When it comes to UEFA Champions League qualification, Ligue 1 differs from the other top European Leagues.
The top 4 teams in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga all qualify for the UCL, but in Ligue 1, only the top 3 teams qualify for the competition.
With limited slots, there is stiff competition for the UCL spots, so clubs have to be at their best if they wish to qualify for Europe’s flagship club competition.
PSG’s recent league dominance means that they are perpetual top three favorites. The last time that the Parisians failed to finish in the top three was in 2011, just before their financial takeover, and it doesn’t look like they’ll finish outside the top three anytime soon.
This leaves two other slots for the rest of the league. In recent seasons, the likes of Lyon, Lille, and Monaco have been the main contenders. Other clubs such as Marseille, Rennes, and Nice have been in and out of the top three in recent seasons and are worth keeping an eye on.
So, here’s our Ligue 1 Top 3 betting preview.
The three best teams in Ligue 1—the teams that finish in first, second, and third—qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
The top two teams gain direct entry into the group stage, while the league’s third-placed team has to maneuver through the Champions League qualifying phase and play-off round.
To no one’s surprise, PSG are massive favorites in this betting market, and their odds imply that a top-three finish is almost a certainty.
Lille, the defending champions, are expected to be a strong force once again this season, but the sudden departure of Christophe Galtier, their former head coach, may have an impact on their performances.
Marseille and Lyon haven’t qualified for the Champions League in the past few seasons, but the bookies expect that at least one of those two teams will finish in the top three.
PSG – PSG have a good top-three record. They’ve finished in the top three in each of the past 10 seasons, and that trend doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon.
The Parisians also invested heavily in the summer and now have a team that is guaranteed to finish in the top three in any league in the world.
Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Gianluigi Donnarumma were all signed—incredibly—for free as they were all free agents, while Achraf Hakimi commanded a €60 million ($70.9 million) transfer fee. With such signings, it’s no surprise that PSG are massive top 3 favorites this season.
LOSC Lille – Lille has finished in the top three in two of the last three seasons. If they want to be a constant fixture in the top three like their title rivals PSG, then they need to keep up their recent performances.
Last season, they won the Ligue 1 title, but that came at a cost. Christophe Galtier stepped down just a few days after their title win, and they also lost two key players: Boubakary Soumaré and Mike Maignan.
Despite such losses, they still have a very talented squad that can still compete for the top three.
Marseille – Marseille has managed to finish in the top three just twice in the last ten seasons. Obviously, this isn’t a good record, especially for a club like Marseille.
More recently, they’ve become accustomed to finishing in fourth or fifth place, or just a few points shy of the UCL spots. Last season, they finished in fifth place.
This season, they’ll be eager to make amends and will want to finish in the top 3 for the first time since the 2019/20 season.
Olympique Lyonnais – Lyon finished in fourth place last season, but they were only two points behind third-placed Monaco, which must have been a bitter pill to swallow.
Lyon scored the second-most goals last season, but this season, they’ll have to deal with the loss of their main attacking threat, Memphis Depay, who left for Barcelona.
Despite managerial and squad changes, they are still expected to compete for the top three slots. The last time that Lyon finished in the top three was in the 2018/19 season, and they then historically reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in the following season.
AS Monaco – Monaco finished third last season and is expected to be involved in the top three race once again this season. They have a great coach in Niko Kovač, and their two forwards—Kevin Volland and Wissam Ben Yedder—are one of the league’s most prolific duos.
Montpellier HSC – Montpellier historically won the league in 2012, but that’s the last time that they finished in the top three. Since then, they’ve become a mid-table club and haven’t challenged for the top three since their title-winning season.
They’ve finished in eighth place in consecutive seasons, which is something that their new coach, Olivier Dall’Oglio, will be eager to rectify.
Stade Rennais – Rennes have made the top three just once in the last ten seasons, though that came recently in the 2019/20 season.
Other than that, they’ve mainly been competing for the UEFA Europa League spots and usually end up finishing between 5th and 9th place.
They finished sixth last season, which gave them entry into the newly founded UEFA Europa Conference League.
RC Lens – For a newly promoted club, Lens defied many expectations last season. They finished in seventh place but challenged for the European spots throughout the entire campaign.
This season, Franck Haise will be eager to build on last season’s stellar performances, and guiding Lens to European qualification will definitely be one of his main aims.
OGC Nice – Nice finished ninth last season, but they managed to lure head coach Christophe Galtier, who led Lille to the Ligue 1 title last season. With such a great coach at the helm, they are expected to be major players in this season’s European race.
|Season||Ligue 1 Top Three Teams|
|2020/21||Lille, Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco|
|2019/20||Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille, Rennes|
|2018/19||Paris Saint-Germain, Lille, Lyon|
|2017/18||Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Lyon|
|2016/17||Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Nice|
|2015/16||Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon, Monaco|
|2014/15||Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon, Monaco|
|2013/14||Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Lille|
|2012/13||Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille, Lyon|
|2011/12||Montpellier, Paris Saint-Germain, Lille|
Placing a top 3 futures bet is extremely easy. Here are the simple steps that each bettor needs to follow: