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Nice, Marseille Playing Catch-Up

PSG Still in Driver’s Seat in Ligue 1

It was an abbreviated Ligue 1 Matchweek 20 to ring in the New Year and goals were at a premium in the seven matches that went ahead. COVID and the African Cup of Nations have left many sides short-handed in what figures to be another strange week.

One constant is that Paris Saint-Germain is still leading the league despite some patchy recent form. We’ll cover PSG and the latest in Ligue 1 ahead of Matchweek 21, especially as it pertains to soccer betting.

PSG Still in Driver’s Seat as Nice, Marseille Play Catch Up
Jeff PACHOUD / AFP

French Ligue 1 Breakdown: Matchweek 21

PSG Drops Points Again

It wasn’t a full-strength Paris Saint-Germain that took on Lyon on Sunday and it certainly showed. Neymar remains out with an injury while Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Danilo Pereira all sat out with COVID.

So it wasn’t a surprise that PSG drew 1-1 on the road at Lyon. It took a 76th-minute goal from substitute defender Thilo Kehrer to draw level with Lyon, PSG’s fourth draw in its last five Ligue 1 matches.

Meanwhile, right back Achraf Hakimi is at the African Cup of Nations with Morocco while defender Abdou Diallo and midfielder Idrissa Gueye are with Senegal. So, expect PSG to have a little trouble in the month of January. They’re two-goal favorites vs Brest this weekend in a game where under 3½ goals looks appealing.

The Parisians still hold an 11-point lead in Ligue 1 and have been one of the best soccer picks of the season, but recent form is concerning.

Nice, Marseille Close Gap

Nice and Marseille took full advantage of PSG dropping points and won both of their respective matches. Nice managed an impressive 3-0 road win over Brest while Marseille eked out a 1-0 victory at Bordeaux. PSG’s lead over both Marseille and Nice stands at 11 points but OM has a game in hand.

Marseille has a crucial match vs Lille coming up. Les Dogues started off slowly but are undefeated in Ligue 1 since October and have the league’s leading scorer in Jonathan David.

The match is listed as a pick ‘em and is a pretty big toss-up. Lille still have top-three ambitions, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come away with a point after their match was postponed last weekend.

Meanwhile, Nice will try to make it four wins in a row against a visiting Nantes side that lost five players to the African Cup of Nations. At -120 odds for betting online, I think Nice are a good pick.

Outside Looking In

Rennes fell to Lens 1-0 and lost its third straight match. However, they’re still in fourth place as fifth-place Montpellier’s match vs Troyes was postponed.

Rennes will attempt to end its skid vs a struggling Bordeaux on Sunday is a heavy favorite to do so. That’s in spite of losing keeper Alfred Gomis, Nayef Aguerd, Hamari Traore and Kamaldeen Sulemana to AFCON.  I’d lean toward under three goals in the match.

Montpellier still holds Ligue 1’s longest active win streak at four matches, but is a sizable underdog to extend it at Strasbourg. At +310, there’s decent value on Montpellier but a draw or Strasbourg win is certainly more likely.

Sixth-place Lens ended a six-game winless run in Ligue 1 with an important win over Rennes. They come up against last place Saint-Etienne this weekend and should come away with a win. Take Lens at +115 in the sportsbook.

Monaco only has one player involved at AFCON, which should be an advantage in the month of January. However, they’re in a bit of a tumultuous period. Niko Kovac was sacked last week amid reports of falling out with captain Wissam Ben Yedder.

The seventh-place side came away with just a point vs. Nantes last weekend in a scoreless draw and are big favorites vs Clermont on Sunday. I’d stay away from betting on Monaco for a little while longer.

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