Betting on French Ligue 1 Football
Twice in just over the last 30 years, France has been crowned football world champions, testament to the almost unrivalled quality of football talent that is generated from academies at French clubs. Much of that talent may not stick around for long – the top French players often ply their trade at the biggest clubs around the world, particularly in Spain and England - but there is still a great deal of talent left in the domestic league, and in the French top flight, known as Ligue 1.
Ligue 1 is a 20-team division and sees the top three teams at the end of each campaign, in May, qualify for the following season's UEFA Champions League, with a further three teams gaining entry to the Europa League (the team who finish 4th in Ligue 1, along with the winners of the French Cup and French League Cup – if either of those cup winners are already qualified for Europe via their league position, then the place moves to the next club in the league). Considered one of the 'Big 5' leagues in Europe – along with England, Spain, Italy and Germany - the French Ligue 1 is probably the weakest of those five, mainly due to the money (or lack thereof) that clubs in France can pay their players in comparison to those other leagues. With the exception of the country's financially elite club of Paris Saint Germain (PSG), no other French team can rival the wages on offer elsewhere, hence the drain of talent to those other leagues. The French national team doesn't suffer though, obviously.
Betting on French football is an immensely popular activity, both within and outside of France, and Ligue 1 winners odds are discussed by betting fans with a keen interest in the weeks leading up to every league season, even if PSG dominate the conversation every time now, for obvious reasons.
French Ligue 1 Football Odds
As alluded to previously, PSG dominate betting in France the way that the team dominates proceedings on the pitch. However, outside of the major teams who tend to attract low odds in their matches, particularly at home, there are not many statistical quirks to inform betting habits on French football, and Ligue 1 in particular.
In the four completed seasons up to and including 2018/19, the league displayed no unusual numbers at all in regard to the average number of goals per game, the percentage of games that end with three of more goals, the prevalence of draws, or the number of points that teams claim at home. What does that tell us? That outside PSG, and perhaps Lyon and Marseilles, winning, and winning at home, everything else can and does happen in French football.
French football betting odds, in fact, will tend to point to two expectations in particular: not an abundance of goals, except when PSG play, and PSG to win, as the team has done so frequently in the last few seasons.
French Ligue 1 Title Odds for 2019-20
First of all, looking at French Ligue 1 2019/20 title odds, the bookmakers expect PSG to win the title once more, as the team has done in six of the last seven seasons – Monaco's unexpected win in 2016/17, however, does show that anything is possible, particularly with the young talent that seems to burst onto the scene at an unrivalled rate in France.
Away from the domination of PSG and their star man, Neymar, Lyon and Marseilles come next in the betting pecking order, with surprise 2018/19 package Lille less tipped, mainly because the team from the north will struggle to hang on to its star assets, as tends to happen to all teams in France outside of the capital.
As for the aforementioned Monaco, who took Europe by storm in that unlikely 2016/17 season, the team from the principality narrowly avoided relegation to Ligue 2 after a nightmare 2018/19 campaign, but the return of Leonardo Jardim as head coach (the man who masterminded that famous title win), along with the calibre of players that the club still possesses (Cesc Fabregas and Radamel Falcao, among others) should see the team get back up to challenging for the European places at least. A charge on PSG's Ligue 1 title looks unlikely, however.
French Ligue 1 Football History
The completed 2018/19 season was the 81st edition of the French top flight, and in that period a number of different clubs have dominated – in fact, no other league in Europe can boast such a shared history of success among so many different clubs. Marseilles and Saint-Étienne share the most titles, with ten apiece, and then come Monaco and PSG with eight titles, but for the latter that includes six in the last seven completed seasons. A further six current Ligue 1 clubs have four or more titles, proving the equal distribution of success in French football down the years. That has included rare moments of monopoly, however, which PSG's current dominance proves – the team will start the upcoming season once again favourites in the eyes of the bookmakers, as can be seen when checking out French Ligue 1 title odds.
In rare moments in French football history has Ligue 1 been able to attract star players from other countries. It has happened to an extent with PSG and Monaco in the last decade or so, but that was possibly the first time since the 1980s, when a number of notable players arrived in France. Glenn Hoddle, Chris Waddle and Clive Allen all moved from English football in the 1980s to increase the spotlight on the French League in certain quarters. In recent years, imports have tended to come more regularly from Africa and South America. Interspersed with those foreign stars is some incredible French talent which has, of course, propelled the national team to the most successful period in its history over the last 20 years – Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and Marcel Desailly immediately spring to mind, but that list is simply too long to mention all. These says, while Neymar is the most high-profile foreign player to ply his trade in Ligue 1, the jewel of French football is undoubtedly Neymar's clubmate at PSG – Kylian Mbappé.