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Soccer Odds: Ligue 1 Pre-Season Favorites

PSG photo op with owners
Christophe Pelletier (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]

Ligue 1 is finally competitive again!

For a while it seemed there was no stopping Paris Saint-Germain. Following the 2011 takeover, Les Parisiens won four consecutive titles and were on their way to an uninterrupted fifth. But Monaco, with a sizeable cash injection of their own, put an end to the party.

PSG and Monaco will start as the pre-season favorites, while clubs like Marseille, Lyon, and Nice hang on with an outside chance.

Let’s preview the odds-on favorites to win the 2017-18 Ligue 1 season. And while we’re at it, let’s also take a look at the favorites for top scorer as well.

Odds to win the 2017-18 Ligue 1 title

Paris Saint-Germain: 9/11

It’s clear PSG are no longer the undisputed kings of France. After four seasons on top of Ligue 1, it seemed like a fifth was inevitable. But the loss of David Luiz and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, coupled with the meteoric rise of AS Monaco, meant the title was no longer a shoo-in.

The cashed-up Parisians will deal with their second-place finish in the only way they know how to — with a shopping spree. They poached Dani Alves moments before he was about to sign with Pep Guardiola, and they’re rumored to be on the cusp of signing Neymar’s €222 million release clause.

It’s just speculation at the moment, but we can be sure PSG will continue to build their squad throughout the summer.

AS Monaco: 4/1

The young, energetic Monaco side shocked the world when they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and capped off the season by dethroning PSG. They went unbeaten in their last 20 league games and ended the season with a 12-game win streak.

It’ll be a tough task to pull it off again next season, though. PSG should be a significantly stronger side and Monaco could incur some heavy losses over the transfer window. They’ve already let Bernardo Silva (€50 million) go to Man City and Tiemoué Bakayoko (€40 million) to Chelsea, and the 18-year-old Kylian Mbappé is still linked to some of the wealthiest clubs in Europe.

If they emerge from the transfer window intact, they’ll have a great chance to defend the title.

Olympique de Marseille: 19/1

Marseille finished last season in fifth place but they closed in great form, ending the league on an 11-game unbeaten run. The drastic improvement toward the end can be largely attributed to the return of Dimitri Payet, who was reunited with Marseille in January.

With Payet and Patrice Evra in the lineup, the future for Marseille looks bright. But still, they don’t have the squad or the bank account to really compete with rivals PSG or Monaco.

Olympique Lyon: 20/1

Lyon had a decent run last season, finishing a distant fourth and reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League. However, they’ve already lost a handful of crucial players over the transfer window. Most notably, top goal scorer Alexandre Lacazette  (€53 million) was snapped up by Arsenal, and academy wunderkind Corentin Tolisso (€41.5 million) left for Bayern Munich.

The transfers have left Lyon with quite a bit of cash to play with in the future, but in the meantime, they may struggle to find replacements.

OGC Nice: 80/1

Mario Balotelli found his place at Nice last season and recently signed a contract extension. He ended the season as the club’s top goalscorer and will likely do so again this coming year.

The club did well to finish third, but that seems to be as far as they’ll get again this year.

Odds to be the 2017-18 top goalscorer

Edinson Cavani (PSG): 1/1

Radamel Falcao (Monaco): 4/1

Kylian Mbappe (Monaco): 5/1

Mario Balotelli (Nice): 20/1

Memphis Depay (Lyon): 25/1

Edinson Cavani took the top spot last season, netting 35 league goals. At the moment he’s PSG’s sole striker, so unless they pick up another centre-forward before the season starts, he’ll probably be their main man.

Radamel Falcao (21) and Kylian Mbappe (15) were Monaco’s top scorers last season and, if they both remain at the club, they’ll likely be their top goalscorers for the upcoming season. Falcao is one of the most reliable finishers in France, and Mbappe is getting better by the day.

Mario Balotelli and Man United reject Memphis Depay are also in the running for top goalscorer. Depay will have some big shoes to fill in the absence of Lacazette, and Balotelli will continue to dominate at Nice. However, it’ll take something special for them to outscore the top strikers at PSG and Monaco.

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