Ligue 1 Tips: Back Marseille to make PSG's life hard in Sunday night's 'Classique'
After two winners from three picks last time out, James Eastham looks at the best bets on two massive clashes taking place in France's top flight this weekend...
Visitors Lens to shine in Lille
Lille vs Lens (7th vs 8th)
Sat, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport ESPN and Betfair Live Video
The 'Derby du Nord' is a massive clash in this particular corner of north-eastern France and we're backing Lens to get something from their short journey to face arch-rivals Lille.
The two teams are locked together in seventh and eighth places in the table with just one point separating the two sides.
Yet the market heavily favours Lille and that's partly why we believe the value lies with Lens this weekend. Lille are 2.06 to win, with Lens 3.95 and The Draw 3.6.
As well as the fact that there's little difference in quality between the two sides, Lille's home form is another reason to oppose the hosts.
The defending Ligue 1 champions have won just one of their last five home league games (W1-D3-L1) despite a relatively easy fixture list: all three of their draws were 0-0, despite those games being against Bordeaux, Metz and St Etienne, currently the bottom three in the league standings.
Lille's poor scoring form is a concern. There's also a suspicion Lille are less motivated than Lens by the prospect of getting into Europe on the grounds that aiming for top-six spot would leave the players feeling indifferent after they won the league last season.
Lens warmed-up for this game with a 3-0 win over fifth-placed Nice last weekend. Their high-energy victory that was all the more impressive because they played the bulk of the game with only 10 men after former Newcastle United defender Massadio Haidara was sent-off in the first-half.
The short odds on Lille throw up several opportunities to back Lens. Our selection is to support the visitors on the Draw No Bet market. With our recommendation, you'll get your stakes back if the game ends all-square, and make a profit at good odds if Lens win.
Low goals the pick in Paris
PSG vs Marseille (1st vs 2nd)
Sun, 19:45 BST
Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video
The top two go head-to-head in Ligue 1 this weekend and it ought to be an absorbing encounter at Parc des Princes on Sunday night.
This fierce rivalry may not be quite as intense as it was once was but there will be extra spice thrown into the mix, as there always is when these two heavyweights of the French game clash.
PSG are 1.38 favourites and those odds make perfect sense when you consider not only the star-studded line-up that manager Mauricio Pochettino will be able to field but also Paris' form heading into the game.
In their last home outing a fortnight ago, PSG thrashed Lorient 5-1. The Ligue 1 leaders then went one better when they won 6-1 at Clermont last weekend, with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar each scoring hat-tricks and being awarded marks of 9 out of 10 in the following day's edition of sports daily L'Equipe.
Yet Marseille will provide much stiffer opposition. Their league form is good, and they claimed their place in the Europa Conference League semi-finals with a 1-0 second-leg win (3-1 on aggregate) away to PAOK of Greece on Thursday night.
Marseille are now on an eight-game winning streak in all competitions stretching back to early March, a run that shows they can make PSG's life difficult here.
Looking at the markets, the best bet appears to side with low goals.
Partially informed by Paris' scoring form, the exchange expects a high-scoring encounter: Over 3.0 & 3.5 in the Goal Lines market is 2.05, with Over 3.5 Goals priced up at 1.8 at the moment.
Yet Marseille have shown they can be defensively resolute on multiple occasions this season. They have (with PSG) the division's joint second-best defensive record, and the joint-best defensive record on the road, too: Marseille have conceded just 12 goals in 15 away games.
As a result of their defensive resilience, Marseille's games have been relatively low-scoring: 19 of 31 overall (61%) have featured Under 2.5 Goals, while the same applies to 10 of their 15 (67%) away games.
It's not every week Marseille face a side with PSG's attacking potential, of course, but there's still enough in Marseille's defensive record for us to suspect they can turn this game into a lower-scoring encounter than the current prices are forecasting.
With our selection on the Goal Lines market, you'll make a profit as long as the game has three or fewer goals.
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