Nimes did really well to avoid relegation last season, despite starting off the campaign on minus -8 points. Eventually they sailed over the line and easily survived. Their true points tally was well over the 50 point mark and they were one of the best teams in the ligue after the winter break. It’ll be interesting to see how much momentum they carry into this season. I’m not fully sure because a lot of player changes have taken place. Nimes have lost most of their goalscorers, but look to have replaced them relatively well. At the time of writing no official squad list has been published for this match so I’m not fully sure who’s in and who’s out. Important defender Anthony Briancon is rated doubtful though and probably won't play. Les Crocos didn’t play many friendlies and their results weren’t particularly good, but performance wise many fans were positive.
Les Tangos travel here at full strength, minus new attacking midfielder Romain Bayard who is injured. Relatively few changes have taken place at the club during the summer and it looks set to be ‘same old’ Laval! Under the management of Denis Zanko they are an extremely negative side, perhaps the most negative in the entire division. We know how they are going to operate, especially away from home. Their ambition will be to come here and pick up a clean sheet, making themselves hard to break down. Laval were unbeaten in their friendly matches, all of which typically ended in low scoring affairs. Les Tangos certainly aren't a glamorous team and too many draws will ensure they rarely get comfortably above the relegation zone. But love them or hate them, this team has a knack of being really hard to beat.
Conclusion & betting analysis
Here we have a naturally positive team against a very negative one. Nimes have been generally quite attacking under the management of Bernard Blaquart but might find it hard to break down Laval here. In terms of betting I’m very tempted with Nimes -0.25 @ decent odds around the 2.05 mark. Something is holding me back though and I have a nasty suspicion that Laval won't be beaten here. The draw risk might be too high and in the end I’ve decided to refrain from betting. This is the first day of the season and there’s no need to take any unnecessary risks, better opportunities lie elsewhere. It’ll be interesting to see if Laval manage to hold out for a clean sheet. Nimes weren’t blanked by many teams at home last year so the visitors might need to score a goal in order to get something. I’m going to predict Nimes 1-0 or 2-0, but I can’t be sure. Laval are an annoying team and if they managed to get their noses in front, they’d protect it like a dog with a bone! Like I said, I was really tempted to back Nimes -0.25, but in this instance I’ll play it safe and just watch.
Recommended bet: None