Predictions and Best Bets for French Ligue 1 Games on August 6-8 (2021)

| August 5, 2021 7:03 am PDT

The 2021-22 season of the French Ligue 1 starts this Friday with the match between Monaco and Nantes. A day later, two more games are to take place: Lyon vs. Brest and Troyes vs. PSG.

The remaining seven matches of the Round 1 of the French top tier are all scheduled for Sunday. The games in question are the following:

  • Rennes vs. Lens
  • Bordeaux vs. Clermont
  • Nice vs. Reims
  • St. Etienne vs. Lorient
  • Strasbourg vs. Angers
  • Metz vs. Lille
  • Montpellier vs. Marseille

As you can see, there are some interesting matchups this weekend and quite a few to consider targeting at the top soccer betting sites. I will now reveal my favorite French Ligue 1 picks for round one, providing game analysis along the way.

Monaco to Beat Nantes (1.44)

Monaco won against Nantes in each of their previous six meetings. The record is even more impressive when it comes to their duels played at Stade Louis II. On Monaco’s turf, Nantes lost seven straight games, scoring only one goal along the way.

I think the trend will continue for at least another game. It’s just that Monaco is a much better team than Nantes. Les Monégasques seem strong in all areas of the play, led by the former Bayern Munich manager, Niko Kovac.

Excluding PSG, Monaco probably has the strongest squad in the Ligue 1. Although Les Monégasques probably aren’t going to win the title (PSG will!), I can see them finishing very high. The odds of Monaco ending the season in the Top 3 are 2.35 at the moment.

Monaco should have no problems winning the Ligue 1 season opener, especially knowing that one of Nantes’ crucial players is out. The man I’m talking about is midfielder Kader Bamba who’s suspended.

Lyon to Beat Brest (1.35)

Olympique Lyonnais (a.k.a. Lyon) is the team that reached the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League last year, after knocking out such heavyweights as Manchester City and Juventus.

This season, we’re not going to see Lyon in the continent’s most elite championship. What this means is that this team’s main focus is going to be the French Ligue 1.

Last season, Les Gones (The Kids) finished in the #4 position; this season, their ambitions are even higher!

Following the defeat to Nice in the final round of the last season, Lyon dropped from the #3 position to #4, thus losing a place in the 2021/22 Champions League.

They got a new manager (Peter Bosz); the old one (Rudy Garcia) quit after failing to qualify for the Champions League. They also got some changes in the team, especially in the final third, with forward Memphis Depay moving to Barcelona.

Still, none of those changes should affect Lyon’s chances in the first round of the French Ligue 1. Why? Because they’re playing against Brest, one of the main relegation candidates.

The team from the westernmost part of the country (Brittany) barely missed the relegation in the 2020-21 season, finishing just one spot off the danger zone.

Kylian Mbappe to Score for PSG Against Troyes (1.83)

The transfer of Kylian Mbappe cost PSG more than $210 million. To put it in perspective, the total value of all Troyes’ players is estimated to be around $47 million. It’s a lot of money, but Mbappe is worth it!

Although he’s still only 22, the French international is already the #3 top-scorer in the history of PSG. Furthermore, he’s been the top scorer of the French Ligue 1 for the last three seasons.

The most recent season was his best – Mbappe scored 27 goals in the 31 games he played in 2020-21.

Obviously, he’s a goal-scoring machine, but there’s another reason why I’m certain he’ll get on the scoresheet on Saturday.

The thing is that PSG’s opponent is a Ligue 1 newcomer, Troyes. Last season, this team played in the second tier of the French league system.

Nice to Beat Reims (1.85)

Christophe Galtier is the manager who ended PSG’s Ligue 1 dominance by leading Lille to the 2021 title. The trophy-winning manager is no longer in the club – he’s now at the helm of Nice.

Last season, Nice finished below the Euro zone, but with a new manager, this team’s future looks good. It’s not just about the manager; it’s also about the players. There are some really talented guys in the squad, most notably the Danish striker Kasper Dolberg, who did brilliantly at the Euro 2020.

Nice has big ambitions for the 2021-22 Ligue 1 season, as evident from the fact that the club made several interesting trades over the summer.

Some players who’ve come to the French Riviera include Justin Kluivert (from AS Roma), Pablo Rosario (from PSV), and Mario Lemina (from Southampton).

In Round 1, Nice’s opponent is Reims, a team we could see struggling this season. In the 2020-21 season, Reims finished with just one point more than Nantes, who ended up in the Relegation Playoff.

Lille to Beat Metz (1.72)

The reigning champion is taking on a mediocre team that finished in the middle of the Ligue 1 table last season. So, why aren’t the Lille odds much shorter than 1.72?

Well, there are several explanations, one of which is that Lille has a new boss. The man in question is Jocelyn Gourvennec, whose managerial portfolio isn’t too impressive. Before getting this job, he was the manager of Guingamp, a team playing in the Ligue 2.

Oddsmakers don’t believe Lille will keep the title in its possession for another year. In fact, the odds of Lille winning the French Ligue 1 are as long as 21.00 at some sportsbooks.

Still, the fact is that Gourvennec did start his Lille tenure in top-gear. He made his debut in the French Super Cup, in which his team beat PSG 1-0.

I don’t think Metz has the ability to ruin Gourvennec’s League 1 debut as the Lille manager. The reason, however, isn’t that I think he’s a brilliant coach (I don’t). Instead, it’s the fact that Lille has pretty much the same manpower as last year when they won the title.

Predictions for Other Ligue 1 Games

Here are my other Ligue 1 predictions for the first round:

Rennes vs. Lens Under 2.5 Goals1.80
Bordeaux to Beat Clermont2.00
St. Etienne to Beat Lorient2.25
Strasbourg and Angers to Draw3.20
Montpellier to Beat Marseille3.10

The last time we saw more than two goals in Ligue 1 games between Rennes and Lens was back in 2009. I think their duel on Sunday is also going to be a low-scoring affair.

I also expect to see Bordeaux winning on Sunday, the main reason being that Clermont is a newcomer from the Ligue 2.

The most successful French club, St. Etienne, should also get a win. The game is played on St. Etienne’s turf, which is where this team has won every single game against Lorient since 2013.

Strasbourg and Angers are probably going to split the points, as they did in February when they met the last time.

The final game of the round will see the ex-Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli making his debut as Marseille boss. I don’t think it’s going to be a successful one, though.

Best French Ligue 1 Bets for August 6-8

Monaco to Beat Nantes1.44
Lyon to Beat Brest1.35
Nice to Beat Reims1.85

If you’re going to make a parlay consisting of Ligue 1 first-round matches, the bets above are the ones I’d recommend choosing.

With ~3.60 odds, this parlay bet would bring you a $260 profit on a $100 stake. Sounds good, but how certain is it that these three will win?

Well, Monaco is one of the best teams in the league, and it’s been like that for years. It’s pretty much the same case when Lyon is concerned. Then, there’s Nice, a team with high ambitions for the upcoming season.

All three teams are determined to start the new Ligue 1 campaign with a win. Luckily for them, that shouldn’t be hard as their opponents in Round 1 aren’t too tough.

Zarko Naric
Zarko Naric

Zarko Naric – the World's Greatest Sportswriter, according to his grandma.

Zarko started writing for in 2019, covering sports like soccer, tennis, and basketball,  as well as some more niche sports like cycling, for example.

In addition to writing news, picks, and blog pieces focused on sports, Zarko’s also been covering politics, TV/music contests, and so on.

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