Ligue 1 Tips: France's finest unstoppable at the top

Germany and Monaco striker Kevin Volland
Kevin Volland (pictured with Djibril Sidibe) has netted 10 times for Monaco this season

Heavyweight teams are the ones to back on a weekend where quality will make the difference, writes James Eastham...

"Monaco are one of Ligue 1's most exciting teams right now. They've won four in a row to climb to fourth in the table, while Nantes are without a win in their last 12 outings."

Best Bet: Back Monaco to win at Nantes @ 1.855/6

Lyon to continue title challenge

Lyon vs Bordeaux (3rd vs 7th)
Fri, 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

Lyon have a chance to move temporarily back to the top of the table on Friday night and are a good bet to collect all three points at home to Bordeaux.

Rudi Garcia (pictured below) and his side are in third spot, two points behind leaders PSG, and will be confident of getting the win they need.

Lyon's home record is W6-D3-L1 and they'll be keen to make up for their freakish 1-0 home defeat to Metz in their last Groupama Stadium outing. Lyon dominated on the night but didn't take their chances and ending up paying the price.

Confidence will be high in the home ranks after Lyon's 5-0 derby away win against a covid-depleted St Etienne side last weekend. Central defender Marcelo scored twice and Zimbabwe striker Tino Kadewere was also on the scoresheet twice, taking his tally to nine goals in his maiden Ligue 1 season.

Bordeaux have been relatively difficult to beat on the road as their W4-D2-L4 away record shows, and notably drew 2-2 at PSG. Yet they have suffered defeats against most of Ligue 1's top sides: they lost 2-1 at Lille, 3-1 at Marseille and 4-0 at Monaco.

Lyon are 1.4840/85 to win. For bigger odds, consider Lyon -1.0 & -1.5 Asian Handicap at 2.001/1. With this selection, you'll get half your stakes back if Lyon win by a single goal and make a profit if they win by two or more goals. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.

rudi_garcia_2021.jpg

Lille will extend winning streak

Lille vs Dijon (2nd vs 18th)
Sun, 16:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

Lille are looking to make it four straight wins and maintain their title challenge when they host struggling Dijon on Sunday afternoon.

The Dogues began 2021 with a shock 2-1 home defeat to Angers but have bounced back well, beating Nimes (1-0), Reims (2-1) and most notably top-six challengers Rennes (1-0).

Christophe Galtier's side are yet to play as fluently as they did at times during the first-half of the season but there were moments of real quality and a steely resolve to their play in their victory at Rennes last weekend.

After a slow start at the club Lille's record signing Jonathan David is showing signs of finally settling in: the 21-year-old Canada international has netted in each of his past two outings and will be keen to add to his tally this weekend.

Visitors Dijon are one of Ligue 1's weakest sides and lost 3-2 to relegation rivals Lorient in their last outing. Experienced ex-Sunderland midfielder Didier Ndong blasted the side afterwards, saying the team lacked the necessary effort and concentration to avoid defeat.

Dijon's away record is W2-D3-L5 but they've lost every time they've faced a side currently in the top seven: 3-0 at Bordeaux, 4-1 at Lyon and 4-0 at PSG.

Lille are 1.42/5 to win. For better odds, our selection is to back Lille -1.5 Asian Handicap.

Resurgent Monaco to shine again

Nantes vs Monaco (17th vs 4th)
Sun, 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video

Are Monaco good enough to challenge for the title? Perhaps not, but Niko Kovac's side are one of the most exciting to watch in Ligue 1 right now.

Four wins from four outings in 2021 have seen Monaco climb to fourth in the table and they're just six points behind leaders PSG now. The front-foot football that manager Kovac has encouraged makes Monaco absorbing viewing and has resulted in some impressive wins.

They came from 1-0 down at half-time to beat Marseille 3-1 last weekend. They scored 11 goals in their previous three outings as they blew away Montpellier (3-2), Angers (3-0) and Lorient (5-2).

Eight different players have got on the scoresheet in this run of four victories, with striker Kevin Volland and Chile centre-back Guillermo Maripan each netting three times. Monaco play to win home and away and this weekend will be no exception.

Nantes are likely to pose little resistance. Without a win in their last 12 outings (W0-D7-L5), they've fallen towards the relegation positions and the appointment of ex-France coach Raymond Domenech last month has done nothing to halt their slide.

Nantes' W0-D1-L5 record versus teams that, like Monaco, are currently in the top six is especially poor. They've failed to score in four of those matches, and lost by two or more goals in four of them as well.

All of which makes the price of 1.855/6 on a Monaco win good value this weekend.

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James’ 2020-21 P/L

Staked: 55pts
Returned: +54.74pts
P/L: -0.26pts

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