2022-23 Season Preview
The new Ligue 1 season kicks-off this weekend and, as usual, Paris-Saint-Germain are a prohibitively short price to win the title.
The 1.111/9 on the team from the French capital to claim the Ligue 1 crown yet again is entirely fair, but there are far better ante-post selections to maintain your interest throughout the campaign.
This time last season we correctly predicted Marseille and Monaco would claim top-three finishes: the former finished second, the latter third. The same Top 3 Finish market has thrown up another great opportunity except this time around it's Rennes that has captured our attention.
The Brittany club finished fourth last season and are capable of ending up higher than that in next June's final standings. Centre-back Nayef Aguerd has gone to West Ham but Arthur Theate (Bologna) and Joe Rodon (Tottenham) are smart replacements and Rennes are stronger in other areas, too.
Vastly experienced former France international Steve Mandanda has arrived from Marseille to make Rennes more secure in goal. And if flying wingers Jeremy Doku and Kamaldeen Sulemana - who both had lengthy spells on the sidelines last season - can stay fit this term, between them they'll be like an extra signing up front.
Rennes are longer odds than Marseille, Monaco and Lyon to finish on the podium, with the market effectively predicting they'll finish fifth. They have the team and squad to do better than they're the smart pick.
The Relegation 2022-23 market also has one value pick and that team is Angers. They're one of seven teams whose only objective will be avoiding relegation (the other six are Ajaccio, Auxerre, Clermont, Lorient, Reims and Troyes) but the market has made Angers the least likely of the seven to go down, which overestimates their chances of survival.
The team will be weaker following the sales of playmaker Angelo Fulgini (Mainz) and wing-back Jimmy Cabot (Lens). In the final third Angers are heavily reliant on Sofiane Boufal for inspiration, and reliability's not one of his chief assets.
Off the pitch there are problems, too: the sale of the club to new US owners was supposed to have gone through weeks ago but no deal has been completed. Towards the end of last season Angers manager Gerald Baticle called the club "dysfunctional", which is slightly awkward given the same superiors he appeared to be pointing the finger at remain in charge.
Four teams will be relegated this season, as Ligue 1 is reduces from 20 to 18 clubs ahead of the 2023-24 campaign. Angers' chances of staying out of the bottom four are smaller than the market suggests.
PSG can cover handicap on opening weekend
Clermont vs PSG
Sat, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 1
PSG have already claimed one piece of silverware this season and look set to make a storming start to the new Ligue 1 campaign when they face Clermont on Saturday night.
Christophe Galtier's side ran out 4-0 winners over French Cup holders Nantes in the Champions Trophy last weekend. They played with a focus and energy that suggests another big win is on the cards this weekend.
New Paris manager Galtier has introduced 3-4-2-1 tactics that should result in more of PSG's players being on the pitch in positions that suit them: Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes are ideally equipped to play as wing-backs, while Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe looks set to be close to one another in the final third.
Messi scored a delightful goal in the win over Nantes while posting arguably his best-ever performance in a PSG shirt. There was a drive and hunger about his display that suggests he's finally put the trauma of his move from Barcelona behind him.
Clermont finished 17th last season and another season of struggle is on the cards. Their best defender, Cedric Hountondji, has joined Angers while their 14-goal top scorer and most important player Mohamed Bayo has signed for Lille for £12m deal.
Last season PSG won this fixture 6-1. The visitors need win by only two goals for our selection to pay out this weekend (for a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here).