Ligue 1 Tips: Lille and Marseille to set the standards at the top

France and Marseille winger Dimitri Payet
Dimitri Payet celebrates scoring in OM's 3-1 midweek win over Montpellier

France's title race is absorbing this season and two of Ligue 1's best sides are worth backing this weekend, writes James Eastham...

"Nimes have suffered 10 defeats from their last 12 matches and their morale will be rock-bottom as they prepare to face one of Ligue 1's leading sides."

Best Bet: Back Lille -1.0&-1.5 Asian Handicap at Nimes @ 2.111/10

Lille to bounce back in style

Nimes vs Lille (20th vs 3rd)
Sat 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport Extra 5 and Betfair Live Video

Lille have the perfect opportunity to bounce back from a rare defeat when they travel to face Nimes on Saturday evening.

Lille suffered their first home defeat of the season when they lost 2-1 against Angers at Stade Pierre Mauroy on Wednesday night.

We had backed Lille to win that game and despite the setback we're happy to maintain our support for Christophe Galtier's side as this weekend's match looks the ideal opportunity for a return to form.

After the Angers defeat several Lille players admitted that their attitude had been poor. I would expect much better levels of focus and motivation from Jose Fonte (pictured below) and his team-mates this weekend.

As bona fide title challengers Lille cannot afford to slip-up again and the players' approach to games has been faultless for virtually the entire season so a return to normality seems likely.

Beleaguered Nimes are Ligue 1's bottom club and it's hard to see them putting up meaningful resistance against much stronger visitors.

Nimes' 2021 got off to the worst possible start when they lost 5-0 at Strasbourg on Wednesday night.

That was Nimes' tenth defeat in their last 12 matches and their morale will be rock-bottom as they prepare to face one of Ligue 1's top sides.

Lille are a short-priced 1.51/2 to collect all three points so it makes sense to look at some of the other markets as a means of supporting the visitors.

For example, Lille are 2.35/4 on the Half Time/Full Time market. With this selection, you'll make a profit if Lille are leading at half-time and then go on to win the game.

Our choice is to back Lille -1.0&-1.5 on the Asian Handicap. With this pick, you lose only half your stakes if Lille win by a single goal and you make a profit if Lille win by two or more goals. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.

Seven of Lille's 13 victories in all competitions have come by two or more goals this season, and they'll be confident of winning comfortably given the gulf in quality between the sides.

fonte_lille_dec_2020.jpg

Marseille to continue title assault

Dijon vs Marseille (18th vs 5th)
Sat 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport Extra 5 and Betfair Live Video

Struggling Dijon have improved in recent outings but ought to be no match for Andre Villas-Boas' Marseille this weekend.

Dijon have picked up four points from their last two matches but in those games they faced Reims (0-0) and bottom club Nimes (3-1), both far more limited sides than Marseille.

Dijon's high draw rate has caught the eye (W2-D7-L9) but their ability to avoid defeat also falls apart under scrutiny.

Dijon are capable of picking up points against mid- and lower-ranking sides but their record against title contenders such as Marseille is less impressive.

In their five matches to date versus sides currently in the top-six, Dijon's record is a disappointing W0-D1-L4, and includes heavy defeats against Lyon (0-4) and PSG (1-4).

Marseille are eight points behind Ligue 1 leaders Lyon but have two games in hand and are showing signs that they will be strong enough to stay the distance in the title race.

They showed good resolve to win 3-1 at home to Montpellier in their first outing of 2021 last Wednesday and that victory showcased some strength in depth in attack and Villas-Boas' clever team selections.

Winger Nemanja Radonjic was handed a rare start and rewarded his manager's faith in him by scoring Marseille's opening goal.

With the score 1-1 and only 10 minutes left on the clock Marseille substitute Dimitri Payet netted to put Marseille 2-1 up before two more substitutes, Saif-Eddine Khaoui and Valere Germain, combined to make it 3-1.

There's competition for places now and the rotation in attack means Marseille should have enough petrol in the tank to get all three points.

The stats also points towards an away win being the smart selection.

Dijon's 50% overall loss rate, 56% home loss rate and poor record vs top-six teams, Marseille's 56% overall win rate and 63% away win rate all suggest the price around evens on Marseille is worth taking.

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James’ 2020-21 P/L

Staked: 49pts
Returned: +52.14pts
P/L: +3.14pts

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