Ligue 1 Betting: PSG back down to earth with bump after midweek magic in Manchester

Italy and Marseille striker Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli scored his first goal for his new club in Marseille's 2-1 win at Dijon last weekend
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The runaway leaders are set to endure a more difficult evening in St Etienne on Sunday than they encountered at Old Trafford on Tuesday, writes James Eastham...

"Rennes are on a magnificent run of W8-D2-L1 vs all Ligue 1 opposition but PSG across all competitions since Julien Stephan was appointed manager in December."

Best Bet: Rennes Draw No Bet at Reims @ [2.3]

L'OM to make it three wins from three

Marseille vs Amiens (6th vs 16th)
Saturday, 16:00 GMT
Live on Betfair Live Video

Marseille have lost ground near the top of the table but have an excellent chance this weekend to maintain their slim hopes of securing a top-three finish. Manager Rudi Garcia is under pressure after a dreadful run of results during November and December but there are signs of Marseille turning the corner.

L'OM beat Bordeaux 1-0 in their last home fixture (behind closed doors) and made it two wins from two at Dijon (2-1) last Saturday. Key January signing Mario Balotelli got off the mark by scoring his first goal for the club in that important win over Dijon.

Amiens' 2019 record against Ligue 1 opposition in all competitions is W1-D1-L5. Amiens' away record is a dreadful W2-D2-L8 and an even worse W0-D1-L6 vs top-10 sides, which underlines the degree to which the visitors are likely to struggle this weekend.

A resurgent Marseille are [1.48] to collect all 3 points but we prefer the hosts on the Asian Handicap. With our selection below, you'll get your stakes back if Marseille win by one goal and make a profit if they win by two or more goals. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.

Vieira's visitors are underrated

Angers vs Nice (12th vs 7th)
Saturday, 19:00 GMT
Live on Betfair Live Video

It's difficult to know why Angers are such clear favourites to win in front of their own fans at Stade Jean Bouin this weekend. The hosts are [2.44], with Nice [3.35] and The Draw [3.05], even though Nice are five places and seven points above Angers in the Ligue 1 standings.

Patrick Vieira's side have become one of the most difficult to beat in the division, suffering just two losses in their last 14 fixtures (W7-D5-L2). When Nice do lose, it tends to be to one of the division's better sides: the last time they were beaten by a side currently in the top 10 was as long ago as last August.

Only six Ligue 1 sides have won fewer games than Angers this season (7/24 victories). Angers' home record of W4-D4-L4 is nothing to write home about, either, so use the big price on Nice to back the visitors on the Draw No Bet or Asian Handicap markets.

Stephan has the Midas touch

Reims vs Rennes (10th vs 8th)
Sunday, 16:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport ESPN and Betfair Live Video

Much like the Angers vs Nice game above, this fixture pits overrated hosts against underrated visitors. Reims are [2.46] and Rennes [3.3] even though there are plenty of factors in Rennes' favour heading into the fixture.

Chief among them is Rennes' general form: they're on a magnificent run of W8-D2-L2 vs Ligue 1 opposition in 90 minutes in all competitions since Julien Stephan was appointed manager in December. One of those two defeats came at the hands of runaway Ligue 1 leaders PSG, underlining just what a tremendous win rate Rennes have had against the rest of the division since Stephan was appointed.

Hatem Ben Arfa's form has been a key factor in some of Rennes' recent victories. The ex-France no.10 has produced some decisive moments of skill for the Bretons and will relish the chance to run straight at the heart of Reims' obdurate but occasionally static back four. Ben Arfa will be ably supported by the likes of Jordan Siebatcheu, Ismailia Sarr and Mbaye Niang (three goals in his last five Ligue 1 appearances).

Home form key for Les Verts

St Etienne vs PSG (4th vs 1st)
Sunday, 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video

It might seem counter-intuitive to oppose PSG after their magnificent 2-0 win at Old Trafford in the Champions League on Tuesday night. The Ligue 1 champions may ease off this weekend, however, and rotation will be a consideration for manager Thomas Tuchel as he looks to protect his injury-hit squad.

Edinson Cavani and Neymar are sidelined and set to miss the return fixture against Manchester United on March 6. Kylian Mbappe may therefore find himself rested for at least some of this weekend's fixture, and the absence of the France international for some or all of the game would have a huge impact on Paris' attacking potential.

PSG are W6-D2-L1 in Ligue 1 since last November, which would be great for anybody else but constitutes a poor run by their standards. It's also significant that three of PSG's last six victories have been by a 1-0 scoreline - a far cry from the +2.92 goal-difference-per-game they racked up during their opening 13 fixtures of the season.

Chasing a European place, St Etienne have the division's second-best home record (W9-D2-L1), so will be quietly confident they stand a better chance than any other side of tripping up the visitors. PSG are [1.62], with St Etienne [5.6] and The Draw [3.9]. Laying PSG, backing The Draw or supporting St Etienne with a small start on the Asian Handicap are all worth considering.

James' 2018-19 P/L

Staked: 55pts
Returned: +46.96pts
P/L: -8.04pts

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