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Ligue 1 Betting: Recovering PSG to blow away Troyes

Javier Pastore needs to raise his game to match the standards PSG's other attackers have set

"Bastia have Ligue 1's worst defence, and Lorient produced their best performance in weeks last weekend"

Lorient 0 Asian Handicap at Bastia @ 2.26/5

The side from the French capital are supposedly in crisis, but James Eastham believes they're a strong bet to return to winning ways this weekend.

PSG v Troyes (3rd v 19th) 17:00 BST, Sat

Backing PSG may be risky considering coach Carlo Ancelotti admitted the club was in "crisis" after their 2-1 home defeat to Rennes last weekend. But my feeling is the Italian's players will use those words as motivation to bounce back in emphatic style against one of Ligue 1's weakest sides.

PSG are already on the road to recovery as they beat Dynamo Kiev 2-0 in Ukraine on Wednesday night. They have occasionally settled for narrow wins this season but I don't see that happening here because there is fresh competition for places in attack, which should ensure that whoever starts will be keen to impress. Nene scored on his return from a facial injury against Rennes last weekend and €26m summer signing Ezequiel Lavezzi grabbed the first brace of his PSG career in that win in Kiev. You can be sure Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jeremy Menez will want to remind everyone they're top dogs at the club.

Troyes are 19th and have the division's joint second-worst defensive record with 25 goals conceded in 13 goals. Lyon (4-1), Sochaux (3-1), Bastia (3-2) and Nancy (3-3) all scored at least three goals against them, and it's hard to see their attack troubling a PSG defence that will be every bit as keen to impress as the team's attackers will be.

The problem with PSG is how to make them pay. They're 1.21/5 to win, PSG/PSG is 1.625/8 on the Half Time/Full Time market and the capital outfit are 2.05n/a -2.0 Asian Handicap. On a day where PSG will be fired-up to answer critics that include their own manager, PSG to win both halves is my selection.


Nancy v Ajaccio (20th v 15th) 20:00 GMT, Sat

Nancy have had an appalling 2012-13 so far but I'm willing to back them with a slight deficit on the Asian Handicap. They ended a dreadful run in front of goal by scoring three times against Troyes last weekend, and if the game had finished on 80 minutes they would have won 3-1. Instead Troyes scored twice in the closing stages to make it 3-3, but Nancy will draw enough confidence from scoring those goals to get something here.

I also expect a better Nancy defensive performance, especially as Ajaccio are one of the division's poorest attacking sides. Only three teams have scored fewer goals than the Corsicans, with star summer signing Adrian Mutu yet to live up to his billing.

Nancy are 2.486/4 to win. They're far from out of the woods so I'd rather back them with the safety net of a -0&-0.5 Asian Handicap start. With this wager, half your stakes will be returned if the game ends in a draw.


Bastia v Lorient (17th v 10th) 20:00 GMT, Sat

Bastia have Ligue 1's worst defensive record - they've conceded 32 goals in 13 games. And there's nothing coach Frederic Hantz can do about it as he simply doesn't have the players to make his team more difficult to score against.

Hantz has already changed goalkeepers: last weekend he picked ex-Juventus man Landry Bonnefoi ahead of Macedo Novaes, and it made no difference. Five centre-halves - Jeremy Choplin, Sylvain Marchal, Maka Mary, Francois Marque and Matthieu Sans - have had decent match time. All bar Marchal look sub-Ligue 1 standard.

So it's smart to support rejuvenated underdogs Lorient at Stade Furiani on Saturday night. After a run of three defeats in four games Lorient produced their best performance in weeks to see off Lille 2-0 last weekend. They will be confident they can build on that by getting at least a point this weekend.

By backing Lorient 0 Asian Handicap you'll win if Lorient win and get your stakes back if the game ends in a draw.


Reims v Brest (13th v 12th) 20:00 GMT, Sat

We made money opposing Reims last weekend (they lost 3-0 at Lyon, whom we'd backed on the Asian Handicap) and I'm happy doing the same again. Hubert Fournier's newly promoted side made an excellent start to the season but sides have worked them out as they're no longer an unknown quantity. Reims have picked up just one point from their last five games, slipping from fifth to 13th.

Brest are moving in the opposite direction. After a slow start coach Landry Chauvin is getting the best from his squad, culminating in last weekend's 3-0 win over Bastia, comfortably Brest's best performance of the season.

Brest are as big as 4.216/5 to win at Reims because the Bretons have lost seven out of seven on the road, but that run won't go on forever. The big price opens up ways of supporting Brest on a weekend they look good enough to get a point.

I'd lay Reims at 2.166/5 or back Brest +0&+0.5 Asian Handicap. With both bets, you'll make money as long as Brest avoid defeat.


Best Bet
Lorient 0 Asian Handicap at Bastia @ 2.26/5
Other Recommended Bets
PSG 'Yes' in Win Both Halves market v Troyes @ 2.35n/a
Nancy -0&-0.5 Asian Handicap v Ajaccio @ 2.111/10
Lay Reims at home to Brest @ 2.166/5

James Eastham has made 31.48pts profit from 384pts staked on Ligue 1 matches and outright markets since August 2008 (8.2% ROI). You can follow him on twitter: @james_eastham

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22 November 2012

French Football

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