This weekend, a new season of French Ligue 1 soccer kicks off. But I wouldn’t expect any new results, because Paris Saint-Germain is poised yet again to run away with the league.
According to the top soccer betting sites, PSG comes in as the strong favorite placed at 1/9 odds. Up next in second place, we have Lyon sitting at a distant 12/1, followed by Lille in third at 20/1 odds. In a close fourth comes Marseille marked at 22/1, and then rounding out the top five for us is Monaco figured with 25/1 odds. The last closest team to this pack is a sixth-place 33/1 St. Etienne, and then after that, we completely go down the hill: Nice (100/1), Montpellier (100/1), Rennes (100/1), and it gets much worse from there.
If interested, you can also check out my season previews and predictions on the English Premier League and Italia Serie A.
In the 2017-18 campaign, Paris Saint-Germain would win Ligue 1 by a healthy margin of 13 points. Next season in 2018-19, PSG would improve that margin up to 16 points. Here in the 2019-20 campaign, you can expect a similar mark, though don’t be surprised to see even more improvement shown in May 2020. The scary thing is, Les Parisiens (The Parisians) didn’t necessarily strengthen over the offseason. They’re just so strong that the rest of the competition is still lengths behind Thomas Tuchel and Paris SG.
As you’ll see, Paris Saint-Germain will be entering the new season with pretty much the same look as 2018-19. The only departures for Les Rouge et Bleu (The Red and Blues) were Dani Alves to Sao Paulo and Adrien Rabiot to Juventus. As far as their acquisitions, they would pull in Abdou Diallo from Borussia Dortmund, Idrissa Gueye out of Everton, as well as Ander Herrea arriving from Manchester United. Other than that, PSG brings in the same squad from last season. That’s because they’re already led by elite talents such as Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar. With those three alone on the team, no Ligue 1 club even comes close to the power of Paris Saint-Germain.
The club’s dominance is shown in their heavy 1/9 odds, and that figure is quite deserving considering they’re going for their seventh championship in eight seasons. With that being said, betting on any other club to win Ligue 1 would be a complete waste of money.
Out of the rest of the league, the safest bet to ride with to secure a top-three spot in Ligue 1 is Lyon, and that’s based on the ability of their attacking alone. They did take a loss in the form of Nabil Fekir to Real Betis, but Les Gones (The Kids) have the best forward line outside of Paris Saint-Germain: Bertrand Traore, Maxwell Cornet, Memphis Depay, Moussa Dembele and Martin Terrier.
The only thing that could hold Olympique Lyonnais back is their risk on rookie manager Sylvinho, we’re still not completely sure how the former Arsenal full-back will fare as management.
Monaco would have a dismal season in 2018-19, but there should be much improvement in the new campaign. They wouldn’t bring in any new talent, but they did retain the same core that could hit their full potential this season. Some of those players include Rony Lopes, Gelson Martins, Cesc Fabregas, among others, and that’s enough talent to lock up a top-three spot for them in Ligue 1.
For Marseille, they would bring in Andre Villas-Boas as their new manager, and he said his objective for the club is to take a top-three spot in the league. Olympique de Marseille is coming into the new campaign pretty thin, and they would also take losses in the form of Mario Balotelli (end of loan) and Lucas Ocampos to Sevilla. However, Les Phoceens (The Phocaeans) would go out and spend £14.7 million in the offseason on striker Dario Benedetto out of Boca Juniors. Marseille also retains Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin to operate the passes and crosses. If Villas-Boas can institute a bit more positivity in the club’s culture, OM could go from fifth place last season to finding themselves in the top three.
Last campaign, Lille would come out of nowhere to take the second spot in Ligue 1 when the smoke had cleared. With that being the case, one of the biggest questions here in 2019-20 is: Can another club repeat that success? Maybe, but it won’t be Lille Olympique Sporting Club themselves. Not only would they lose Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal, but competing in the Champions League this season is sure to tire them out in Ligue 1 play. You can expect Lille to drop back on the table this season.
The wiser picks for a top-four bet are St. Etienne and Rennes.
Clubs that are promised to decline this season are Montpellier, Nimes, and Nice.
For Montpellier, they lost their great goaltender in Benjamin Lecomte to Monaco, while their former right wing-back Ruben Aguilar will be joining Les Monegasques (The Monegasques) as well. They would pull in a star acquisition in the form of Teji Savanier from Nimes, but he’s ruled out of action until October. As a result, you can expect La Paillade to drop from their sixth-place spot last season to mid-table in 2019-20.
You can expect Nimes to have their position cranked down the table as well, especially without playmaker Savanier. He would lead Ligue 1 in assists en route to Nimes Olympique Football Club finishing in ninth place. Now that Savanier is out of the picture, don’t be surprised to see Nimes drop all the way down to find themselves in a relegation battle. With the exception of Savanier, they would also take a big hit losing their sporting director Laurent Boissier, who was highly influential in the transfer market. For sure, Nimes will miss his presence to bring in talent.
Waiting for a takeover to go through, Nice’s offseason was put in limbo and they were unable to participate in the transfer market. The good news for Olympique Gymnaste Club Nice Cote d’Azur is that the buyout could elevate the status of the club, however, the bad news is that Nice is going to take a hit in the short-term. With Les Aiglons (The Eaglets) not being prepared for the new campaign, you can expect their No. 7 finish last season to drop into the double-figures.
With Paris Saint-Germain being such a heavy favorite to win their seventh Ligue 1 title in eight years, there’s absolutely zero value on placing a winner bet on PSG. And not just that, but all of the competition has zero value as well with Les Parisiens being such an overwhelming top-dog. Very similar to what Juventus has done with Italia Serie A betting, Paris Saint-Germain have completely canceled an all-out winner market for years now. The only exception was in the 2016-17 campaign when Monaco would take the league. So, what are some profitable bets to make in Ligue 1?
First off, you have the Top 3 Finish market. As a matter of fact, you won’t have to worry about PSG at all in this bet as they’re exempt. With that being said, Lyon is placed as the top favorite at 8/15, while Marseille is in second listed at 9/4. Monaco and Lille come in a tie for third place at 4/1 odds.
In my view, the figure on Lyon looks accurate, but I don’t rock with Monaco’s number, the odds should be shorter than Marseille’s and certainly Lille’s. With that being said, there’s a lot of value in taking Monaco in this bet, especially with the talent on their club.
Another wager that you could make is in the To Be Relegated market, though it comes along with some risk with the new system. If we were in the old relegation system, Nimes would have been very valuable at 9/4. However, Ligue 1 now has it where only two teams are automatically relegated. As far as the No. 18 club, they’ll face off against an opponent from Ligue 2 to see who will be featured in Ligue 1 — not much profit there though. And with that being said, there really isn’t much value anywhere else with this particular bet, but it’s one that you could make.
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