Ligue 1 Tips: St Etienne a good bet to get job done in basement battle at Bordeaux

There's a full programme of Ligue 1 matches on Wednesday night this week and James Eastham looks at the best betting opportunities among them...

Visitors the choice in relegation clash

Bordeaux vs St Etienne (19th vs 17th)
Wed, 18:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 2 and Betfair Live Video

This game between two famous old clubs could go a long way towards deciding which of the two avoid relegation. The smart money's on St Etienne's players and staff to be smiling come the final whistle.

There's a steeliness and resolve about St Etienne as they look to escape the drop that simply isn't there for Bordeaux and this difference in mental strength and inner belief is likely to be crucial on an absorbing night in Gironde.

St Etienne's results have improved markedly since they sacked Claude Puel and appointed Pascal Dupraz in December. Under Puel, St Etienne averaged 0.67 points per game. Under Dupraz, they've averaged 1.29 points per game, a record good enough to place 12th in the standings had Dupraz been in charge for the entire season.

There has been no similar uptick in results since Bordeaux appointed David Guion as manager in February. Under the ex-Reims boss, Bordeaux have managed just 0.75 points per game, which is actually worse than what went before (0.83 points per game). Many of the same failings remain, especially in defence: Bordeaux lost 6-1 at Lyon last weekend, and have one of the worst defensive records in Ligue 1 history.

St Etienne are playing like a side that believe they will escape the drop, whereas Bordeaux are playing like a team shutting its eyes and hoping for the best. This clear difference between the two teams is likely to play out over the 90 minutes. Recent tensions between the Bordeaux players and their fans don't help, either: there are no guarantees the home side will even be able to count on proper support.

Despite all this, the market makes Bordeaux the favourites. Bordeaux are 2.46 to win, with St Etienne 3.15, and The Draw 3.5. At those odds, St Etienne and The Draw are the options worth considering. Alternatively, look at St Etienne on the Draw No Bet market. With this selection, you'll get your stakes back if the game ends all-square, and make a profit if St Etienne win.

Hosts to maintain European push

Lens vs Montpellier (7th vs 11th)
Wed, 20:00 BST
Live on Betfair Live Video

Motivation should be the crucial factor here and hands Lens a great opportunity to collect all three points as they host Montpellier on Wednesday night.

The home team head into this game buzzing after a 2-1 away win over fierce local rivals Lille last Saturday (a win that we supported in our last column). Lens' victory was all the more impressive because the game was played out in an especially hostile atmosphere: Lens fans were banned from attending the game in order to reduce the risk of crowd trouble.

Thanks to their win, Franck Haise's players have kept alive their hopes of claiming a European place. Lens head into this game just three points below the European positions, and know some of the teams above them will drop points on this matchday, as there are a couple of head-to-head clashes near the top of the table.

In stark contrast, Montpellier have nothing to play for. Stuck in mid-table, they cannot hope to qualify for Europe, yet are already safe from relegation. Manager Olivier Dall'Oglio admitted their drab performance in drawing 0-0 at home to Reims at the weekend was not good enough, yet it's hard to see what he can do to motivate a set of players that have already started going through the motions.

In front of a 36,000 sell-out crowd, Lens are a good bet to maintain their European push by collecting another three points here. They can be backed at 1.8 to do so. Alternatively, consider supporting Lens on the Asian Handicap. With our selection, you'll make a small profit if Lens win by a single goal, and a bigger profit if they win by two or more goals. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.

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