Ligue 1 Betting: PSG set to underline supremacy against title pretenders Lyon

After a clean sweep of three winners from three selections last weekend, James Eastham picks out the smartest bets on the latest round of games in France...

More misery on cards for Rennes

Nice vs Rennes (11th vs 9th)
Sun, Midday GMT
Live on BT Sport ESPN and Betfair Live Video

Nice manager Patrick Vieira paid the price for his side's poor start to the season when he was sacked last weekend and caretaker coach Adrian Ursea (pictured below) took charge for the first time in the 0-0 draw at Reims.

There were small signs of improvement in Nice's performance last Sunday. The players worked harder all over the pitch than they appeared to in their final outings under Vieira and there was a genuine desire to drive forward and look for the three points.

Ursea was assistant to ex-Nice boss Lucien Favre and is thought to have a good relationship with the Nice players, who regard him highly. Given the strength of this relationship and the talent in the Nice ranks, it's fair to expect further improvement in the coming weeks, starting with this weekend's home fixture against Rennes.

After finishing third last season Rennes were widely tipped to do well again this season following a significant summer outlay that saw them strengthen their squad in several positions. Yet they've struggled to cope with the twin challenge of competing domestically and in the Champions League.

Rennes have lost five of their last nine league games (W2-D2-L5), their only wins during that period coming against a struggling Lorient (currently 19th in the table) and narrowly over Brest (2-1).

Rennes manager Julian Stephan is under increasing pressure, and last weekend's tame 2-0 home defeat to Lens did nothing to lift the mood before they lost 3-1 at home to Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Nice are far from a shoo-in to win this weekend but they're clear underdogs - the hosts are 3.1 to win, with Rennes 2.5 and The Draw 3.5.

The large price on Nice throws up the opportunity to support the hosts with a 0 start on the Asian Handicap, or on the Draw No Bet market, with the two selections essentially being the same thing. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.

Strasbourg's improvement set to continue

Strasbourg vs Metz (18th vs 13th)
Sun, 14:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport ESPN and Betfair Live Video

We successfully backed Strasbourg to pick up points from their trip to Nantes last weekend and the emphatic nature of their 4-0 win over the Canaries underlines the clear improvement in the Alsatians' form that we alluded to in our preview.

Strasbourg have played some good football over the past month and are a strong selection to follow-up on last Sunday's triumph by collecting another three points against rivals Metz this weekend.

Beleaguered Strasbourg manager Thierry Laurey has earned some respite thanks to his side's improving form and finally found a system that suits his players. The twin threat of Ludovic Ajorque and Habib Diallo in attack is starting to reap rewards: both were on the scoresheet last weekend and they have the potential to develop into one of Ligue 1's most dangerous forward partnerships.

This weekend's opponents Metz lost 3-1 at home to Lyon last weekend and can have few complaints about the outcome of the match. When Lyon stepped it up after half-time, Metz had no answer, and could have lost more heavily.

Metz are now without a win in their last four games (W0-D2-L2) and have team news problems this weekend, too: with Ghana international centre-back John Boye suspended, the defence will find it a lot more difficult to stop Strasbourg's in-form strikers.

Strasbourg's price has come in a little during the week but the hosts are still worth supporting at odds-against.

Paris too strong for in-form visitors

PSG vs Lyon (1st vs 3rd)
Sun, 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video

While no-one doubts that PSG remain Ligue 1's strongest side, there are increasing hopes that for the first time in four seasons we may have a genuine title race on our hands.

With 13 games gone PSG, on 28 points, are only two points ahead of a chasing pack of five teams that all harbour genuine ambitions of staying the pace until Spring: Lille and Lyon have 26 points, Marseille (with two games in hand) 24 points, and Monaco 23 points.

As a result, the showdown between PSG and Lyon on Sunday night has the genuine feel of a meeting of title contenders. Yet this is an opportunity for PSG to highlight their supremacy and a victory for the club from the French capital is the most likely outcome.

The imperious manner in which they blew away Istanbul Basaksehir 5-1 this week to claim top spot in their Champions League spot shows Paris are in good shape heading into this game. Thomas Tuchel's players are now free to focus on domestic matters during a busy period of four Ligue 1 fixtures in 11 days that starts with this match.

Neymar was outstanding in Europe in midweek, and he and Kylian Mbappe are both expected to start this Sunday. Whenever the pair feature alongside one another domestically, PSG are virtually guaranteed to collect all three points as the duo are almost unplayable at this level.

Lyon have won five of their last six league outings, and are unbeaten in their last 10 Ligue 1 fixtures (W6-D4-L0). When they met arguably the second- and third-best opponents they'll face this season, however - Lille and Marseille - they were unable to do more than draw (both games finished 1-1), so their chances of avoiding defeat are small considering PSG are notably stronger than Lille and Marseille.

PSG are 1.66 to win so PSG with a deficit on the Asian Handicap is more appealing. For all their good form generally, Lyon have conceded in nine of their 13 league games this season, so the visitors' chances of shutting out Neymar and Mbappe rank between slim and negligible.



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