The ex-Argentina manager is inspiring the south coast giants while PSG face another test of their title credentials on Sunday night, writes James Eastham...
"Six of Lille's eight victories against sides currently in the bottom six were by a margin of two or more goals."
Resurgent OM the smart selection
Nice vs Marseille (12th vs 5th)
Sat, 16:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport Extra 2 and Betfair Live Video
The arrival of Jorge Sampaoli as new manager has had an instantly positive impact at Marseille and l'OM are a good bet to reap the benefits of his invigorating presence this weekend.
Without playing particularly well Marseille have recorded 2/2 wins since Sampaoli took charge earlier this month, beating Rennes 1-0 and then seeing off Brest 3-1 last weekend.
The most encouraging thing about Marseille's first two performances under Sampaoli was the players' never-say-die attitude, something we've seen far too infrequently at this club this season.
Against Rennes, former Bayern playmaker Michael Cuisance came off the bench to score the winner two minutes from time, and goals in the 88th and 92nd minute from Florian Thauvin and Cuisance sealed the win against Brest.
There's a fresh sense of purpose about Marseille and that means they ought to get something from this trip along the south coast of France this weekend.
Hosts Nice have under-performed this season, and the decision to sack Patrick Vieira earlier in the campaign hasn't had the desired effect.
The team has continued to disappoint under current manager Adrian Ursea and they're closer to the relegation than the European positions.
With Nice struggling to find any meaningful objective to play for, the motivational pendulum has swung heavily towards Marseille ahead of this fixture.
That ought to be enough to ensure the visitors get something and they're an appealing pick at 2.56/4.
Alternatively, back Marseille on the Draw No Bet market in order to get your stakes back if the game ends all-square.
Lille to maintain title challenge
Lille vs Nimes (1st vs 19th)
Sun, 16:05 GMT
Live on BT Sport Extra 3 and Betfair Live Video
Lille, 4.57/2 title betting second favourites, are top of the Ligue 1 table with just nine games to go and have an excellent opportunity to stretch their advantage over their nearest rivals this weekend.
With Lyon and PSG meeting on Sunday night at least one of the two teams immediately behind them in the standings will drop points while Christophe Galtier's hosts ought to pick up a maximum haul from this game against relegation-threatened Nimes.
Nimes have improved in recent weeks (W2-D2-L1 from their last five games) but there's a gulf in class between these sides and Lille have shown no signs of slipping up as the season run-in comes into view.
The mental strength and focus of Galtier's players have been tremendous all season and they're a terrific bet to come out on top here.
Lille are W9-D5-L1 at home this season but even more interesting is their record against sides that, like Nimes, are in the bottom six at the moment.
Lille are W8-D2-L0 in such games, showing what flat-track bullies they can be against the division's weakest sides.
Six of their eight victories against bottom-six opponents came by two or more goals, which points towards the Asian Handicap market.
Instead of backing Lille at short odds of 1.351/3 to win, back them at longer odds on the Asian Handicap as per our selection on this match. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.
PSG under serious pressure
Lyon vs PSG (3rd vs 2nd)
Sun, 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video
Second meets third in Sunday night's mouthwatering clash and the pressure is all on PSG as they travel to the Groupama Stadium.
These two sides are tied on 60 points and PSG's title hopes will be seriously in the balance if they fail to pick up points.
Lyon are 3.02/1, with PSG 2.35/4 and The Draw 4.03/1. Based on how PSG's season has gone so far, their odds on winning look too short.
If you want to see why PSG are off the pace rather than cruising towards yet another title triumph, look no further than their results against the division's other top sides.
PSG have picked up just four points from a possible 21 against other sides currently in the top six - a disastrous return for a team of their standards.
Their W1-D1-L5 record in such games tells a sorry tale and is the main reason why opposing PSG makes sense this weekend.
PSG lost 1-0 at home to Lyon the first time these sides met this season and the visitors have team news problems, too.
Recovering from injury, Neymar (pictured above) is likely to only start on the bench, while Mauro Icardi is ruled out and Moise Kean is only just returning after a spell in quarantine following a positive covid test.
While Kylian Mbappe has been in sensational form, the lack of firepower around him is a concern.
Lyon are W9-D3-L2 in all competitions in 2021 and will be pumped-up to prove their own title credentials.
While backing the hosts to collect all three points carries a certain amount of risk given the quality in the PSG ranks even when Mauricio Pochettino's side aren't on top form, the hosts on the Draw No Bet market is an appealing proposition.
An even simpler selection would be to lay the visitors. By doing so, you'll make a profit if Lyon win or the game ends in a draw.
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James’ 2020-21 P/L