I have plenty of ideas today and even more for the weekend ahead, including what is looking like my fourth maximum bet of the year tomorrow, where I am hoping to go four from four !
Time is in short supply, so, as briefly as possible, I am keen on Istres in Ligue 2, who host highflying Brest and can be backed at circa 1.97 level ball, which seems more than acceptable to these old eyes !
Hosts are in desperate straits at the foot of the table, effectively three points from safety if we take into account goal difference, with just five rounds remaining. Next week they travel to face leaders Caen, who are 12-5-0 at home for a fixture which offers little joy and surely they will be greedily eyeing up the points on offer this evening, as a more likely route to safety. Realistically they can only be looking to catch one or more of the three clubs immediately above them in the table and with two of those, Guingamp and Chateauroux facing each other, a win tonight would carry even extra weight.
Istres do not score enough goals, just 28 in 33 starts and that has clearly been their downfall, but on home soil they make the most of the few they do manage and are a respectable 6-6-4, so just four defeats in 16 starts. Last year they ran away with Nacional and were very dominant here, so in total, have only lost 5 from 35 in the last two seasons, they should not really face anyone with an inferiority complex at the Parsemain stadium.
Brest have had a terrific season and are heading back to Ligue 1 for the first time in almost two decades, since when, they have spent most of their time in the third level of french football, so a real about turn in their fortunes. They would obviously like this confirmed as soon as possible, but it is going to happen regardless of what happens on the pitch tonight and results elsewhere could almost as easily confirm this in any case. This is a fairly long winded way of saying, that I do not feel they will be as motivated as Istres.
The visitors have a 6-6-4 record on the road, which proves they are tough to beat, but they have travelled to strugglers Strasbourg and Guingamp recently and failed to score in each, results which will give Istres encouragment to go with their motivation and off level ball, they have to be my shout.