Ligue 1 Betting: European places up for grabs as season draws to close

At the end of another profitable season of tipping on France's top flight James Eastham looks at the best bets ahead of the final round of Ligue 1 fixtures...

Goals the smart bet

Lens vs Monaco (7th vs 2nd)
Sat, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

Back in August, before the 2021-22 season kicked-off, we backed Monaco and Marseille to finish second and third (in no particular order) in the table behind predicted champions PSG.

Nine months later and Monaco and Marseille head into the final matchday of the season in exactly those two positions: on 68 points, Monaco are ahead of Marseille on goal difference only, with a +25 goal difference compared to Marseille's +21.

The top three finishers are assured of a place in next season's Champions League yet Monaco and Marseille cannot ease off yet as Rennes - three points further back - are still in the hunt. And, in any case, both of these sides will want to finish second rather than third, as second place secures a spot in the group stage, thus avoiding the need to pass via the qualifiers.

Monaco will not have it all their own way this weekend, however, as opponents Lens are chasing a European place themselves. They're in seventh spot, two points behind the European positions - the top five finishers in Ligue 1 qualify for Europe - but that means Lens are still contenders.

Lens have been able to count on tremendous support all season and this will be yet another sell-out fixture at Stade Bollaert-Delelis. Yet Monaco sold their allocation of more than 1,000 tickets more than a week ago so the visitors will enjoy excellent backing as well.

With both sides looking to win, an open and entertaining encounter appears on the cards. The stats point towards a high-scoring affair: 21 of Lens' 37 games so far this season have featured Over 2.5 Goals, with the same applying to 20 of Monaco's 37 games.

With 55 per cent of the sides' combined 2021-22 fixtures to date having featured three or more goals, there appears little statistical downside to backing Over 3.0 on the Goal Lines market at an odds-against price.

Rennes too strong for sorry Lille

Lille vs Rennes (10th vs 4th)
Sat, 20:00 BST
Live on Betfair Live Video

Rennes are still in the hunt for a Champions League place and their far superior motivation makes them a good bet to win away at Lille on Saturday night.

Bruno Genesio's players head into the final round of fixtures two points below the Champions League places but if they win and either of the two sides - Monaco and Marseille - directly above them lose Rennes will take their place in Europe's primary club tournament next season.

Rennes have played arguably the most entertaining football in Ligue 1 this season and many neutrals would love to see them competing at the highest level in 2022-23. Their away form is a cause for concern - they're W6-D4-L8 on the road this season - but Genesio will be able to field his strongest starting line-up this weekend, not always the case this season.

Lille relinquished their Ligue 1 title with a whimper this season and are already certain to finish in mid-table. There have been fan protests at recent home matches over the side's poor performances, and the players and especially manager Jocelyn Gourvennec cannot be assured of a warm welcome here.

Even if the fans are on their side, the hosts have nothing to play for. Several players are expected to leave the club this summer and it's hard to see how Lille can muster the motivation required to prevent Rennes collecting the three points the visitors crave.

Rennes are 1.85 and those odds are worth backing.

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