Marseille v Reims – Orange Vélodrome at 16:00 live at BT Sport
Marseille missed out on Champions League qualification by just a single point last season as their 11 draws held Rudi Garcia’s group back. L’OM were determined to right those wrongs in 2018/19 but have endured an inconsistent opening third to their Ligue 1 campaign.
Results against Ligue 1’s leading lights held Les Phoceens back last term as they delivered W16-D4-L0 against bottom-half dwellers, including W7-D3-L0 on their travels. However, a W1-D2-L5 return when taking on teams finishing in fifth and above wasn’t acceptable and needs major improvement.
Early evidence suggests issues have yet to be ironed out. Marseille have lost all four of their fixtures against teams currently above them in the standings, whilst picking up W8-D1-L1 when locking horns with the rest of the division. However, that flat-track bully status is something we can look to profit from on Sunday.
Marseille can flex their muscle on Sunday
Les Phoceens have claimed 27/40 (68%) victories at the Stade Velodrome under Garcia’s watch. If exclude top-six teams, their home record reads W25-D6-L0 with 19/31 (61%) of those matches ending in a victory by at least a two-goal margin.
With that in mind, I’m happy to back Marseille to overcome a -1 Asian Handicap hurdle at 1.71 on Sunday. This angle of attack will see our stake returned should L’OM win by exactly one goal, with a pay-out ensured if the hosts overcome Reims by two goals or better this weekend.
Garcia’s men returned from the international break with a comfortable 3-1 success at Angers, and despite being involved in the Europa League on Thursday night, the home side have enough heavy attacking artillery to fire their way to a similarly cushy victory against a dogged but limited away side.
Reims upsetting the odds
Newly-promoted Reims continue to slowly climb the Ligue 1 table after recording a 2-1 win over rock-bottom Guingamp last time out. The Champagne club boast the division’s poorest attack, but their retooled defence with Belgian duo of Thomas Foket and Bjorn Engels excellent at the back.
The visitors find themselves in the top-half of the division and unbeaten in five fixtures. Nevertheless, none of their players has scored more than two goals and they’ve only twice scored more than a solitary strike this season. On the road, Reims lost by two or more goals three times already so Marseille should be well capable of breaking their resistance on the French Riviera.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Marseille -1.00 at 1.720
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.