PSG Closes in on Title
Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe got on the scoresheet in Paris Saint-Germain’s 5-1 dismantling of Lorient, which brought them one step closer to the Ligue 1 title. PSG are widely expected to be crowned champions come May, but there’s a tight race for the Champions League places. The Ligue 1 betting odds favor Marseille and Rennes, but Nice and Strasbourg could certainly sneak in.
Matchweek 31 is also one that could change the complexion of the bottom of the table. Four of the five teams battling to avoid relegation will match up against each other this weekend and three points will be highly coveted.
Scramble for Champions League Places
Second-place Marseille fell behind early at Saint-Etienne last Sunday. OM came roaring back and got an important 4-2 win. Marseille have scored 10 goals on their three-game winning streak and most Ligue 1 soccer predictions have them finishing top-three this season.
A win over Montpellier, winners of just one of their last five matches, would go a long way in OM’s bid for the Champions League. The over/under goal total is set at 2½ but the last three Ligue 1 meetings between these teams have finished with four or more goals.
Rennes may not have been able to extend their five-game winning streak at Nice on Saturday, but they did manage to salvage a point. Martin Terrier scored for a third consecutive match and he could very well win the Golden Boot. A match at Reims on Saturday may not seem so difficult, but Rennes are winless vs. The Red and Whites in the last seven meetings.
Earlier this season, Reims picked up a surprising 2-0 win over Rennes on the road. Plus, Reims are unbeaten in their last four home matches. While Rennes may look enticing at -120 given recent form, I’d be cautious taking them this weekend.
The holder of Ligue 1’s longest current undefeated streak, Strasbourg are just two points behind third-place Rennes. Unbeaten in their last eight, Ludovic Ajorque and Strasbourg have an enormous match vs. Lyon coming up. Strasbourg does have a bit of an advantage given that Lyon plays in the Europa League quarterfinals at West Ham on Thursday.
The man who sent Cameroon to the World Cup, Karl Toko Ekambi, will also be missing for OL. The Ligue 1 betting odds very slightly favor Strasbourg in a pick’em and they haven’t lost at home since December. However, Lyon are unbeaten in the last seven Ligue 1 head-to-head meetings and have scored three goals in the last three. Don’t necessarily expect a repeat as Strasbourg have kept six clean sheets in their last eight matches.
Christoph Galtier’s Nice were in second place for much of the season but have picked up just six points in their last five matches. I certainly wouldn’t count them out of the top-three race, but they need wins in short order. They’re underdogs for their Sunday matchup at Lens and are winless in their last four road matches.
Lens are very inconsistent, though, and haven’t defeated a fellow top-half team for three months. Nice have only allowed two or more goals in two of their last 17 matches in all competitions, so Lens under 1½ is an interesting one.
Bottom of Table Could Look Very Different
While the big clubs fight for a place in European competition, a bunch of teams are trying their best just to stay in the league. On Sunday, the bottom two teams in the league, Bordeaux and Metz, will face off in a match that could have huge consequences for the relegation race.
Bordeaux, the six-time Ligue 1 winners, haven’t been relegated for over 30 years, but last year’s bankruptcy has decimated the club. They’re winless in their last eight matches and have conceded, by far, the most goals in Ligue 1. As a silver lining, they kept their first shutout of the season vs. Lille last weekend, but thry haven’t scored in their last four matches.
Ligue 1 betting tips have suggested avoiding Bordeaux all season and I certainly can’t trust them, even if they’re playing at home vs. a team that hasn’t won since January. I do expect both teams to get on the scoresheet, though, and the last meeting finished in a 3-3 draw.
Currently in the relegation playoff spot, Saint-Etienne would overtake Lorient and escape the relegation zone if they’re able to beat them on Friday. Since Pascal Dupraz took over as manager, Saint-Etienne have been much better, compiling a 4-5-3 record and scoring in eight of their last nine.
Lorient were trounced 5-1 by PSG last Sunday and are winless in their last three home matches. However, they have managed to keep clean sheets in three of their last five. The Ligue 1 betting odds favor Lorient on Friday and Saint-Etienne are missing leading scorer Wahbi Khazri. This is still one that could go either way and the Greens have shown marked improvement under Dupraz.