After six winners from his opening nine picks of the season James Eastham reveals the smartest bets from the latest round of matches in France...
"Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele were rested for most of Lyon's previous outing, against Montpellier on Tuesday night. The presence of either or both on the pitch at kick-off this Friday evening would give the entire side confidence and add the cutting edge clearly lacking last time."
Lyon to bounce back in style
Lyon vs Nimes
Fri, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport ESPN and Betfair Live Video
The biggest barrier to a Lyon win over Nimes on Friday night will be fatigue in the home ranks but if manager Rudi Garcia fields some fresh legs Lyon ought to have the quality to collect all three points.
This will be Lyon's third match in eight days after their 0-0 draw at Bordeaux last Friday and 2-1 defeat at Montpellier in a rearranged game on Tuesday night. Tiredness and those poor results are a concern but Lyon's squad is big enough for Garcia to shuffle the pack without unduly weakening the side, and Lyon are capable of producing far better than we've seen in their last couple of outings.
Memphis Depay (pictured below) and Moussa Dembele were rested for most of the 90 minutes against Montpellier and are expected to return to the starting line-up.
The presence of either or both on the pitch at kick-off would give the entire side confidence and add the cutting edge clearly lacking last time out.
Nimes' difficult task is made harder by the fact that four of their usual starting 11 are ruled out: centre-back Pablo Martinez, left-back Birger Meling (a summer signing from Rosenborg who has impressed in the opening weeks of the season), central midfielder Lucas Deaux and left winger Romain Philippoteaux - reportedly on the brink of joining Ligue 1 rivals Brest - all miss this trip. Without those four the Nimes side that takes to the field will be considerably weaker.
The 2/51.4 odds on a Lyon win will be too short for many bettors so the home side on the Asian Handicap are a more appealing selection. Garcia's hosts are available at 4/51.8 with a -1.0&-1.5 Asian handicap, and at 11/102.1 with a -1.5 start.
To make a profit on either selection you'll need Lyon to win by two or more goals, something the hosts are eminently capable of doing against depleted visitors. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.
Three in a row for rampant hosts
Montpellier vs Angers
Sun, 14:00 BST
Live on BT Sport ESPN and Betfair Live Video
It's often said that teams struggle to win three straight home games in a row but Montpellier brushed aside the opposition so impressively to clinch two victories in front of their own fans at Stade de la Mosson over the past week that we're happy to back the rampant hosts to claim a hat-trick of triumphs.
Michel Der Zakarian's side put a hitherto impressive Nice to the sword in deadly fashion last weekend, running out 3-1 winners, before producing an equally exhilarating performance to defeat Lyon 2-1 in a rearranged game on Tuesday night.
On both occasions playmaker Teji Savanier was outstanding, pulling the strings with such flair and command it's easy to see why Montpellier forked out £9 million to buy him last summer. And up front one of Ligue 1's deadliest striking duos have picked up where they left off before lockdown: Gaetan Laborde scored against Nice with his partnership with the explosively mobile Andy Delort looking as strong as ever.
Angers have picked up six points from three games but their performance level has been relatively unimpressive and Montpellier are the strongest side they have met so far. One of the kingpins of Angers' side left this week, too: 25-year-old holding midfielder Baptiste Santamaria has joined Bundesliga outfit Freiburg for £9 million and without him the visitors will be far more vulnerable in exactly the sort of central zones where Savanier thrives.
Given their form it's a surprise to find Montpellier odds-against to collect all three points. This is a good opportunity to back one of the sides that has made an exciting start to the season.
New on Betting.Betfair – Betslip
You can now bet without leaving Betting.Betfair with our brand new on-site betslip for Exchange markets. You'll see the Exchange back and lay prices at the end of articles - simply login and place your bets as you would do on the main Exchange site
James’ 2020-21 P/L
Back Lyon -1.5 Asian Handicap to win at home to Nimes @ 11/102.1
Back Montpellier to win at home to Angers @ 6/52.2