- In similar fashion to last season, Nimes have started the new year in excellent form. In total, Les Crocos have picked up 14 points out of a possible 18 and are unbeaten in 6 games.
- Even more impressively, Nimes managed to pick up most of these results without key players such as Larry Azouni, Christian Kouakou & leading scorer Rachid Alioui. It just shows there is a really good dynamic in the squad right now and they are a serious form team.
- Nimes have been surprisingly below par at home this season, winning just twice. However, they remain hard to beat here and should be buoyed by the excellent 3-0 victory against Niort in front of their own fans on Tuesday night.
- Attacking midfielder Karim Ait Fana is injured and so is first choice keeper Gauthier Gallon. Everyone else is available though and the squad is in good condition.
- For TFC, it’s been the opposite, They are winless since the winter break and despite not playing too badly it’s obvious they aren't in great form. As a result of other teams around them winning a lot recently, Tours are now rock bottom of the table four points from safety.
- The pressure has increased again on coach Fabien Mercadal. He’s been on the hotseat all season and losing 0-3 at home to Amiens on Tuesday night hardly helps his cause.
- TFC have the worst defence in Ligue 2, conceding a whopping 37 goals. They have improved in this department since the early stage of the season, but not by too much.
- The central defensive duo Cyriaque Louvion & Johan Gradit are both ruled out and fellow man at the back Roderic Filippi might be fatigued. Key midfielder Haris Belkebla is rated doubtful. There is a tired feeling surrounding this squad right now.
Conclusion & betting analysis
- To me, it’s fairly clear both teams are in completely different form at the moment. Nimes are flying and have been for some time. Their tails are really up at the moment and they are worthy favourites around the even money mark.
- Tours aren’t as bad as some people might think but this looks a difficult situation for them. With defenders ruled out, morale a bit low and talk of tiredness in the squad then I have to favour Nimes.
- I’m happy to back the hosts on a -0.25 handicap @ 1.72. I think anything 1.60+ is acceptable on this line. It is always best to take the lowest handicap acceptable in French football due to the high draw rate.
- Over 2.25 is something I like the idea of backing as well. Nimes really have an eye for goal and are especially dangerous now the likes of Alioui & Kouakou have returned. Tours are going to be vulnerable at the back but do possess a threat in attack themselves. Both teams will probably score here but Nimes could score three on their own to cover this line if needed.
- I’m not such a fan of having two main bets in a match these days. But in this instance I feel strongly enough about the home win and overs to pull the trigger on both.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Nimes -0.25 @ 1.72 (minimum odds acceptable 1.60)
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.79 (minimum odds acceptable 1.65)