Ligue 1 Tips: Lyon the smart bet to show their true potential

After another winner last weekend, James Eastham picks out the smartest bets across the latest round of matches in France's top flight...

Nantes ready to trip up the champions

Lille vs Nantes (12th vs 11th)
Sat, 16:00 GMT
Live on Betfair Live Video

Ligue 1 champions Lille are worth opposing at an odds-on price when they host Nantes on Saturday afternoon.

Jocelyn Gourvennec's players have had one of their better weeks of a difficult season but are still not worth supporting at 1.70 to collect all three points.

Lille took a significant step towards a place in the Champions League Round of 16 with their 1-0 home win against Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday night.

That victory means Lille head a difficult European pool containing Salzburg, Sevilla and Wolfsburg with just one matchday to go.

Domestically, however, Lille have blown hot and cold all season and that's a major concern heading into this match.

It's been significantly colder than hot in recent weeks: Lille are without a win in their last five league outings (W0-D3-L2).

At home they're difficult to beat, but their W4-D4-L1 record at their Stade Pierre-Mauroy home across all of their Ligue 1 and Champions League games makes a mockery of their odds-on price.

Visitors Nantes arrive in north-eastern France with arguments in their favour.

First, they have good team news: centre-back Nicolas Pallois and winger Moises Simon return after missing the side's last game, meaning no guaranteed starters are absent for manager Antoine Kombouare.

A front line containing Simon, former France youth playmaker Ludovic Blas and striker Randal Kolo Muani has the potential to cause problems for the Lille back four.

Second, Nantes will draw confidence from how they performed against PSG last weekend.

They lost 3-1 but fought back hard after being outplayed in the opening 45 minutes and there were positives to draw from the afternoon.

Their showing against Paris will rightly persuade the visitors that they're capable of getting something against more limited opposition this weekend.

Lyon ready to show their true worth

Montpellier vs Lyon (9th vs 10th)
Sun, 16:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

Lyon have a great opportunity to kick-start their season when they travel to face Montpellier on Sunday afternoon.

The international break and abandonment of Lyon's home match against Marseille last weekend when Dimitri Payet was hit by a missile thrown from the crowd means most of Lyon's top players will be champing at the bit to get out on the pitch.

Manager Peter Bosz selected a scratch side for Lyon's 3-1 Europa League win at Brondby on Thursday night so the big names make their return here.

Given only snippets of action in recent weeks, Lucas Paqueta, Karl Toko Ekambi and other star names such as fit-again striker Moussa Dembele will all be on show at Stade de la Mosson.

The fact that Lyon won so impressively in midweek despite not fielding many of their regular starters - teenager Ryan Cherki was one of those to take advantage, scoring twice to underline the rich promise he has - will keep everyone on their toes.

Lyon may be languishing in mid-table but they are better than they have shown so far this season and this will be a great opportunity to prove that point.

Hosts Montpellier are above Lyon in the standings although that's partly down to having played a game more. Unlike Lyon, they've played close to the limit of their potential this season so far and mid-table's likely to be as good as it gets for them.

Against a fresh, focused Lyon keen to make up for lost time, Olivier Dall'Oglio's hosts will struggle to avoid defeat.

The timing is right for Lyon to produce a big performance so they're the selection.

With Lyon 1.7 to win, consider backing the visitors on the Asian Handicap.

With our pick, you'll get your stakes back if Lyon win by a single goal, and make a profit if Lyon win by two or more goals. 

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