Mark O’Haire’s European Footy Tips – Ligue 1 Week 3

France’s Ligue 1 kicks back into action Friday night with some chunky prices catching the eye ahead of the weekend.

Montpellier v PSG, Friday 21 August (19.30) – BT Sport Extra

PSG have made the perfect start to the defence of their Ligue 1 title winning both of their opening encounters against Lille and GFC Ajaccio without conceding a goal. Laurent Blanc’s men now head south to the Stade de la Mosson, eager to continue their 100% record.

In contrast, Montpellier are pointless and goalless from their first two fixtures and are unlikely to be get any change out of their all-conquering visitors. Rolland Courbis’ hosts finished 2014/15 in a lofty seventh-placed but a W1-D0-L6 return when welcoming top-eight rivals leaves a lot to be desired.

La Paillade were unfortunate to lose their curtain-raiser against newly-promoted Angers, twice hitting the woodwork. But Montpellier failed to lay a glove on Rennes last weekend and their lack of a consistent goalscoring threat will surely hamper their prospects of progression. The home side have scored just four goals in their last league 10 outings.

The Parisians came flying out of the blocks to dismiss minnows GFC Ajaccio last weekend in the capital and should be backed to make a similarly fast start on the Mediterranean coast.

Boylesports are offering 13/10 on the French champions in the Half-Time/Full-Time market and that holds plenty of appeal – PSG have won 22/39 (56%) of away league encounters under Blanc’s watch.

Toulouse v Monaco, Saturday 22 August (19.00) – BT Sport Extra

Monaco will have felt hard done by following their 3-1 Champions League qualifying loss at Valencia on Wednesday night but Leonardo Jardim’s team again proved what a dangerous animal they can be when playing away. The principality club had more efforts on goal, more corners and had a blatant penalty waved away.

Les Rouges et Blancs will be looking to dust themselves down and return to Ligue 1 action on Saturday night for a trip to Toulouse. Monaco have been the best performing away team in France since Jardim joined the club and their W13-D2-L5 return from 20 road trips under the Portuguese coach is not to be sniffed at.

Toulouse picked up 30 of their 42-point haul last season at their Stadium Municipal base but required Dominique Arribage’s intervention to avoid relegation at the back end of the campaign. Les Pitchouns have performed admirably in their opening day win over St Etienne, were a tad unlucky to lose at Caen last time out and having W5-D3-L2 when hosting top-half teams in 2014/15, will fancy their chances.

With Wissam Ben Yedder and Martin Braithwaite posing Ligue 1 defences problems, I’m confidant Toulouse can get on the scoresheet and play their part in a decent contest.

Both Teams To Score is offered at 10/11 and it’s a price worth taking considering it’s won in 14/20 (70%) of Toulouse’s home fixtures including 10 of their last 12 as hosts and 9/20 (45%) of Monaco’s away league games under Jardim’s charge.

Marseille v Troyes, Sunday 23 August (20.00) – BT Sport 1

Marseille have moved quickly to address the vacant head coach role at the Stade Velodrome following Marcelo Bielsa’s untimely resignation. Former Olympiakos and Sevilla boss Michel has been installed in the hot-seat this week with the club desperate to get their campaign up and running.

Les Phocéens have suffered successive 1-0 defeats against Caen and Reims and whilst results have been desperately disappointing for the adoring L’OM faithful, Marseille’s performances have at least given home supporters hope.

In both fixtures the nine-times French champions have carved out opportunities but lacked a clinical edge.

Marseille have claimed maximum points in 13 of their last 19 Ligue 1 matches as hosts and I’m surprised to see a repeat on Sunday night offered at a rather chunky 8/13.

Last season Bielsa’s troops were beaten in their first Velodrome outing before embarking on an 11-match winning streak in front of their home supporters and a repeat scenario is far from unthinkable now the past 10 days of trauma have passed.

Ligue 2 champions Troyes are making their first appearance on the road following promotion and although Jean-Marc Furlan’s charges finished 13 points clear at the top of the second tier, ESTAC still suffered seven defeats when playing away. The early signs suggest Troyes are capable of competing amongst France’s elite but they may suffer a set-back on Sunday.

But rather than risk a play on Marseille at odds-on, the 4/5 on the hosts to score Over 1.5 Goals looks a far more sensible play.

It’s a selection that’s proven profitable in 16 of those aforementioned 19 home outings and Troyes looked far from impenetrable when needing a last-gasp equaliser to draw 3-3 at home to Nice last weekend.