It was a wild week in Ligue 1. Brest continued their improbable ascent up the table with a sixth straight win, on the road at Marseille nonetheless. Strasbourg also destroyed Nice 3-0 on the road and league leaders Paris Saint-Germain drew just their second match of the season.
PSG is still the overwhelming soccer betting favorites to win the league and holds an 11-point lead over second-place Rennes. It’s not exactly an insurmountable gap and Rennes did bounce back beautifully from a defeat to Lille to demolish Saint-Etienne 5-0 on the road.
We’ll discuss all of the latest updates in Ligue 1 in this early December Ligue 1 breakdown.
French Ligue 1 Breakdown
Concerns About PSG Speak to High Expectations
Something isn’t quite right with PSG. They’ve won just four of their last nine matches in all competitions and drew consecutive matches in Ligue 1 vs. Nice and Lens last week. They were expected to beat Lens but following Keylor Navas’s goalkeeping blunder, PSG needed a stoppage-time equalizer from Georginio Wijnaldum to save a point.
Neymar is still out injured and not expected back until January and attacking midfielder Julian Draxler is also out. Injuries still don’t quite explain why PSG hasn’t been as dominant as it was in the early stages of the season.
In the last two matches, the Parisians just weren’t clinical with their chances and Lionel Messi has been no exception to that rule. The Ballon D’or winner put just one of his 11 shots last week on target and has just one goal in nine Ligue 1 matches.
Messi’s desire to stay at Barcelona was well-documented and he hasn’t adjusted to life in Paris as well as hoped. Shockingly, no PSG player is a top-five scorer in Ligue 1.
Luckily for PSG, all of their main title challengers, apart from Rennes, drew or lost in Matchweek 17. Still one of the best soccer picks of the season, PSG is -5000 favorites, down from -6600 last week, to win Ligue 1.
With a big match vs Monaco coming up on Sunday, PSG is listed as -220 favorites to get back in the win column but isn’t a great value pick. Monaco is undefeated in its last five Ligue 1 matches and coming off of a dominant 4-0 win over Metz. It might be worth throwing a Hail Mary on Monaco at +525 this weekend.
Contenders or Pretenders?
Listed at long +10000 odds to win the title, second-place Rennes might be one of the best value picks for betting online out there. Martin Terrier scored a hat trick vs a struggling Saint-Etienne as Rennes bounced back nicely from a 2-1 midweek loss at Lille in a 5-0 win.
Rennes is also one of the most popular picks to win the UEFA Conference League, at +1000, and has won three of its last four Ligue 1 matches. They can crucially go seven points ahead of fourth-place Nice if they beat them at home on Sunday. At -105, Rennes is a good pick vs a Nice side that has won just one of its last five matches.
As good as Rennes have been, no team has looked like serious challengers to PSG in recent weeks. Third-place Marseille dropped a match at home to a surging Brest team and missed out on an opportunity to close the gap with PSG to 10 points. Marseille now faces a solid Strasbourg side, coming off a 3-0 win over Nice, on the road in a game that promises to be difficult.
Interestingly enough, 11th-place Lille has the third-best odds to win the league and the defending Champions have been much better in recent weeks. They won both of their matches 2-1 last week, over Rennes and Troyes, and are now within three points of the top four.
In Jonathan David, they have Ligue 1’s current top scorer, and the young Canadian has turned heads with his performances. We should expect Lille to continue to climb from its current position of 11th and all three points vs Lyon on Sunday would certainly help.
Like Lille, Lyon has underperformed expectations in Ligue 1 but has done very well in the Europa League. Lyon are languishing in 12th place but is still being respected by the latest sportsbook odds at Lille. Lyon is listed at +165 to get a big road win while Lille has modest +150 odds at home.
Brest Doing the Impossible
How have Brest gone from relegation favorites to European contenders in the span of weeks? Well, the goals were always there as Brest has scored in every match they’ve played. The improvement has come on defense as they’ve conceded just three goals in the last six matches.
Brest was winless through its first 11 matches. Now, Michel der Zakarian’s side has defeated Monaco, Lens and Marseille and is on a six-game win streak that would have looked impossible just a couple months ago.
It’ll be interesting to see if Brest, led by in-form midfielder Romain Faivre, can continue the streak vs Montpellier on Saturday and win as +110 favorites.