Ligue 1 Betting: Tough test for PSG after Barcelona delight

Angel Di Maria was outstanding for PSG in the Champions League in midweek
Angel Di Maria was outstanding for PSG in the Champions League in midweek
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After making another profit on Ligue 1 last weekend James Eastham picks out the best bets across the latest round of top flight games in France...

"Bastia have fallen into the relegation zone following a run of dreadful form (W0-D2-L5). Monaco have won 14 of their 25 Ligue 1 games this season by two or more goals."

Best Bet: Monaco -1 Asian handicap at Bastia @ [1.83]

Bastia v Monaco (19th v 1st)
Fri, 19:45 GMT
Live on BT Sport ESPN

Monaco will have one eye on next Tuesday's Champions League last 16 first leg away to Manchester City but should still have enough focus and motivation to pick up all 3pts on Friday night.

Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim may rotate his squad in order to keep some of his more important players fresh ahead of that visit to the Etihad Stadium but Monaco have proved on several occasions this season that they can field a weakened side and still be strong enough to beat the majority of their Ligue 1 counterparts.

Bastia have fallen into the relegation zone following a run of dreadful form. Winless in their last seven matches in all competitions (W0-D2-L5), there is an increasingly big chance the Corsicans will fall out of France's top flight at the end of the season.

The absence for this match of Bastia's best two attacking players, France U21 centre-forward Enzo Crivelli and France U20 winger Allan Saint-Maximin, leaves them desperately short of firepower and makes it even more likely they'll be unable to live with the far more talented visitors.

As you'd expect, Monaco are short odds to win ([1.52]). For that reason, the visitors are a better bet on the Asian handicap. With our selection you'll get your stakes back if Monaco win by a single goal and make money if Monaco win by two goals or more - something they've done in 14 of 25 Ligue 1 games this season.

For a full guide to Asian handicap betting, click here.

Recommended Bet
Monaco -1 Asian handicap @ [1.83]

Lorient v Nice (20th v 3rd)
Sat, 19:00 GMT

Lorient have Ligue 1's worst defensive record but this could be a lower-scoring encounter than the market suggests.

First, Lorient simply have to try to defend better following their dreadful performance at St Etienne (4-0 defeat) last weekend.

Manager Bernard Casoni has encouraged his players to play open, attacking football since he took over last November but that approach clearly isn't working and the hosts are bound to be more cautious following last weekend's mauling.

Second, Nice's 11-goal leading scorer Alassane Plea is ruled out by injury. They'll be less dangerous in the final third without him as Mario Balotelli, due to get a recall, has looked less than committed in recent weeks.

Third, Nice's games have not been as high-scoring as you might suspect of title challengers. Fourteen of their 25 Ligue 1 games (56%) have had Under 2.5 goals, a figure that rises to 75% (eight out of 12) looking at their away games only.

The odds of just under evens on this game featuring two or fewer goals are good value.

Recommended Bet
Under 2.5 Goals @ [1.9]

PSG v Toulouse (2nd v 9th)
Sun, 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 1

Backing 'Yes' in the Both Teams to Score market here may seem odd given PSG kept a clean sheet against Barcelona in the Champions League (4-0 win) in midweek but Toulouse actually stand a decent chance of achieving what the Catalans' 'MSN' attack couldn't by putting one past PSG at Parc des Princes.

Toulouse were one of Ligue 1's big movers in the January transfer market, bringing in strikers Andy Delort (from Tigres of Mexico) and Corentin Jean (on loan from Monaco) to bolster their attack.

The result is a new-look, 4-2-3-1 line-up and a front four made-up of Jean (right wing), Oscar Trejo (playmaker), Denmark international Daniel Braithwaite (left wing) and Andy Delort (centre-forward) that has made Toulouse both more exciting to watch and more effective.

In three games using this front four Toulouse have scored nine times, recording 4-0 and 4-1 wins over Angers and Bastia respectively. They're highly unlikely to keep a clean sheet as PSG have scored in 18/19 home games in all competitions this season, so it makes sense for Toulouse to play to their strengths and try to put the PSG back four under pressure.

Given how Toulouse have shaped up in recent weeks the odds-against price is worth taking ahead of what should be an entertaining clash.

Recommended Bet
Both Teams to Score @ [2.44]

James' 2016/17 P/L

Staked: 74pts
Returned: 80.54pts
P/L: +6.54pts (9% ROI)

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