Ligue 1 Betting: Cool PSG to claim points ahead of Champions League showdown
The leaders look set to stay on track in the league ahead of their crucial European return fixture against Borussia Dortmund, writes James Eastham...
High goals the smart bet
Nimes vs Marseille (18th vs 2nd) Friday, 19:45 GMT Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video
This promises to be an exciting Friday night encounter between hosts relishing the challenge of avoiding relegation and visitors looking to bounce back after their first defeat in 15 matches last weekend.
Nimes looked dead and buried at the bottom of the table for much of the first-half of the campaign but have improved in 2020: Bernard Blaquart's hosts are W4-D0-L1 from their last five matches, playing better football than we saw between August and December.
Set-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, they've integrated a couple of January signings (playmaker Yassine Benrahou and striker Nolan Roux) and also coped with injuries to some important performers. As a southern derby, this game attracts plenty of attention in the Gard region and the hosts will be able to count on the support of a large and noisy crowd (despite members of their Ultras being on strike at the moment).
Marseille suffered their first Ligue 1 defeat in 15 matches (W11-D3-L1) last weekend, losing 3-1 at home to Nantes. Conscious of how well his side have performed in recent months, however, manager Andre Villas-Boas (pictured below) spoke kindly of his players after the game. The Portuguese boss will be confident his team can bounce back given the quality and resilience Marseille have shown all season.
The hosts are 3.60 to win, with Marseille 2.26 and The Draw 3.50. High goals offer better betting opportunities, though: Nimes have scored in eight of their last 10 matches, with both teams finding the net in five of those 10 fixtures, and five of the 10 matches having Over 2.5 Goals.
Marseille's defending has improved in recent weeks but they are likely to take risks and leave gaps at the back as they look to make-up for last weekend's rare setback. Over 2.5 Goals is available at 2.30 with 'Yes' in the Both Teams to Score? market around 2.00. Both selections are worth considering.
Second-string PSG still too strong
PSG vs Dijon Saturday, 16:30 GMT Live on Betfair Live Video
PSG have a much bigger game to prepare for against Borussia Dortmund next week but ought to do enough to collect three points against Dijon on Saturday afternoon.
Thomas Tuchel's players host the Bundesliga outfit on Wednesday night looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the Champions League Last 16 first leg at the Signal Iduna Park 10 days ago. After that disappointing performance in Germany, PSG were hardly any more convincing in beating Bordeaux 4-3 in the league last weekend in a game that saw Neymar sent off. The Brazilian is suspended this weekend.
With the Dortmund game already on their minds it would be no surprise were PSG distracted this weekend, with rotation an option in certain positions for Tuchel. Yet PSG have stayed cool to collect the points against lesser opposition such as Dijon on many occasions in similar circumstances in recent seasons, and some of their back-up players - Layvin Kurzawa and Edinson Cavani, for example - have done better than the first-choice players in the past month.
Dijon are W2-D3-L2 in Ligue 1 since the start of the year and will be highly motivated to test themselves against France's top team. Yet the gulf in class was laid bare when PSG ran out 6-1 winners when the sides met in the French Cup in Dijon just a fortnight ago. Dijon have injury problems this weekend, too: playmaker Yassine Benzia and talented France U21 winger Mounir Chouiar are both out.
PSG are a short 1.16 to collect all three points on Saturday. Instead, look at 'Yes' in the PSG Win Both Halves market, which will be available at around evens close to kick-off. With this selection, treat both halves of football as separate matches and, if PSG to win both, you'll make a profit.