French Ligue 1 Season Gets Underway Friday
Ligue 1 is back and Paris Saint-Germain has a huge target on their backs in 2022-23. While they’re the league’s premier team, there will be plenty of other intriguing matchups to watch and bet on this season. The Ligue 1 Champions League race went down to the wire in 2021-22 and there’s no shortage of contenders this season. We’ll cover five key matchups for betting on Ligue 1 Matchday 1.
Lyon vs Ajaccio
The Ligue 1 opener features Lyon vs newly promoted Ajaccio on Friday. The Corsicans had the most dominant defense in Ligue 2 last season, conceding just 19 goals in 38 matches. Whether that translates to the top tier is another story.
Lyon, on the other hand, will try to put a disappointing 2021-22 season behind them. OL finished in eighth place last season but sits at +1400 Ligue 1 future odds this season. As 1½-goal favorites, they’re expected to win on Friday and are priced at -260 odds to do so.
The O/U goal total currently stands at three and Lyon does have some dangerous offensive weapons. Ajaccio didn’t come up against any attacking players comparable to Karl Toko Ekambi, Moussa Dembele, and Houssem Aouar in Ligue 2 last season.
Strasbourg vs Monaco
Strasbourg host Monaco on Saturday in one of the more interesting matchups of Ligue 1 Matchday 1. Under Julien Stephan, Strasbourg was one of the league’s biggest overachievers last season. They finished in sixth place, which was their best Ligue 1 finish since 1980.
They’ll take on a Monaco team that was Ligue 1’s best side for the last third of the 2021-22 season. After hovering around mid-table, Monaco went on a run of 10 games unbeaten to close out the season.
In this pick’em, the oddsmakers show Monaco as the more likely side to win, at +150. Strasbourg is priced at +170 odds and a draw is listed at +240. Strasbourg was undefeated vs Monaco last season, though, and are the last team to defeat the Monegasques.
Clermont vs PSG
One of the best Ligue 1 betting tips last season was taking Paris Saint-Germain at home, where they gained 51 of a possible 57 points. However, they’ll start this campaign on the road vs a Clermont side that narrowly avoided relegation last season. PSG looked scary in last weekend’s 4-0 Trophee des Champions win over Nantes without Kylian Mbappe.
Lionel Messi may have had his best game in a PSG kit last Sunday and Mbappe is available for this match. PSG are -260 road favorites and are expected to get a season-opening victory. Perhaps their 1½ -goal spread is worth consideration after outsourcing Clermont 10-1 last season in two meetings.
Clermont’s leading scorer from last season, Mohamed Bayo, is off to Lille and they won just four matches at home last season. This is about as favorable a season opener as PSG could hope for under first-year coach Christophe Galtier.
Marseille vs Reims
Marseille could be one of PSG’s biggest challengers this season and they open up vs Reims on Sunday. OM have invested a lot of money into their squad this season, completing permanent transfers for eight different players. They’ve also taken Arsenal left-back Nuno Tavares on loan and have a deep squad in 2022-23.
Reims are short on household names, especially after Hugo Ekitike made a loan switch to PSG. No other Reims player scored more than five goals last season but they did finish in a respectable 12th place.
Both matches between these teams were close last season. Marseille drew with Reims at home and picked up a 1-0 win on the road. Interestingly enough, Marseille hasn’t defeated Reims at the Stade Velodrome in their last four attempts. Still, Marseille comes in as -205 favorites.
Toulouse vs Nice
Toulouse lost just five matches last season en route to a Ligue 2 title and promotion. English-born Rhys Healey led the league with 19 goals and he’ll get plenty of opportunities in Ligue 1 this season. The odds imply this should be one of the most competitive games of Ligue 1 Matchday 1.
Nice just completed the signing of Aaron Ramsey from Juventus and Lucien Favre is back as manager. In this pick’em, they’re favored at +140 odds to win. Toulouse, who was a Ligue 1 club for 17 consecutive seasons between 2003 and 2020, sits at +185 odds.
Branco van den Boomen is another player to watch on Toulouse as he registered 33 goal contributions last season. Nice’s Andy Delort and Amine Gouiri combined for 26 goals last season and OGC won 10 of 19 road matches in 2021-22.Follow us on Twitter