The antepost market in Ligue 1 generally has plenty of value. Unfortunately with the shorter pre-season, some of the nicer markets haven’t been set up e.g. Top 10 Finish. However, with a little digging, there’s always some value to be had. Below are my selections for the upcoming Ligue 1 2022/23 season.
Betting Without PSG
Too many question marks hang over the runners in this market. Lyon have announced Alexandre Lacazette as captain, the very player who criticized beleaguered head coach Peter Bosz a week earlier. Bosz’s tactical confusion will likely continue from last season meaning Lyon will be great to watch going forward but concede too many at the other end.
Marseille have replaced Jorge Sampaoli with Igor Tudor. The former left after the club failed to sanction a deal for William Saliba. One feels he was getting an extra 10% from the squad last season and that could prove difficult to repeat this year. Colombian Luis Suarez looks an ideal candidate to lift the workload from the aging, and injured, Dimitri Payet.
Nice have had a lack lacklustre transfer window although the late signing of Kasper Schmeichel will offset the loss of Ligue 1’s best goalkeeper from last season, Walter Benítez. Lucien Favre returns to replace PSG bound Christope Galtier so expect the Riveira side to adopt a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 system. Nice’s weakness last year was a lack of a decent return from the wings in Galtier’s 4-4-2 system.
Rennes sold influencial captain and centre back Nayef Aguerd to West Ham but reinvested the sale into Belgian Arthur Theate from Italian side Bologna. If the media is to be believed, he was 4th choice on the list of candidates to replace Aguerd. Rennes lost or drew a lot of games when their high pressing game didn’t result in early goals. Theate will need to assimilate quickly if Rennes are to emulate last season’s 4th place finish.
Without completely dismissing the claims of Strasbourg, Lille & Lens, we are left with an almost default bet here. Monaco started the season under the tutelage of very poor coach in Niko Kovac. By week 13 the Principality side were 10th in the table. The January appointment of Philippe Clement took awhile to click but it did eventually pay dividends. A run of only 2 losses in 18 games (that included a 9 game winning streak) showcased the club’s talents in a run to 3rd place in the table. Aurélien Tchouaméni’s departure to Real Madrid will be a big loss. The additions of Minamino and Embolo should ease the burden on Wissam Ben Yedder.
Monaco @ 7/2 (Bet365, BetVictor)
There are many sides to bet on here that would not be a bad selection. To me though there is one that screams value. Angers have sold eight players that would have been classed as starters last season (in total, 12 from the 20 that made the most Ligue 1 starts). Two of those, Cho and Fulgini, would be on most people’s list of Anger’s ‘Three Best Players’ from last season. The replacements for the eight who have left are arguably all mid to upper Ligue 2 standard.
Over Le Sco’s last 20 games of the season, they had the worst record in Ligue 1. This includes the relegated Metz, Saint-Étienne and Bordeux. With 4 teams being relegated next season to create an 18 team Ligue 1 in 2023/24, Angers look a great bet to go down.
Angers @ 11/4 (Bet 365)
The tips here are more value plays than big bets. For those interested big season long multi’s you’d have to include Kylain MBappé @ 1/2 in all bets. He should be a 1/4 or 1/5 shot but for this column it’s not the type of angle we go for. Both selections below can be backed each-way with a fifth of the odds on place side for 1st, 2nd or 3rd finish.
Lille have made an interesting acquistion in Paolo Fonseca as their new manager. The Portuguese has had mixed success in some of Europe’s biggest jobs (Porto, Shakhtar and Roma). Fonseca’s 3-4-2-1 system will likely benefit the selections style more than previous manager Gourvennec’s. Edin Dzeko (and Borja Mayoral) both excelled as the lone striker in Fonseca’s time at Roma and Mohamed Bayo will look to carry on that run.
Clermont’s survival last season was always going to depend the Guinean continuing his Ligue 2 form in the top flight. His 14 goal return in a very poor side proves he did continue that form but in truth the tally should been higher (he also missed a number of games playing at AFCON). If Fonseca can help improve his decision making, added to a year’s extra Ligue 1 experience, Bayo could really flourish. Lille will be favourites in a lot games where as last season, Clermont may not have been favourite to win any game. Jonathan David is likely to play as one of the two attacking midfielders behind Bayo with the big man leading the line.
Mohamed Bayo (Lille) @ 66/1 (multiple sites)
The only other player that looks to represent some value in this market is another new arrival. This one is a little tricky to predict given he will have new manager and, on paper, more competition. Colombian Luis Suárez arrives at Marseille from Spanish side Granada in what looks a shrewd piece of business at the Vélodrome. He will have to battle for the #9 position in Igor Tudor’s side with Arkadiusz Milik. This though is where and why I think Suárez is over priced. Milik has never found his form from 2018/19 at Napoli and his return of 7 goals in 23 Ligue 1 games for OM last season doesn’t bode well for next season.
Milik has had 2/3 injuries per season since his ACL rupture in 2017. I expect another of those injuries to reoccur and that’s when the new signing will get a chance. Suárez’s style is similar to the hustle and bustle of Giovanni Simeone who led the line at Verona under the guidance the new Marseille head coach. It could be that Milik stays fit and a differing style to Sampaoli suits him. I prefer to have a small wager on the younger and fresher legs to win out.
Luis Suárez (Marseille) @ 50/1 (multiple sites)
Monaco @ 7/2 (Ligue 1 winner w/o PSG)
Angers @ 11/4 (Ligue 1 Relegation)
Mohamed Bayo @ 66/1 (Ligue Top Goalscorer)
Luis Suárez @ 50/1 (Ligue Top Goalscorer)