Lille Meet Rennes in Tight Opener

Renato Sanches is Lille's record signing at $39 million.

Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches has been popular at Lille since his move from Bayern Munich and will be hoping to help them get a winning start to the new season when they meet Rennes in France’s Ligue 1 on Saturday. Photo from @LOSC ENOfficial (Twitter)

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  • See all odds and best bets for France Ligue 1 Matchday 1 below

France’s Ligue 1 returns to action this weekend after last season was suspended in March and then abandoned without completion of fixtures.

Paris Saint-Germain was awarded the title – their seventh in eight seasons.

The opening round of fixtures is a truncated one because PSG are in Sunday’s Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Lyon are also excused duty after playing until the UCL’s last four on Wednesday. Additionally, Marseille’s home game against Saint-Etienne was postponed following positive coronavirus tests.

France Ligue 1 Matchday 1 Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total at DraftKings
Bordeaux -1.5 (+500) +148 Ov 2.5 (+188)
Nantes +1.5 (-715) +220 Un2.5 (-240)
Draw (N/A) +190 (N/A)
Team Spread Moneyline Total
Dijon +1.5 (-770) +170 Ov2.5 (-118)
Angers -1.5 (+525) +165 Un2.5 (-175)
Draw N/A +215 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Total
Lille -1.5 (-107) +123 Ov2.5 (+126)
Rennes +1.5 (-530) +235 Un2.5 (-157)
Draw N/A +215 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Total
Monaco -1.5 (+275) -112 Ov2.5 (+123)
Reims +1.5 (-375) +300 Un2.5 (-155)
Draw N/A +250 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Total
Nimes -1.5 (+360) +118 0v2.5 (+110)
Brest +1.5 (-500) +225 Un2.5 (-137)
Draw N/A +235 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Total
Lorient +1.5 (-910) +150 Ov2.5 (+130)
Strasbourg -1.5 (+600) +190 Un2.5 (-162)
Draw N/A +210 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Total
Nice -1.5 (+295) -103 Ov2.5 (+106)
Lens +1.5 (-400) +285 Un2.5 (-132)
Draw N/A +235 N/A

Odds taken August 20

Pick 1: Lille vs Rennes

Rennes have been a growing power in French football in recent seasons and finished third last season to qualify for the UCL for the first time.

They visit last season’s fourth-placed finishers Lille at 3:00 pm ET on Saturday in the most attractive game of the opening weekend.

Lille are favored at +123 odds with Rennes at +235 and the draw at +215.

There have been five wins for Rennes in the team’s last eight meetings so the away win is also attractive at +235.

Only one point separated the teams in last season’s final standings and they each won their last three fixtures.

So the draw looks attractive here at+215 based on that form, although such statistics may not count for too much given that neither has played a competitive match for nearly six months.

Lille were beaten 2-1 by fellow Ligue 1 side Brest in their most recent pre-season friendly and succumbed to 2-1 to AZ Alkmaar of Holland beforehand.

But they beat Belgium’s major club Anderlecht 2-0 earlier in August.

Rennes have won four pre-season friendlies this month while drawing one and losing one.

The victories include a 3-0 defeat of Saint-Etienne and a 2-1 win at Brest.

But they lost their most recent warm-up 3-2 at Nice. Lille were 1-0 home winners when the teams last met in February.

Pick: Draw +215

2021 Ligue 1 Odds Tracker

Pick 2: Monaco vs Reims

Monaco have not beaten Reims at home in the league since 2014 and they also had a disappointing finish to the 2019-20 season.

They finished ninth with two draws and a defeat in their final three matches.

Reims were placed sixth with a win and two draws before the shut-down,

Despite a patchy pre-season, Reims look good value for a bold option at +300 to win away at 7:00 am EST on Sunday.

Monaco are wide favorites at -112 and they have the league’s joint-top scorer from last season in Wissam Ben Yedder who scored 18 times. The draw is +250 which also offers prospects.

They also have a new coach – former Bayern Munich chief Nico Kovac.

Monaco’s build-up has been slightly more impressive than Reims but they have played only four warm-up games.

Reims have won five times, lost three and drawn once in pre-season. But the fact they have been so much busier than Monaco could be important.

Reims have won five times, lost three and drawn once in pre-season.

Reims beat FC Midtjylland of Denmark 3-1 at home in their most recent friendly.

But that followed a 4-0 thrashing at Bordeaux.

In all, Reims have won five times, lost three and drawn once in pre-season.

But the fact they have been so much busier than Monaco could be important.

Monaco defeated AZ Alkmaar 2-0 following a 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany. They were also beaten 2-1 by Belgium’s Standard Liege but overcame Cercle Brugge by 2-0.

The score was 1-1 when these sides met in Monaco last February. In January, Monaco won a Coupe de France tie – also at home – by 2-1.

Pick: Reims +300

Pick 3: Lorient vs Strasbourg

Lorient returns to the top flight after a three-year absence after finishing top of the truncated Ligue 2 championship.

They will be keen to make an impact in their first game back at home against Strasbourg at 9:00 am EST on Sunday when they will parade new signing Adrian Grbnic, who scored 17 times for Clermont in Ligue 2 last season.

It makes Lorient good value for a home win at +150 with Strasbourg at +190 and the draw also an attractive option at +210.

Strasbourg finished 10th in Ligue 1. They won only four times away from home with two draws and eight defeats.

Lorient won nine times at home in Ligue 2 while drawing once and losing four.

They have been steady in pre-season with two wins and three draws with a 1-0 defeat of Guingamp the most recent result.

Strasbourg lost 3-2 against Metz in their last friendly and, in all,  they have won two, lost two and drawn once in their warm-up-program.

Pick: Lorient +150

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John Dillon

Soccer Sports Writer