Ligue 1 Betting: Mbappe suspension will see PSG drop points

After two more winners last weekend James Eastham looks at the odds and picks out the smartest bets on the latest round of top-flight action in France...

Hosts can frustrate PSG

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

There are multiple reasons to side with Nice when they host PSG at the Allianz Riviera on Saturday night.

First, Nice have recent history of avoiding defeat at home to PSG: the sides played out a 0-0 draw at the same venue in the French Cup Last 16 before Nice went on to win 6-5 on penalties on January 31.

Second, Nice will be buzzing after taking their place in the French Cup final thanks to their 2-0 home win over amateurs Versailles in the semi-finals on Tuesday this week.

Third, Kylian Mbappe misses this game through suspension. It almost doesn't need stating, but PSG are much weaker without not only his goals but increasingly his support play: Mbappe's currently joint top of Ligue 1's assists charts, and no other attacker in the Ligue 1 leaders' squad comes close to matching his ability to stretch opposition defences.

Fourth, PSG will already be looking ahead to their Champions League Last 16 return leg against Real Madrid in Spain on Wednesday next week. Manager Mauricio Pochettino may rest players here, and those that do start may subconsciously or otherwise save themselves a little.

All things considered, laying Paris at an odds-on price is the smart selection.

In-form Rennes the smart pick

Rennes vs Angers (4th vs 14th)
Sun, 14:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

Rennes are playing tremendous football at the moment and will be supremely confident of collecting all three points versus struggling Angers.

Rennes have won four of their last six matches, often in style: they were 4-2 victors at Montpellier last weekend and have thrashed Troyes (4-1) and Bordeaux (6-0) in home fixtures since the start of the year.

At home, Rennes' record is W9-D1-L3 for the season and, significantly, seven of their nine home wins have been by a margin of two or more goals. This makes them a good selection on the Asian Handicap this weekend.

Rennes strikers Gaetan Laborde and Martin Terrier have both hit double figures for goals in Ligue 1 this season, with understudy Serhou Guirassy, playmaker Lovro Majer and wide midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud all fantastic to watch as well.

Visitors Angers arrive on a run of five straight defeats. Their record since the start of the year is W1-D1-L6, their only win coming against a struggling Troyes side (currently 17th) and their only draw vs bottom-half Lorient (currently 16th). So there's no recent evidence they'll be good enough to get something this weekend.

Rennes are 1.42 to win the match. With the hosts so short, we prefer to back them with a -1.0 & -1.5 Asian Handicap start. With this selection, you'll make a profit if Rennes win by two or more goals. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.

Defensive duel on the cards

Bordeaux vs Troyes (20th vs 17th)
Sun, 14:00 GMT
Live on Betfair Live Video

Defences are likely to be on top in this clash of relegation contenders so low goals is our selection.

Hosts Bordeaux appointed David Guion as their new manager last month with a brief to improve their appalling defensive record.

He was rightly regarded as a defensive-minded coach in his last job at Reims and has already made Bordeaux more defensively secure.

Bordeaux's first two games under Guion have both finished 1-1, with the side conceding fewer chances in those matches (vs Monaco and Clermont) thanks to better defensive organisation.

Troyes would be happy with a point away from home versus relegation rivals and will set-up accordingly.

They sneaked a morale-boosting last-gasp equaliser at home to Marseille (1-1) last weekend and will look to build on that by avoiding defeat here as well.

Expect a five-man defence from the visitors, with midfielders working hard off the ball to halt Bordeaux's progress into their half.

In a game of few chances, Under 2.5 Goals is the selection.

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