Moving further away from the British Isles, it is hard to forget about the football heritage of France. These days, Ligue 1 might not be as glamorous as the EPL or La Liga, but teams like Paris SG or Lyon are still showing that French football is here stay. Let’s therefore look at some of the peculiarities of Ligue 1, which is undoubtedly the main interest of all punters that want to bet on football in France.

Betting on the Top Teams

When it comes to the top teams of Ligue 1, you are most likely to hear the names of Paris SG, Lyon, and perhaps even Marseille. With plenty of money to spend and long traditions, these three will probably stay at the top for quite some time (with some ups and downs, of course), although whether they are also going to get anywhere in the big European competitions is a completely different matter. The thing that bettors need to keep in mind is that it is not a good thing to expect the same sort of dominance from them as one usually does from teams like Barcelona or Manchester United. That is just not how it works in Ligue 1 – the seasons are challenging, there are a lot of upsets, and huge wins are usually few and far apart. Of course, that also means that the odds for the big teams winning are often quite high. So yes, in general, there is more value to be had for those who like betting on the favourites in Ligue 1 than in most of the other top competitions.

The Small Quality Gaps

When talking about the fact that the top teams are close to each other in terms of overall quality, it is also quite interesting to note that the very same trend applies to the rest of the league as well. Let’s look at some hard facts here in order to prove that point. Last season (2011/2012), the difference between the first and the sixth was just 22 points. Compare that with the EPL (25 points), La Liga (45 points), and Bundesliga (28 points). And such a trend continues throughout the entire table – the gaps between the individual teams are rarely higher than 5 points, with no sudden cliffs and jumps. Shrewd punters should certainly realize that and take that into account, as underdogs do win quite often in League 1 and it is hard to find any team that you could trust in every single match.

Goals? What Goals?

Statistics and trends usually need to be taken with a grain of salt, but there is nevertheless something that simply has to be mentioned when talking about Ligue 1. The thing is, it seems to be unusually low-scoring, especially if you compare it to the other main European leagues. If you take a closer look at the 2011/2012 season, the whole issue becomes quite obvious. There were 956 goals scored in Ligue 1 (with 44.2% of the matches seeing more than two goals), while the numbers were much higher in comparable leagues like the EPL (1066 goals, 53.7%) and La Liga (1050 goals, 54.2%). And yes, the trend does stand even when it comes to the previous seasons. In the 2010/2011 season, for example, there was an even bigger difference between the three leagues, with just 890 goals scored in Ligue 1 (1063 in the EPL, 1042 in La Liga).

What is that all about? Well, for one, the style of football that is usually practised in France is more about the defensive side of things. It is far away from the aesthetic football that can be seen in Spain and the “total football“ that is practised in many clubs across the continent. The bottom line is that you should always keep this trend in mind when deciding about what bets you are going to take in Ligue 1.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, Ligue 1 is a very specific football league that can hold plenty of appeal for numerous punters. It is not a great competition for those who like large accumulators with all the big favourites thrown in. And it is also not a great league for those who like backing huge underdogs – there simply are not that many of them in Ligue 1. For those who like balanced contests, however, the French league might indeed be the number one choice.