermont to get back to winning ways.
Neither of these sides convince me right now. Evian’s only recent victories have been against Paris FC & Niort, outfits who are bang out of form. Bourg meanwhile, have failed to score in 6 of their last 9 games and seem to have lost their initial season identity. Before the winter break, their approach was refreshing and they were very positive, taking the game to the opposition. They are still trying to ‘have a go’ but something isn’t working for them in the final third of the field anymore. Tonight, matters aren’t helped by the fact that key striker Pape Sane is injured. Evian have been slightly improved recently and I’d give them a bit of an edge. But this looks set to be a low quality, low scoring affair on a likely difficult pitch. It could be a 0-0 contender in which both sides are too nervous to take many risks.
Laval – Dijon
There is a very strange H2H record whenever these two teams meet. None of the last 12 fixtures have ended in away wins, and in just one of those matches did the away team even score a goal! But I am not personally much of a believer in past H2Hs, it’s better looking at the here and now regarding form and other factors. In this instance, Dijon are by far the better side and look set for a comfortable promotion. They are unbeaten in their last 12 games and in most games they dominate possession, create tons of chances and in recent times have been conceding few goals. Laval have failed to score a goal in 13 of the 14 halves they’ve played in 2016. Their scoring ability has seriously gone downhill and it might only take a 1-0 to beat them tonight. Les Tangos are always capable of keeping a tight ship and something like a 0-0 can’t be ruled out, but overall I’d be surprised if Dijon don’t register a win. They are a decent price on the -0.25 handicap too, which is handy in case the draw did come into play.
Nancy have only been average since the winter break, winning just 1 of their last 6 matches. Their biggest issue has been keeping it tight at the back, picking up just one clean sheet during this period, shipping too many goals. But they couldn’t have wished for an easier match to get back on track facing the hopeless Paris FC. The visitors are an awful side and despite a change of management and loads of player recruits, nothing is changing for them. Their inability to score goals is the biggest concern and they head into this fixture without a goal in their last five games. Nancy will totally dominate possession in this match and should control the game from the outset. It looks like the only chance Paris FC will have of getting a result is a 0-0, but I can’t see them keeping out Nancy for 90 mins. Taking the hosts -1 on an asian handicap makes sense to me. They might only win by one goal, but nothing would be lost if that were to occur. Realistically, Nancy should breeze to a comfortable success and get back on track following a slightly tricky period.
The hosts are winless in their last seven games and remain firmly in trouble, but recent signs have been more positive. The Coupe de France win against Monaco was a serious boost to all at the club, and they followed it up with a 2-2 draw at Dijon. It’s true they blew a 2-0 lead in that fixture, but what impressed me most was how willing the players were to put in a ‘proper shift’ and seriously graft hard for the cause. If they keep playing like that then Sochaux should escape relegation. I think this’ll be a fairly tight game and won’t contain many goals. It might not be for lack of chances, it’s just both outfits have major issues converting chances into goals! Lens are a good solid side and can play well on the road, but they don’t dominate matches like they should. My personal gut feeling is that Sochaux will claim a slender victory, but it looks like a match to avoid betting on.
Tours – Valenciennes
I think Tours will win this match but their price is too short to consider betting on. Valenciennes aren’t a side I enjoy watching and their sole intent will be to come here and avoid defeat. They have to be respected on the road, and proved that on Monday night when they beat Lens 1-0. But I just wonder how much that victory took out of their tank. VA were massively under pressure for most of the contest and might struggle tonight on the back of a short week of rest. I certainly don’t expect this to be much of a classic and goals should be at a premium. A 0-0 wouldn’t be a complete surprise in which both teams cancel each other out. I think Tours will just sneak a 1-0 victory but they are unbackable @ around the 1.70 mark. The bookies badly overrate their chances here and the minimum price on the hosts should be 1.95
Bordeaux – Nice
I’d say Bordeaux are one of the hardest teams to predict in any league right now. It seems logic goes out of the window when they are involved right now. One big problem they’ve had recently is conceding too many goals but that might not be such an issue tonight facing a Nice team who don’t have Hatem Ben Arfa available. Maybe it might make the visitors gel together more as a unit though, sometimes they are over-reliant on his playmaking ability and it’s time some other players now stood up. As usual, Bordeaux have a huge amount of injuries and suspensions, but I’ve seen this before and they inexplicably play well when depleted. It’s rare I’d say this but I haven’t got a clue. This could end absolutely anything and I have no feel on match result or even something like over/under. It could be worth watching though in case some clear patterns develop for an in-running bet.
Den Haag – Zwolle
The Friday night Dutch match has a recent habit of ending under 2.5 goals but sooner or later this will change. Both teams are naturally attack minded and whenever they meet, there’s usually a bunch of goals. Den Haag have been noticeably more positive since the winter break and this has served them well considering their win % has dramatically improved. Here at home they remain rooted on just two victories and this place isn’t the fortress it was last season. Zwolle have had big injury problems in defence all season and it’s extremely rare that they keep a clean sheet. The best method of defence for them is to attack. So I think this’ll be an end to end contest in which both teams have a go. I can’t resist backing over 2.5. The price is generally around the 1.75 mark and that’s too big for me to refuse.
Prediction: 2-2 Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.75
This should be a decent match to watch between a couple of sides who like to attack. Lyon have gradually improved under the management of Bruno Genesio, winning their last couple of matches by a 3-0 scoreline. For this match Clement Grenier is injured again but the rest of the OL squad is in good condition. You’d think that the players are a lot more confident now and we should see them playing fairly open, expressive football. The visitors Caen are a tough side to judge and anything is possible with them. But a run of 5 defeats in 7 games shows that they can be quite fragile mentally. Caen should be what I call an ‘over’ team but for one reason or another too many of their matches end under for my liking. A combination of missed chances or Remy Vercoutre making a string of saves has resulted in lower goal tallies than what should be. I think Lyon will win and I predict this match should contain a few goals, but overall I see no value betting. OL are a -1.25 handicap and the goal line is 2.75. Both are too much and pre game I simply have to swerve the fixture. But this could be a good match to strike in-running where some better value bets might become available.
St Etienne – Monaco
This is 4th vs 2nd and might be a tight encounter. St Etienne have showed more attacking intent last week against Bordeaux, but I sense that was an exception and the match only opened up because of early goals. This will not be such an end to end affair because Monaco always have the potential to tighten things up and slow the pace of a game down. Monaco don’t always play that well, in fact they are often below par in terms of performance. But you have to respect their ability to grind out results. All season they’ve only lost four ligue games and the south coast club just have a knack of scoring at the right time in games, they have great resilience. In midweek however, Jardim’s side suffered a shock cup defeat against Ligue 2 side Sochaux so whether or not that’ll affect their confidence, who knows. Thus could be a very drawish match but I have a gut feeling Sainte will sneak it. You could even argue their price is a little bit of value. But I know better than to bet against Monaco, so I’ll give the match a swerve.
Nice – Marseille
The big injury news here is that Hatem Ben Arfa is out for a month and this is a major blow for Nice. It seems they only play well when he plays well so somehow Claude Puel’s men are going to have to cope without him. Nice are a frustrating team in that they create a lot of chances but rarely convert enough of them. But maybe without Ben Arfa then their amount of chances will decrease and it will help OM that they can focus their attention on some other Nice players. Marseille haven;t lost on the road since early October and in general they love playing away from home. It suits their style and they have far more confidence without the Velodrome crowd on their back. This should be a good match on the eye to watch and my initial thought was to back the overs. But both sides have a tendency to not convert enough of their opportunities, whilst at the back both keepers are fairly strong too. I’m going to go with an OM prediction but Nice aren’t a bad side and I’ll give them some respect. Besides, it’s never usually a great idea to back away sides in France, even though on paper OM have perhaps the 2nd or 3rd strongest side in the division.