Ligue 1 Betting: Class will tell as Lyon and Marseille set to triumph

After two winners from three selections last weekend James Eastham reveals the best picks on the latest round of matches in France's top flight...

Improving OM the smart selection

Nimes vs Marseille
Fri, 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

The slight improvement noted at Marseille over the past 10 days makes them a good selection to win at Nimes on Friday night.

Andre Villas-Boas' side ran out 3-1 winners at Nantes last weekend. The tone was set by an early Florian Thauvin goal (he's pictured below) and Marseille went on to produce one of their most convincing performances of the season to collect all three points.

L'OM were less impressive at home to Olympiakos in the Champions League on Tuesday night but still won 2-1 to claim their first victory of the group phase and that victory will have boosted confidence ahead of this trip.

Nimes go into the game on a run of five defeats from their last six matches. During that streak they've scored just twice and conceded 15 times.

Nimes' team news is poorer than Marseille's, too: left-back Birger Meling is out, combative midfielder Lucas Deaux is suspended and talismanic captain and centre-back Anthony Briancon is an injury doubt.

All factors suggest Marseille are the smart pick at just under evens.


Twin totems the key for visitors

Nantes vs Strasbourg
Sun, 14:00 GMT
Live on Betfair Live Video

Strasbourg's last three performances have been better than their earlier efforts and so results look set to follow for Thierry Laurey's struggling side.

The Alsatian outfit are in the relegation zone but there has been much more fluency and potency to their recent displays, suggesting they should pick up something at Nantes this weekend.

Three games ago Strasbourg were unlucky to lose 1-0 at home to Marseille. They followed up by causing an excellent Montpellier side real problems, losing 4-3. Then last weekend, they earned a deserved point at home to Rennes, drawing 1-1.

Strasbourg's twin totems in attack are the team's main talking point: 6ft 4in Ludovic Ajorque is a danger in the air and on the ground, while £9 million deadline day signing Habib Diallo scored 12 Ligue 1 goals for a struggling Metz side last season and makes Strasbourg even more dangerous in the final third.

Nantes have won just three of their opening 12 league games (W3-D4-L5) and their mediocre record is a fair reflection of what an average side they are.

With little difference in quality between these teams, opposing Nantes - whose price of 2.2 to win looks too short - is the smart way to play.

Lyon's fine run set to continue

Metz vs Lyon
Sun, 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video

Lyon look a force to be reckoned with in this division again and are a strong selection to beat Metz this weekend.

With no European football to distract them, OL are fully focused on doing well in domestic competition and have the potential to finish in the top three.

There's been a real purpose and rhythm to the football Rudi Garcia's side have played as they've climbed the table in recent weeks. They're unbeaten in nine games (W5-D4-L0) and their win rate has improved as that run has gone on, with Lyon collecting maximum points from five of their last six fixtures.

There's more competition for places in midfield at Lyon than there was last season and £11 million Zimbabwe international Tino Kadewere has improved Garcia's options in attack.

Operating wide on the right or through the middle, 24-year-old Kadewere - Ligue 2 top scorer at Le Havre last season - has adapted well, scoring four times in his first 515 minutes on the pitch in top flight.

Metz are well-organised and hard-working but short of quality in the final third without six-goal top scorer Ibrahima Niane, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season through serious injury.

The hosts are unlikely to shut out Kadewere, Memphis Depay and the rest for the entire 90 minutes as Lyon have such depth, quality and variety in attack.

If the 1.6 on a Lyon win is too short for you, consider backing the visitors on the Asian Handicap. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.

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