Ligue 1 Betting: Monaco to inflict further misery on wilting Lille

After eight winners from his last 12 selections, James Eastham reveals the best bets on the Ligue 1 and French Cup Final action taking place this weekend...

Rampant Monaco to win again

Lille vs Monaco (10th vs 4th)
Fri, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

The price of evens on a Monaco win presents an excellent opportunity given the obvious differences in form and motivation between these two sides.

Mid-table Lille are obviously short of motivation and there are major problems on and off the pitch for manager Jocelyn Gourvennec to contend with.

At their last home game a fortnight ago Lille fans protested against the side's poor performances this season, with some calling for manager Gourvennec to quit. A similarly hostile reception at Stade Pierre Mauroy this weekend cannot be ruled out.

There were signs of tetchiness and unrest among the Lille players when two of them were sent off in a miserable 3-0 defeat at Troyes last weekend. Lille gave away three penalties in that match, and you sense the end of the season cannot come soon enough for a squad that has nothing to play for.

Lille have picked up just three points from their last four matches. They have serious team news issues this weekend, too: midfielders Renato Sanches, Benjamin Andre and Xeka are all ruled out, meaning the hosts will be severely below-strength in the centre of the pitch.

Monaco head into this game on a run of seven straight victories. Their confidence will be sky-high and they have everything to play for as they're locked in a four-way battle (with Marseille, Rennes and Nice) for the two remaining Champions League places below title winners PSG.

Monaco have good team news as well, so ought to be better-equipped than Lille in most areas of the pitch. Taking all factors into account, the price on Monaco is too good to ignore.

Back underdogs in Final showdown

Nice vs Nantes
French Cup Final
Sat, 20:00 BST

Live on Mola TV and Betfair Live Video

The French Cup final is always a huge affair in France and the game between Nice and Nantes at Stade de France on Saturday night promises to be an absorbing encounter.

The tournament's history and pedigree are treated with as much reverence as the FA Cup's are in England, making this a fantastic occasion for the two clubs and sets of players involved.

The market makes Nice clear favourites to lift the silver trophy. Christophe Galtier's side are 1.95 to win in 90 minutes, while Nantes are 3.4 and The Draw is 3.25.

Nice are four places and nine points above Nantes in the Ligue 1 standings so you could argue on that basis alone that the prices are fair. Look a little closer, however, and there's less between the teams than the odds suggest.

Nice have the better five-game form, although that's partly because Nantes have less to play for in the league and have eased off as this game has come into view.

Looking at the two teams' 10-game form, there's virtually nothing to pick between them: Nice are W4-D3-L3 and have a negative goal difference of -1, while Nantes are W3-D4-L3 with a positive goal difference of +2.

Team news also favours Nantes. Nice have used their no.2 goalkeeper Marcin Bulka throughout the competition and manager Galtier has already confirmed Bulka will start, as opposed to no.1 Walter Benitez. First-choice right-back Youcef Atal is also ruled out, and Nice will be weaker on the right flank without him.

Nantes should be able to field their strongest side. They also have greater attacking firepower than Nice heading into the game: the underdogs have scored 14 times in their last six matches and have a terrific front trio in the form of Ludovic Blas, Randal Kolo Muani and Moises Simon.

In contrast, Nice have struggled for goals recently: they've netted just six times in their last eight matches, and have scored more than once in a game only once in their last 13 league fixtures stretching back to the start of February.

Taking all factors into account, finding some way of opposing Nice in 90 minutes is the smart play. Consider backing Nantes or The Draw in 90 minutes, or Nantes at 2.63 on the Draw No Bet market.

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