After three winners from his opening four tips of the new season last weekend James Eastham picks out the smart selections on the latest round of matches from France's top flight...
"Lyon can field their strongest line-up and their task will be made easier by the fact that Dijon have a lengthy absentee list this weekend."
Injury-hit Dijon set to suffer
Lyon vs Dijon
Friday, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 2 and Betfair Live Video
Lyon are strong favourites to make a winning start to their 2020-21 Ligue 1 campaign when they face Dijon on Friday night and Rudi Garcia's side are a smart bet to run out comfortable winners.
The only barrier to a Lyon victory is that the players may not yet be ready to focus on mundane domestic matters after their recent run to the Champions League semi-finals but if the home team's attitude is spot-on they ought to collect three points with very little fuss.
Lyon can field their strongest line-up and that in itself should be enough to ensure a home win. But the hosts' tasks will be made even easier by the fact that Dijon have a lengthy absentee list, leaving visiting manager Olivier Dall'Oglio struggling to field a competitive side.
Left-back Ngonda Muzinga, midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop, winger Mama Balde and centre-forward Julio Tavares are all ruled out. A lack of squad depth to the squad means that Dijon don't have many high-calibre alternatives they can call upon, a real worry given the quality of the opposition they will face.
Dijon lost tamely at home to Angers last weekend (0-1) and their performance in that match doesn't bode well for this trip to face far stronger opposition. With Lyon such short odds ([1.35]) to collect all three points, backing the hosts with a -1.5 start on the Asian Handicap or supporting Lyon-Lyon in the Half time/Full time market would be a smaarter approach.
Nice's Gouiri the man in form
Strasbourg vs Nice
Saturday, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport ESPN and Betfair Live Video
Anybody that watched these two sides in action last weekend may be surprised when they check the odds on the game. Strasbourg are [2.28] favourites to collect all three points, with Nice [3.6] and The Draw [3.45].
Of the two teams Nice were much the stronger last weekend: they ran out 2-1 winners at home to Lens, with £6.3 million summer signing Amine Gouiri netting both goals with real style. The France youth international was a real threat cutting in from the left-hand side and has a real eye for goal. Performing as he did last weekend, you wonder whether Lyon - the club where he emerged - will one day regret letting him go so cheaply.
By contrast Strasbourg were unimpressive, losing 3-1 at newly promoted Lorient having led 1-0 at half-time. Strasbourg's preparations for the game were disrupted by several positive covid tests and manager Thierry Laurey will feel as though his squad aren't in the best of shape for this game, either.
The large odds on a Nice victory throw up the opportunity to support the visitors on the Draw No Bet market. By doing so you'll make a profit if Nice win and get your stakes back if the game ends in a draw.
High goals the smart selection
Metz vs Monaco
Sunday, 14:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 2 and Betfair Live Video
Monaco were involved in matchday 1's most entertaining encounter when they drew 2-2 at home to Reims last weekend. New Monaco manager Niko Kovac saw his side go 2-0 down but they mounted an excellent comeback to earn a deserved point.
The Monaco line-up contained a number of young players and while the potential of several of their rookie professionals was evident, it's also clear that Monaco will make mistakes along the way. Centre-backs Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile showed what a threat they can be at attacking set-pieces by netting a goal each but they also made defensive mistakes leading to scoring opportunities for Reims.
Given the strengths and deficiencies of Monaco's new-look line-up and the fact that the Principality outfit will travel to Metz intent on collecting all three points having drawn at home last weekend, another open encounter is on the cards.
Metz have the attributes to contribute to a chance-laden 90 minutes. Like Monaco, defensively they can be found wanting, but they have an excellent finisher in Senegal international Habib Diallo (pictured above) and he'll be ably supported this season by Cape Verdean Vagner Goncalves, a £3 million signing from local rivals Nancy, whose energy, mobility and eye for goal will be assets in the months ahead.
This is one of the few games in Ligue 1 this weekend where Over 2.5 Goals looks like a smart investment.
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James' 2020-21 P/L
Back Lyon -1.5 Asian Handicap at home to Dijon @ [1.9]
Back Nice Draw No Bet at Strasbourg @ [2.6]
Back Metz vs Monaco Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.1]