Thursday Football Tips: Back Toulouse to win first half

Toulouse
Toulouse are taken to win the first half against Nantes

After bagging two winners in the Europa League final, Paul Higham now heads to France for Thursday's stats bet in the crucial relegation play-off...

"Toulouse are unbeaten at half-time at home in Ligue 2 this season, and are experts at scoring first, while Nantes have had real trouble scoring in the opening 45 minutes away from home. It's set up for the hosts to get ahead."

Back Toulouse to win the first half against Nantes @ 3.39/4

After a nice couple of winners surrounding the half-time stats for Villarreal v Man Utd, we're running with the same formula for Thursday's stats bet.

Toulouse are looking to bounce back into Ligue 1 at the first time of asking after being relegated last season - they host the first leg against Nantes who finished third from bottom in Ligue 1.

Nantes won four of their last five league games but defeat in their last against Montpellier saw them finish in the dreaded relegation play-off place by just one point.

Two draws in their last two games cost Toulouse the chance of automatic promotion, but they got over that disappointment with a 3-0 win over Grenoble to advance to this two-legged affair.

Only one Ligue 2 side has won through the play-off system since it was introduced in 2017, but having only just been in the top flight, Toulouse will fancy their chances of reversing that trend.

Nantes are in the relegation play-off for the first time in eight years, and despite their late winning run they lost the big game that mattered, and that'll be a worry.

Their defence will also be a worry, as they conceded 1.45 goals per game and kept just two clean sheets in their last 20 league games - and that'll be music to Toulouse's ears.

Les Violets lost just two of their 19 home games in Ligue 2, a record helped by the fact they were never behind at half-time, leading six times and drawing 13 after 45 minutes.

Nantes also failed to score in the first half in almost 64% of their Ligue 1 away games - meaning 3.39/4 on Toulouse leading at the interval looks a nice price.

Toulouse have been very good at breaking the deadlock, scoring first in 79% of Ligue 2 games this season, and with Nantes' first-half struggles then it's also a pretty good bet at 2.01/1 for the hosts to score first on Thursday night.

But we'll take the extra value on offer on the hosts starting fast and being ahead at the break.

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COLUMN P/L

Staked: 63pts
Returned: 62.03pts
P/L: -0.97pts

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