Ligue 1 Betting: Neymar ready to sparkle on PSG return
The world's most expensive footballer and his team-mate Kylian Mbappe look set to produce fireworks at Parc des Princes on Friday night, writes James Eastham...
Osimhen absence to prove fatal
PSG vs Lille (1st vs 5th) Fri, 19:45 GMT Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video
Lille face an extremely difficult Friday evening at Parc des Princes as they go into their game against Ligue 1 champions and runaway leaders PSG without their seven-goal leading scorer Victor Osimhen. The 21-year-old Nigeria international striker has been outstanding for Lille this season and it's hard to see the Dogues having a cutting edge at the top of the pitch without him.
No other player in the Lille squad has managed more than three goals this season and this is an obvious problem for Christophe Galtier's visitors. Understudy striker Loic Remy has the guile and wit to cause problems with his touch and movement but he's far from prolific these days despite actually managing a decent goals-per-minutes record over the past 18 months.
PSG will have one eye on next Tuesday's Champions League visit to face Real Madrid in the Spanish capital but they should still have enough quality to win comfortably here. Kylian Mbappe is expected to feature after missing France's 2-0 win in Albania earlier this week through illness and Neymar returns from injury to play. For all the criticism the Brazil star faces his record in Ligue 1 has actually been pretty good this season: he's scored four times in five appearances at a rate of a goal every 112 minutes.
As ever PSG are short odds to win at home. Rather than backing Thomas Tuchel's side at 1.30 to collect all three points, we support them on the Asian Handicap. The hosts are available with a -1.5 & -2.0 start at around evens. With this selection you'll make a profit as long as PSG win by two or more goals.
Goals at both ends the smart selection
Toulouse vs Marseille (19th vs 2nd) Sun, 20:00 GMT Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video
Thanks to consecutive 2-1 wins over highly-fancied Lyon and Lille in their last two outings before the recent international break Marseille go into this game in second place in the table. Manager Andre Villas-Boas' stated objective before the campaign kicked off was to finish in the top three this season so he'll be quietly pleased at the way things are going as l'OM prepare for this trip to south-west France.
Not that everything's necessarily as rosy as the league standings suggests, however: Marseille have an overall negative goal difference, partially a result of the fact that they have won by more than one goal just once this season. Another close game is on the cards this weekend.
Rather than backing Toulouse to win or laying Marseille - and there's more information on exactly what backing and laying means here - backing 'Yes' in the Both teams to Score? market looks a smarter selection. Marseille are prone to conceding goals - they've kept just four clean sheets in 13 Ligue 1 games this season, with both teams scoring in seven of those 13 games.
The likelihood of Marseille conceding this weekend is increased by the fact that two of their top three centre-backs - Alvaro Gonzalez and Duje Caleta Car - are absent. Toulouse look capable of taking advantage of Marseille's defensive problems while being fragile defensively themselves: since Antoine Kombouare was appointed Toulouse manager last month, Toulouse's games have averaged 4.0 goals a game, with both teams scoring in three of those four matches.