Ligue 1 Betting: Marseille ready to dazzle once again
One of France's great clubs are on a fantastic run of results and are an excellent bet to continue their resurgence this weekend, writes James Eastham...
More misery on cards for Metz
Metz vs Marseille (18th vs 2nd) Sat, 16:30 GMT Live on Betfair Live Video
The odds of 1.85 on a Marseille win over Metz this weekend suggest the market has not yet reacted properly to the fantastic form l'OM carry into this fixture. Andre Villas-Boas' players arrive in the Lorraine region on a six-match winning streak and will be confident of collecting another three points this Saturday afternoon.
The Portuguese boss of Marseille has done an excellent job on a budget of turning Marseille into genuine top-three contenders. Marseille have played some terrific football in recent weeks and there's a mood of calm and humility hanging over the club that you would normally not associate with this tumultuous Mediterranean port city.
Metz are 16 places and 19 points below Marseille in the Ligue 1 standings. They're without a win in their last eight matches in all competitions (W0-D5-L3) and their home record is an unimpressive W2-D3-L3. Given the form Marseille are in this is a fantastic opportunity to back one of the top sides in France at a good price.
Nice set to turn on style
Brest vs Nice (14th vs 13th) Sat, 19:00 GMT Live on Betfair Live Video
Nice are struggling for consistency but the exciting potential of the side makes them an appealing selection this weekend. Patrick Vieira (pictured above) and his players ran out 4-1 winners over Metz last weekend and if they are able to perform at around the same level this weekend they ought to return from this trip to north-west France with a draw or a win.
Wylan Cyprien was on the scoresheet twice in the win over Metz last weekend and has become an impressive driving force at the heart of midfield. The loss for several months to injury of Algeria international Youcef Atal is a blow, but in the shape of Kasper Dolberg, Ignatius Ganago, Adam Ounas and Alexis Claude-Maurice Nice have a good array of attacking talent.
Brest are awkward opponents and have lost just once at home all season (W4-D4-L1). Yet they've won just five times all season, too, and it's noticeable that most of their victories have come against moderate or weaker sides. Nice are 2.76 to win, and a good bet at 2.00 in the Draw No Bet market.
Goals the smart bet in Bordeaux
Bordeaux vs Strasbourg (5th vs 15th) Sun, 14:00 GMT Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video
An entertaining game is on the cards in Gironde on Sunday afternoon and goals are the smart bet. Bordeaux and Strasbourg are both better attacking than defensive sides and that ought to be borne out in the way that this game unfolds.
Eight of Bordeaux's games this season have had Over 2.5 Goals. In 10 of those 17 matches both teams scored. Bordeaux's 17 matches to date have averaged 2.82 goals. At home, following their 3-1 defeat at top-six rivals Marseille last weekend, manager Paulo Sousa will send out his players to be positive and to win.
Strasbourg's attitude was fairly negative until a sea change in early November. Manager Thierry Laurey decided to introduce more attacking tactics, and they've worked: Strasbourg have picked up 10 points from a possible 15, moving a couple of places up the table.
In those five games Strasbourg's goals count has changed dramatically: they've scored four times in three of those matches, conceded five goals in another one of their matches, and the average goals-per-game count across their five fixtures is an astonishing 4.6. Given the scoring patterns in games involving these two sides, the selections to consider are Over 2.5 Goals at 2.40 or 'Yes' in the Both teams to Score? market at 2.00.