Long-Term Betting Picks and Predictions for the French Ligue 1 2018-2019
Published on August 09, 2018
The other major soccer competition, other than the English Premier League, that’s starting in Europe this week is the French Ligue 1.
Ever since PSG was acquired by the Qatar Investment Authority, the tournament has not been particularly competitive, at least when it comes to the eventual winner.
This is only natural, considering the investments in the squad throughout the years. And yet, in the 2016-2017 season, AS Monaco was able to actually snatch the title and shock the world.
Could the story repeat itself this time around? I don’t think so, considering the gap between PSG and the rest, but you never know.
This will be one of the topics of my picks and predictions post dedicated to the French Ligue 1. I will explore the different battles across the table. Of course, I will include some betting odds from reliable soccer gambling sites and try to find good opportunities to make some money.
As always in such cases, you should have in mind that there’s a lot of time before the transfer window closes at the end of August, and things could change. This is why I recommend that you follow the major news surrounding the French Ligue 1.
Now that I’ve cleared that up, let’s take a look what to expect.
Let’s start with the odds of top contenders for the 2018-2019 French Ligue 1 title.
As you can see, “top contenders” is probably an overstatement, as there’s one overwhelming favorite in PSG, and I don’t think anyone is surprised by that.
The only teams that have some chances according to the bookies are Lyon, Marseille, and Monaco. The next-best sides are priced at 250, which tells you the whole story.
So, let’s take a look at whether some of the three clubs that are considered the closest to PSG have a realistic chance of challenging the reigning champions. I think the natural baseline should be last season when PSG finished between 13 and 16 points above those teams and had a much better attack and defense.
Simply put, PSG has to be dramatically worse, one of the contenders must be way better, or the situation must be something in between for a surprise to happen.
Let’s start with the squad of PSG and see what has changed so far in this summer. The champions finalized the deal for Kylian Mbappe, and it seems Neymar will also stay at the club. On top of that, they brought in Gianluigi Buffon.
The main departure was Javier Pastore, who was struggling to get a starting place anyway. The other outgoing players weren’t doing much, either. All things considered, PSG looks to be at a similar level as last year, probably a bit better because of Buffon. This is bad news for the competition.
The closest rival last year was Monaco, and the team has been one of the most active on the transfer market so far. The likes of Lemar, Fabinho, Kongolo, and a couple of others are now gone. In order to replace them, Monaco has bought a bunch of other players.
The rising Russian star Aleksandr Golovin is the most notable name, alongside Willem Geubbels and Antonio Barreca. On the bright side, Monaco certainly tried hard to replace the departure players. Numbers-wise, the club has done well.
The big question is if the quality will be better, or at least the same. I honestly don’t think that’s the case. The players that left seem better than the new arrivals, so Monaco will actually be worse, in my opinion.
Last season, Olympique Lyon finished third in the French Ligue 1 and was a formidable force. However, the summer so far isn’t going very well for the side. They failed to attract new players that could instantly improve the team and got just a couple of youngsters.
They might have a bright future eventually, but Lyon will need to strengthen. As it stands, they risk staying outside of the top 3 and missing out on Champions League soccer next season, especially if they lose Nabil Fekir.
On the bright side, there are more than 20 days left until the transfer deadline, and the team will have the chance to buy new players. If they don’t do so, I don’t think Lyon will be in the top 3 with the current squad at their disposal.
The fourth team that has a shot at the title, according to the bookies, is Marseille. The side finished fourth last season and did a decent job overall.
So far this summer, Marseille is going on the path of evolution instead of major changes. Most importantly, the club hasn’t lost any important players. The core from last season remains the same, with the addition of the promising center-back Duje Caleta-Car from RB Salzburg and left-back Jordan Amavi.
Another advantage of Olympique Marseille is the lack of Champions League action. The other competitors will need to rotate more often and will accumulate more fatigue in the long run.
I don’t see how anyone will manage to close the gap to PSG, so the champions should grab the top spot this year, too. And yet, the price of 1.10 is simply abysmal and not worth it.
However, there is another betting market that seems intriguing to me. BetOnline, one of our trusted gambling sites, offers the option to pick the best team in the French Ligue 1, with PSG excluded. The odds for Lyon, Monaco, and Marseille are pretty close.
At this point of the summer, Marseille is the only club who seems better than last year when the three sides finished inside three points. If you add the lack of Champions League action, the price of 3.00 seems like a good option.
Of course, the French Ligue 1 is not only about the winners, and there are some other exciting long-term bets that might provide some value.
The top scorer market is always an exciting option. A quick look at last year shows that Edinson Cavani found the net 28 times, which was more than enough to get the prize. He is the main favorite this time around at a price of 1.90 or so.
I think this makes sense, as Cavani was able to find the net once every 92 minutes, and there are no indications that the striker will slow down. However, his teammate Neymar scored a goal every 94 minutes, and the only reason he finished way behind on the list is because he didn’t play as much as Cavani.
The Brazilian forward is priced 2.30 this year, which is decent, but I think there’s a better option on the market. The third main attacking player of PSG, Kylian Mbappe, is priced at 7.50, and I feel this is fantastic value.
Mbappe is certainly one of the best talents in the world and a lethal finisher. If you are not convinced, simply take a look at his performance at the soccer World Cup this summer.
He could make the next step, and his Monaco record is proof of that. This is why the odds of 7.50 are simply too good to miss.
The relegation battle is expected to be tight this season, and there are no big favorites. Of course, the new boys, Nimes and Reims, are expected to struggle, as well as Amiens, who was close to relegation last year.
However, I think that another club is staying under the radar because of unusually strong performance in attack last year. Dijon had one of the worst defenses in the French Ligue 1, and I don’t think this will be different in the 2018-2019 season.
What could very well change is the number of goals Dijon scores this time around. Their top three scorers from last season all had the best season of their careers.
I don’t think that we’ll see Dijon score so freely this season, especially as one of their best players, Kwon Chang-Hoon, ruptured his Achilles tendon at the end of last season. This injury is one of the worst in the sport, and I simply can’t see the South Korean returning to the same level this year.
As a result, Dijon could struggle to repeat their exciting attacking performance and could be in deep trouble. Since the price for them going down is a hefty 4.00, this is the value pick when it comes to the relegation battle in the French Ligue 1.
In my opinion, this will be another season when PSG will simply destroy the competition and win the French Ligue 1 with ease.
However, I like the tournament because it’s one of the best places for young players to develop. The league is full of exceptional talents that have the potential to turn into world-class players in the next couple of years.
This doesn’t help us as bettors, of course, but there are good betting opportunities to be found in this league if you look closely enough.