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Ligue 1 Betting Picks, Preview, Prediction for Reims vs. PSG: Back Lionel Messi, Parisians to Triumph (August 29)

Ligue 1 Betting Picks, Preview, Prediction for Reims vs. PSG: Back Lionel Messi, Parisians to Triumph (August 29) article feature image

Aurelien Meunier – PSG/PSG via Getty Images. Pictured: Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi.

Reims vs. PSG Odds

Reims Odds+1300
PSG Odds-525
Over/Under3.5 (-105 / -120)
Day | TimeSunday | 2:45 p.m. ET
How To WatchbeIN SPORTS | fuboTV
Odds updated Saturday evening via DraftKings.

The king is about to enter the building.

Lionel Messi, the greatest living player — and arguably the best of all time — will debut with Paris Saint-Germain when the powerhouse visits Reims in Sunday's Ligue 1 match at Stade Auguste-Delaune.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino made it clear the former Barcelona star, who joined the French side just a few weeks ago, would debut against the Red and Whites. Needless to say, all eyes in global soccer will be turning their attention to the game taking place in northeastern France wine country to see how Messi fits in with Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and other new teammates.

Mauricio Pochettino confirms that Lionel Messi is in the squad vs Reims 👀

— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 28, 2021

To no one's real surprise, PSG is off to a perfect 3-0 start. Most recently, the Parisians secured back-to-back 4-2 victories over Strasbourg and Brest. As you can see, the offense has been firing on all cylinders, but the defense has been anything but spectacular.

On the other side, Reims is unbeaten through its first three league fixtures. However, they've all finished in draws and led the Red and Whites to just three points.

Let's take a look at this matchup and see what might be in store.

Reims Needs Big Effort to Secure Positive Result

Like everyone else, the Red and Whites surely know they're up against it in this lopsided mismatch. They're facing an opponent who's a 5-1 favorite, plus they're 13-1 underdogs to win this game outright on home soil.

Statistically speaking, Reims has been pretty solid thus far. Last time out, the underdog held a 1.6-0.7 edge in expected goals after their 1-1 stalemate with Metz. Overall, the Red and Whites have 3.9 xG for the season compared to 3.6 xGA. They've maintained a +0.12 xGDiff per 90 minutes as well.

Moreto Cassamá, a Bissau-Guinean midfielder, leads Reims in scoring with two goals. He scored twice in the first half of the club's 3-3 draw against Montpellier in its second game of the campaign. The Red and Whites wound up with a slight xG edge there, finishing with a 2.1-2.0 advantage in the advanced metric.

I expect Reims to come out in their 4-2-3-1 lineup in this contest, with the idea of having nine players in front of goaltender Dimitry Bertaud at all times to hopefully limit the onslaught that will surely come from the PSG offense.

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Messi, PSG Should Have Little Problems

Everyone has waited a long time for this match, particularly the Parisians' fan base in the French capital and around the world. Having Messi lead the line along with Mbappé, Neymar, Mauro Icardi and others is going to be something to see. The sky is the limit for this club now, so it will be interesting to see how quickly this group gels on the field.

When it comes to the metrics, PSG has racked up 5.1 xG and 2.6 xGA thus far. Those numbers have generated a +2.5 xGDiff and +0.83 xGDiff/90 minutes.

I backed PSG at -1.5 on the spread line in its win over Brest, but PSG was actually quite fortunate to secure the win in that spot. Trailing 3-2, the Pirates came close to bagging an equalizer on a few occasions before Angel Di Maria bailed us backers of the Parisians out with a goal on the counterattack via a nifty finish in the 90th minute to make the difference.

Honestly, I don't anticipate any similar drama from PSG in this spot and forecast Pochettino to utilize his 4-3-3 formation against Reims. The Parisians should be living in the Red and Whites' defensive third the majority of the time, wreaking havoc on their hosts in the fixture.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Too much talent. Too much firepower. Too much Messi. That's going to be the story in this matchup. It's as simple as that, folks.

That said, I'm backing PSG at -2 on the spread line at -115 odds via DraftKings as my top pick. I pondered taking the visitors on the Asian Handicap of -1.75 line, but the -150 number was too much juice for my liking. If you can find that play around -140, it's worth taking at that price.

I'm also targeting the first half to feature the most goals at +175 odds. Reims has been terrible starting matches, with all four goals it has conceded coming in the opening 45 minutes. And their previous foes are nowhere the level PSG is at in comparison. This is too big of a number to pass up.

If you're looking for even more action, I dove a little deeper into the obscure wagers and found plenty of value on PSG finishing the match with more than 1.5 cautions. The Parisians have had at least two players pick up cautions in their three league games.

Picks: PSG -2 (-115) | Highest Scoring Half — First Half (+175)

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