Our French football scribe previews week 31 of the 2016/17 Ligue 1 season.We may have a shortened fixture list in store this weekend but there’s still some fantastic value on offer for the shrewd punter out there. Big guns PSG and Monaco sit out this gameweek 31 as they are set to meet in the Coupe de la Ligue final on Saturday evening. Their absence provides Nice, who take on Bordeaux, with an ideal opportunity to reclaim some ground on the league's frontrunners.
Friday 31 March
Guingamp 9/10 | Draw 23/10 | Nancy 32/10 (19:00)
We kick off proceedings with a clash between 10th-placed Guingamp and 18th-placed Nancy. The hosts have produced a mixed-bag of results over the past month or so, winning once, drawing once, losing once. Conversely, Nancy have been a model of consistency, losing all three of the games they have played in March.
Nancy may be playing for their survival in the top tier of French football but I can’t see their desperation seeing them to a win against Guingamp, who have a decent home record. Get on a Guingamp win at a decent 9/10.
Saturday 1 April
Marseille 4/10 | Draw 36/10 | Dijon 57/10 (17:00)
Moving swiftly onto Saturday now, and Marseille and Dijon will have the honour of getting things underway. The hosts may be coming into this one off the back of a draw against Caen, but they really have turned their season around over the past two months. Their return to form has seen them move from mid-table mediocrity to the upper quarter of the log and it looks like they will secure a Europa League berth.
While Marseille occupy a comfortable position on the standings, Dijon must be extremely nervous as they sit one position off the relegation zone. Like Nancy, Dijon will be desperate to get the win here but I just can’t see them doing it. It may not be the greatest value in the world but a Marseille win is an absolute banker.
Bastia 23/10 | Draw 2/1 | Lille 13/10 (19:00)
We close out Saturday’s action with a clash between a struggling Bastia outfit and Lille. A victory for the visitors would pretty much secure their place in the top tier of French football for another season, while a win for the hosts could see them move closer to safety.
Bastia have only picked up two points form their last five fixture, with their last victory coming back in gameweek 18. Lille, on the other hand, are undefeated in three and come into this one off the back of a respectable draw with a much-improved Marseille outfit.
Lille have won the last two encounters between the two sides by a 2-1 score line, while the last four clashes have seen both sides find the back of the net. I’m going to stick with the trend here and back the Both Teams to Score – Yes – market at a healthy 23/20.
Sunday 2 April
Rennes 33/10 | Draw 26/10 | Lyon 15/20 (15:00)
Rennes and Lyon square off in the first of Sunday’s five fixtures. The hosts come into the game off the back of a 0-0 away draw with Toulouse while the visitors make the trip to Roazhon Park having gone down by a 2-1 scoreline to PSG in gameweek 30.
Lyon have won three of the last five games between the duo, with their latest victory being a 1-0 win, which they achieved earlier this year. My money is on them doing the double over their opponents. Get on the away win at 15/20.
Lorient 12/10 | Draw 9/4 | Caen 22/10 (17:00)
Cellar-dwellers Lorient will be looking to keep their hopes of survival alive when they host a Caen side who claimed a draw against Nice only two weeks ago.
Lorient actually have quite a healthy record against Caen, winning three of the last five contests between the sides. Their home record against these opponents is even more impressive with Caen last winning at the Stade du Moustoir back in 2011. I fancy the hosts to maintain their solid home record against Caen here. Get on the home win at 12/10!
Montpellier 11/10 | Draw 22/10 | Toulouse 26/10 (17:00)
Montpellier will be looking to end a two-game losing streak when they take on Toulouse this Sunday. The hosts have been in pretty poor form, shipping seven goals in their last two fixtures. They will have to arrest this extremely quickly if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation dogfight.
Toulouse have also struggled for results of late and have only managed to pick up three points from their last four fixtures. Toulouse have won three of the last five contests between the duo. I don’t fancy the outright win market here, however. Instead, I will be backing the Totals – Over 2.5 Goals – market at 19/20.
Nantes 11/10 | Draw 21/10 | Angers 11/4 (17:00)
The penultimate gameweek 31 fixtures sees Nantes take on Angers in a mid-table clash. The hosts have been priced up as firm favourites here but Angers have upset the applecart a few times this term and it would be foolhardy to be against them. Hence, my tip for this one is the Both Teams to Score – Yes – market at 23/20.
Nice 5/4 | Draw 22/10 | Bordeaux 22/10 (21:00)
Nice will be looking to close the gap on PSG and Monaco when they take on Bordeaux this Saturday. The hosts have endured a horrid few weeks, which have seen them fall seven points adrift of league leaders, Monaco. Bordeaux come into this one off the back of a highly impressive 5-1 victory over Montpellier. Les Girondins have been involved in quite a few high scoring game this term, so their 5-1 victory shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.
Bordeaux will be on an absolute high after thrashing Montpellier, which makes me nervous to tip a straight Nice win. Instead, my money is going on the Totals – Over 2.5 Goals – market, which is available at a healthy 19/20.
Treble @ 37/10
Guingamp Win 9/10
Marseille win 4/10
Lyon Win 15/20
Written by Darry Worthington @Hollywoodbets