This is a meeting between two promoted teams and the H2H fixtures ended 0-0 and 2-0 (to Grenoble) respectively last season. Both sides have equipped themselves really well in Ligue 2, especially Grenoble who find themselves on 28 points and in promotion contention. They picked up a creditable 1-1 draw vs Metz at the weekend and before that held Lens 0-0 away. Grenoble have won 3 of their last 4 road games and will fancy their chances against a Beziers side yet to win in front of their own fans. Of course, things haven’t been helped by the fact that they aren’t playing at their natural home and instead forced to reside at Stade de la Mediterranee (rugby stadium in Beziers). They even had to play one game at a neutral venue in Montpellier so it’s no real surprise to see their home statistics reading 0-3-3.
I fancy Grenoble to win this game but their price isn’t that great. I am not personally convinced they deserve to be -0.25 favourites here and I would say a DNB line is fairer. They also had one day less to prepare for this fixture and might have exerted themselves a lot vs Metz on Saturday. Both sides are missing some players to injury in defensive areas and it’s possible there could be some rotation due to this being a midweek round. I think the value lies with over 2 goals. It’s noticeable that a lot of Grenoble road games have contained a good number of goals, apart from at Lorient and Lens when they were more defensive. This is the sort of fixture they should fancy winning though and I expect a more expansive game. It’s the sort of game in which neither should fear losing and fancy winning, so I think the overs is the best shout.
Recommended bet: Over 2 goals @2.01
Since firing Jean Luc Vasseur, Chateauroux have actually done surprisingly well. They’ve picked up 11 points from 6 games, including 3 victories all by a 1-0 margin. Les Berrichonne have also kept 4 clean sheets during this period and have looked very solid under their new coach Nicolas Usai. I have to give him credit because this isn't a very talented squad. I wasn’t sure that a change of coach would solve their problems, but Usai has certainly enjoyed a strong honeymoon - which is perhaps due to come to an end. My big concern with Chateauroux is a lack of firepower. They don't score goals very easily and now that key man upfront Oumare Tounkara is injured again it hardly helps their options upfront.
Le Havre meanwhile, are an inconsistent side that is probably underachieving. They have plenty of quality on paper but that doesn't always materialise into results. I’m just waiting for them to go on a good run that will propel them up the table. Scoring goals is also their major problem - just 18 netted in 16 games is a very poor return for a club with their ambitions. Maybe £2m summer signing Tino Kadewere might finally get more than 10 mins off the bench. They really need to start him sooner rather than later and tonight would be an excellent opportunity. I think Le Havre are fairly good value here. They should be a -0.75 Asian line but we can nearly grab even money on them to win the match. It’s probably a case of them being underrated a bit and Chateauroux suddenly overrated. Under 2.25 is probably a value pick as well but I prefer to back just Le Havre here and not commit too much to the game. I sense something like 1-0 or 2-0 home win and the only ‘danger’ scoreline to this bet is probably 0-0.
Recommended bet: Le Havre -0.5 @1.92
Lens had such a great start to the season but now there’s a massive danger of them completely capitulating. Les Sang et Or have failed to win any of their last 5 games, with 3 of those ending in defeats. They seem in a bit of a funk, although can take some comfort from the fact they came from 0-2 down to earn a late draw at Lorient on Friday night. However, it was a match which was very costly to them in terms of injury. Summer signing Aleksandar Radovanovic, who has been one of their best players is ruled out for the season due to a torn ACL. He joins fellow centre back Jean Kevin Duverne who has the exact same injury, although at least he should return in the new year. Right back Fabien Centonze also got injured at Lorient and is ruled out until January.
Brest on the other hand, are absolutely flying. They are unbeaten in 12 games and have won 9 of those fixtures. Right now, they probably look like the best side in Ligue 2 and you wouldn't want to be betting against them. The squad is in peak condition apart from midfielder Jessy Pi who has been on the sidelines for a few weeks now. Brest have an excellent away record this season and have always been good on the road under the management of Jean Marc Furlan. I am really surprised considering their brilliant form, Lens’ poor funk and recent injury problems at the back that Brest are such a big underdog here. I don't usually like backing away teams but it really makes sense taking a +0.25 handicap. A bet that I fancy even more is over 2.25 goals. The visitors are often involved in some frantic matches that become quite open. Lens will be forced to attack here because defence isn't going to get them a result tonight. They should put up a decent fight and hit the back of the net but I fancy Brest to outscore them and win.
Recommended bet: Brest +0.25 @2.05
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @1.88
There is a clash of styles here as the more cautious Niort take on Valenciennes, who often end up getting involved in some higher scoring contests. Valenciennes can be so wide open sometimes, it's just a question of whether Niort can take advantage of that here. My instinct tells me that this will be an attractive game containing goals, but the bookies have factored this in by offering quite a skinny looking over 2.25 line. The last four Niort games have ended 1-0 0-0 0-1 and 1-0 and they have been no stranger to lower scoring contests under new head coach Patrice Lair - they can defend. The best value is probably on Niort -0.25 close to the 1.85 mark. According to my estimations Les Chamois should be odds-on to win this match really so we are getting a whole full line value. Valenciennes have a terrible 1-1-5 away record and concede a bucket load of goals on a regular basis. The more effective unit in Niort can prevail here.
Recommended bet: Niort -0.25 @1.85
This is going to be a battle between two teams who can be really hard to beat. I’m not expecting a classic and I’m not expecting a lot of goalmouth action. Paris FC are just a very well disciplined and defensive side - they couldn’t even score against Valenciennes on Friday night and that was facing one of the worst defences in the league. I don't see them doing much better against a Clermont outfit who are much more solid at the back. Clermont are actually a really really good footballing team and play in a lovely technical style. They are a dark horse for promotion if you ask me, although they themselves sometimes have problems scoring goals and aren’t clinical enough - they tend to need a lot of chances to score. Unfortunately they won’t get that many here, so unless there is a moment of magic or a big mistake from someone I see a goalless draw.
Recommended bet: None
This is probably the hardest match of the day to predict in Ligue 2. Both teams have new coaches, and in the case of Sochaux this will be Omar Daf’s first home game in charge. I didn’t really notice too much of an improvement in Sochaux on Friday night apart from perhaps them looking more solid defensively. Even so, Les Lionceaux went down to a 0-1 defeat at Chateauroux. GFCA have shown some improvements under Herve Delle Maggiore but are still clearly a work in progress. Anything could happen here and no result would surprise me. The best value, if any is to be had is probably on over 2 or over 2.25 goals but this is only a gut feeling.
Recommended bet: None
Troyes have won 7 of their last 10 games and you can’t really knock their recent results. Performances have been good and they must surely fancy their chances against an Orleans side who have gone downhill lately. I always suspected that their surprising 6 match winning streak in Sept/Oct was a bit of a freak and they've since followed it up with some very poor results. The latest of those was losing 1-2 at home to Nancy and the sort of performance they had in that game was pretty appalling really. Troyes should have enough here and they are backable around the 1.90 mark, which is nothing brilliant but offers sufficient value to warrant a bet on them. Aside from winning at Red Star and GFCA, this Orleans team hasn’t impressed much away from home and quite frankly Troyes are a much better team. Orleans still miss key man at the back Adrien Mondray and the difference when he is and isn’t in the side is like night and day. Home win for me here.
Recommended bet: Troyes -0.5 @1.90
Auxerre are unbeaten in four games, which is their best run of the season so far. Things haven’t been great for AJA this season and I’m still not convinced with them to be honest. Their home record doesn’t leave much optimism either with fairly poor 2-2-4 statistics. Auxerre have never been historically strong at this stadium, they aren’t particularly well supported and at the moment I feel as though they are under more pressure in front of their own fans, where there is some discontent. Lorient have however lost 3 of their last 4 away games, and the victory in that period was a very fortunate 1-0 success at Beziers - they aren’t travelling very well at the moment. I find this match very difficult to predict. It could end 0-0 or something as wild as 2-2, I’m not sure. Any value is probably on over 2 or over 2.25. Both of these defences can be vulnerable on a bad day, although can equally perform quite well too. This clash looks like a good one to avoid due to its unpredictable nature.
Recommended bet: None
The odds for this game are priced up near enough exactly the same as my estimations - which is both a good and bad thing really. I don't really see any proper betting edge and it's also a really tough game to predict. I think both are good teams and I sense quite a tight, close contest in which goals will be at a premium. We saw Grenoble go to Lens last week and hold out very comfortably to a 0-0 draw. If they can do that away in Lens, there’s no reason why they can’t match Metz at home in similar fashion. The visitors have been the standout team in Ligue 2 so far this season but seem to have gone off the boil a bit recently.
They only labourted to unimpressive wins against GFCA and Chateauroux, and prior to that lost to Auxerre and held to a 0-0 at Lorient. Goalscoring doesn’t seem to be coming as easily for Metz right now, which isn't good news when they are likely to face a very study defence. The likes of Spano, Mombris, Gibaud & Vandenabeele have been outstanding this season and goalkeeper Brice Maubleau has also been playing really well. Grenoble do lack a bit of cutting edge in the final third of the field, so if a team is to claim victory then I’d say Metz are the most likely due to that extra bit of class. But I can’t be sure here and I think the league leaders are in for a really tough afternoon. I am happy just to watch this game and see how it goes.
Recommended bet: None
Both teams are overrated to a degree. I have said all season that Lorient aren’t the extreme force some make them out to be, but the same could be said about Lens at the moment too. They’ve lost 3 of their last 4 games and could only draw 0-0 vs Grenoble last week. In truth, they never really looked like breaking them down in that match and it was a deserved result. Lens haven’t actually really beaten anyone good away from home this year which is why I fancy Lorient more tonight. I personally think each of these two teams are fairly equal which begs the question why Lorient are such a big price on a -0.25 Asian Line? It’s not very often I’ve said it this season, but FCL look a bit of value for once. I was tempted to play them but overall I think there is a big chance of a draw in this fixture so I will leave it alone.
Recommended bet: None