Ligue 1 Tips: Bordeaux to mount strong defence while Nice have upper hand in St Etienne

With a healthy profit from his 2020-21 selections so far James Eastham reveals the smart picks on the latest round of matches in France's top flight...

Back fours on top in Velodrome clash

Marseille vs Bordeaux (10th vs 9th)
Sat, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 2 and Betfair Live Video

For French football fans of a certain age this match has a classic late 1980s vibe about it but while there'll be no warring presidents or Cadillacs in the car park it should be an absorbing encounter.

Given the playing patterns and results of the two teams, the smart selection is backing Under 2.5 Goals Marseille have scored just seven times in their opening six matches of the season and struggled to break down well-organised defences. That's exactly what they're likely to face here, and the absence through suspension of creator-in-chief Dimitri Payet merely makes their job harder.

Marseille may also have one eye on their opening Champions League group game away to Olympiacos next Wednesday evening (for a full guide to the Ligue 1 teams' chances in the Champions League, click here).

Bordeaux have scored just six times in their opening six games but a more revealing stat lies in their goals against column: with just two goals conceded thus far les Girondins have the division's joint-best defensive record. Manager Jean-Louis Gasset will set up his side to be difficult to beat and Bordeaux have shown they can make good on that gameplan.

Nine of 12 games involving these sides have had Under 2.5 Goals so far this season, so take advantage of the big price of 1.8 available on that selection.

Visitors Brest the smart selection

Nantes vs Brest (16th vs 11th)
Sun, 14:00 BST
Live on Betfair Live Video

Nantes are clear favourites but little in the form of these two teams justifies the price of 2.14 on the hosts.

Nantes have picked up just five points (W1-D2-L3) from their opening six matches and that sole victory over Nimes (2-1) was the only occasion so far where Nantes have outplayed their opponents. Few of Nantes' better players have found any meaningful form yet this season and deadline-day signings Sebastien Corchia (Sevilla) and Jean-Kevin Augustin (Red Bull Leipzig via a loan at Leeds United) have played so little football over the past 12 months they're unlikely to markedly improve the team any time soon.

Visitors Brest have played a more entertainingly effective brand of football to date: they have four more points (W3-D0-L3) on the board than Nantes and played well against top sides Monaco (1-0) and Marseille (2-3). Manager Olivier Dall'Oglio (pictured above) has a strong squad to pick from and will be confident that his players will avoid defeat if they replicate the performances they've produced up until now.

A lay of Nantes, Brest on the Draw No Bet market or Brest with a small start on the Asian Handicap market are the smart selections.

Back four worries for St Etienne

St Etienne vs Nice (7th vs 8th)
Sun, 16:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

St Etienne's defensive woes are the key ahead of this game and make visitors Nice the smart bet to get something this trip to Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

The £31.5 million sale of Wesley Fofana to Leicester City towards the end of the transfer window has left a big hole at the heart of the St Etienne defence and they were dealt a further blow when left-back Yvann Macon - a revelation during the opening weeks of the season despite left-back not being his natural position - suffered serious injury on France U21 duty that will rule him out for the rest of the season.

With two members of their best back four no longer available St Etienne look vulnerable and Nice are well-placed to take advantage. Patrick Vieira's visitors have blown hot and cold this season but their potential is obvious: France U21 striker Amine Gouiri has been excellent so far, and the deadline-day addition of France U21 from central midfield.

These two sides are tied on 10 points heading into the game but Nice have more factors in their favour. Back Nice to win at 3.4 or support the visitors with a small start on the Asian Handicap market. 

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