Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his favourite fancies from the weekend with a pair of plays from Ligue 1.
GOALS FORECAST IN FRANCE
Toulouse booked a quarter-final berth in the Coupe de France in midweek following an impressive 3-1 victory over in-form Reims.
The eye-catching success arrives hot on the heels of a five-game unbeaten Ligue 1 streak (W4-D1-L0) that was only ended last weekend in a spirited 2-1 defeat away at defending champions PSG in Paris.
The newly-promoted outfit were a touch unfortunate to leave the capital empty-handed with Philippe Montanier’s dynamic and progressive side consolidating back in the top-tier after a two-year absence.
Téfécé are stacked with untapped quality from across the globe with a sprinkling of local stars already earning rave reviews for their headline efforts.
Set-piece extraordinaire Branco van den Boomen has taken Ligue 1 by storm. The 27-year-old was plucked from De Graafschap in 2020 having barely featured in the Eredivisie, yet the Dutchman was the standout player in Ligue 2 last season and has quickly attracted interest from elsewhere having carried that high class form into the current campaign.
Toulouse now return to league action on Sunday for the visit of Rennes and punters have a great opportunity to support a goal-heavy game at Stadium de Toulouse with Over 2.5 Goals trading at an attractive 1.87.
Les Violets almost always take a positive and proactive approach – regardless of opposition, and particularly in front of their home supporters.
Les Violets boast a heady blend of pace and potential and relish their battles with the big guns.
However, Montanier’s men have managed just a solitary win against sides outside the bottom-six and have suffered defeat in all seven showdowns versus top-six opposition, suggesting they’ve not yet found the formula to match the leading lights.
Téfécé have scored in 18 of 22 fixtures following their second-tier title, including eight of 10 as hosts – only firing blanks against Monaco and PSG here.
Toulouse have recorded just two home clean sheets of their own with Stadium de Toulouse encounters averaging 3.27 goals per-game. An encouraging mix for a pro-goals punt.
A W3-D0-L4 return has seen Rennes slide six points shy of the top-three in France and Bruno Genesio’s group have struggled on their travels since the World Cup break, losing by the same 2-1 scoreline at Lorient, Reims and Clermont.
Those three contests extended Les Rouge et Noir’s streak of delivering winning Both Teams To Score bets in all 10 away trips.
Despite Rennes own dodgy defensive numbers, the visitors almost always carry a threat of their own with SRFC notching in all bar one of their 22 league tussles in 2022/23, with 16 of their most recent 20 outings paying out for Over 2.5 Goals backers.
Overall, Toulouse and Rennes have combined to cash for Over 2.5 Goals hunters in 31/44 (71%) Ligue 1 matches, with 11 (79%) of their collective 14 dates since the World Cup also seeing this wager bank.
I’m more than happy to invest in a repeat with Ligue 1 returning a 55% win-rate in this market and an average of 2.87 goals per-game.
A NICE PLAY FOR FRIDAY NIGHT
Nice’s revival under former Middlesbrough midfielder Didier Digard is difficult to ignore.
Les Aiglons dismissed Lucien Favre in early January after a humiliating Coupe de France exit against third-tier team Le Puy, as well as a dismal run of domestic performances, yet the on-field response from the Côte d’Azur club has been exceptional.
Nice dismembered Montpellier 6-1 before holding in-form Reims 0-0 away. Les Aiglons followed those fixtures up with three exceptional victories over high-flying trio Lille, Lens and Marseille.
Last weekend’s 3-1 triumph at the latter showcased the quality at Digard’s disposal with January signing Terem Moffi making an industrious debut leading the line.
Digard has simplified matters and provided newfound belief and confidence for an underachieving group.
Fielding a 4-3-3 system that utilises key assets in their preferred positions has had a transformative effect on standards with Nice averaging 1.71 Expected Goals (xG) under their interim boss, firing in an average 6.80 shots on-target in that sample.
Nice now have a great opportunity to extend their unbeaten streak when lowly Ajaccio arrive.
The Corsicans were ante-post favourites to finish bottom of the pile and the L’ours are in the mire, having been beaten in four of their past five fixtures.
Olivier Pantaloni’s posse have W1-D2-L12 against the top-13 and recorded three clean sheets since promotion.
Ajaccio’s creaking rearguard is set to be understrength on Friday night with suspension and injuries afflicting selection, whilst going forward the L’ours have proven particularly impotent too.
No side has generated a worse non-penalty Expected Goals (npxG) output and that’s reflected in the visitors’ league-low tally of only 18 goals this season.
With Ajaccio struggling in both boxes and Nice performing like top-six contenders, I’ll happily support the hosts here off a -0.5/1 handicap start at 1.79.
If Nice win by exactly one goal, we’ll make a half-stakes profit, whilst a victory by a two-goal margin or more returns a full-stakes pay-out.
- Over 2.5 Goals in Toulouse vs Rennes – 1 unit @ 1.87
- Nice -0.5/1 in Nice vs Ajaccio – 1 unit @ 1.79
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