Ligue 1 Betting: Lyon to clinch Champions League spot in style against miserable Rennes
After another successful season James Eastham signs off with the two smartest bets on the final weekend of league action in France...
"Remi Garde's hosts have everything to play for and Rennes' away form has been awful since the start of the year"
Lyon v Rennes (3rd v 11th) Sun, 20:00 BST
Lyon are deservedly odds-on to win this game and clinch Ligue 1's third and final Champions League spot. Remi Garde's side are 2pts ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne (who have a superior goal difference) and a further point ahead of Lille, so to avoid any last-minute nerves and confusion the simplest way to get the job done would be to collect all three points.
Their chances of them doing that are arguably even greater than their [1.35] odds would suggest. Lyon have a decent home record (W10-D4-L4) and everything to play for, but Rennes' awful form is an equally important factor.
Rennes were fourth at the winter break but have collapsed since Christmas, picking up just 14pts from their last 18 matches (W3-D5-L10). Their inability to put up meaningful resistance in so many games explains why eight of Rennes' 10 defeats since the turn of the year have been by two goals or more.
Lyon are the sort of attack-minded team that are likely to keep going forward and score further goals rather than sitting on a one-goal lead. The home side's attacking nature and Rennes' lack of character makes the hosts an appealing Asian Handicap selection.
Bastia v Sochaux (12th v 17th) Sun, 20:00 BST
Sochaux have spent more time than any other club in France's top flight but need a point here to be sure of playing in Ligue 1 next season.
Eric Hely's side are 3pts ahead of Troyes, who occupy the third and final relegation position (Brest and Nancy are already down). If Sochaux lose and Troyes win away to Valenciennes - who have nothing to play for - Sochaux will go down on goal difference.
Playing for a point against hosts with nothing to play for might sound like a comfortable position to be in, but Bastia are not your average team. More than virtually any other side in this division, the fiercely proud Corsicans are likely to want to sign off in style in front of their home fans after an exceptional season. Another motivational factor is the fact they can still finish as high as 10th, something the players have referred to in recent weeks.
As a result this is likely to be an open game in which Bastia look to win and Sochaux probably have to score if they want to take at least a point. The stats also suggest goals: Forty-four of 73 (60%) games involving these two sides this season have featured Over 2.5 Goals, including the first meeting between them on the opening day of the campaign (Bastia won 3-2 at Sochaux).
James Eastham has made 14.32pts profit from 123pts staked on Ligue 1 matches this season (11.6% ROI). You can follow him on twitter: @james_eastham