One of the most popular soccer competitions in Europe comes in the form of the French top flight, Ligue 1. AS Monaco has competed in the league on multiple occasions making it a cross-border competition. Ligue 1 is ranked as the sixth best in Europe but boasts one of the most exciting teams on the continent in the form of PSG. You can find out more about the best Ligue 1 players and teams in this beginner's guide.
Ligue 1 has been the French top flight since 1930. However, before being known by its current name, it was called the National and then Division 1. But, it was rebranded as Ligue 1 ahead of the 2002-03 season. The French top flight was born in 1930 after the French Football Federation and National Council voted in favour of making soccer players professionals.
The formation of the first season of Ligue 1 was made official in the 30s, but the Ligue 1 teams needed to follow certain conditions. For example, they needed to have had successful results in the past, and also pull in enough money to balance their finances. The league’s first all-professional campaign got underway in 1932, with 20 teams making up the Ligue 1 table. Lyon has crowned the inaugural champion in 1933 before the Second World War paused professional play. It wasn’t until the 1965-66 season that the league competed between 20 teams again.
Like all the other major European soccer leagues, betting on Ligue 1 is exceptionally popular throughout the campaign. All of the leading soccer sportsbooks enable bettors to make wagers on fixtures throughout the season. You can learn more about the most popular ways to make bets on the action throughout the French season below.
Every sportsbook available will offer the match result betting market. This is the most popular way to bet on fixtures in Ligue 1 throughout the season, as bettors can wager a stake on the result in a particular fixture. The three options available to bettors for this market are the two teams involved and the draw. In order to get returns from this wager, the predicted outcome must be correct at the end of 90 minutes.
Ligue 1 is one of the most exciting competitions in Europe, with an average of 2.81 goals scored per game in the 2021-22 season. Therefore, a popular betting market available is the over/under goals market. Here, a benchmark will be set by the sportsbook, and the bettor must wager on whether there will be more or fewer goals scored in total. For example, if the benchmark is 3.5 goals and the bettor wagers on over, then at least four goals must be scored in total to collect winnings.
Betting on the outright winners of Ligue 1 can also be done throughout the season. In this market, the bettor must correctly predict the team that will be crowned champions at the end of the season. Unlike other European leagues, it isn’t the most profitable of betting markets available, as PSG will be clear favourites to win the title. But, it could be an interesting betting market if an outsider has enjoyed a good summer of business or started the season in a commanding fashion.
Ligue 1 has consisted of 20 teams since 2002, but that is set to change at the start of the 2023-24 season. Starting in 2023, the league will revert back to 18 teams for the first time since the conclusion of the 2001-02 season. However, Ligue 1 fixtures will still be played every weekend, with every team playing against each rival.
Three points are awarded for a victory, while one point is picked up for a draw. The top three teams in Ligue 1 qualify for the Champions League, with fourth place qualifying for the Europa League and the fifth spot getting a place in the Europa Conference League. The bottom two teams in Ligue 1 are automatically relegated to Ligue 2, with the team finishing 18th and competing in the relegation playoffs.
Throughout the history of Ligue 1, 74 clubs have played in the French top flight. Only five teams have never been relegated from Ligue 1, and those clubs are Marseille, Rennes, Nice, Metz, and Montpellier. PSG was relegated in 1972 after their split from Paris FC but returned to the top-flight two seasons later. PSG is the joint-most successful club in the history of Ligue 1, as they won their tenth title at the end of the 2021-22 season to draw level with Saint Etienne. However, Lyon is the side to have won the most consecutive championships, as they won seven between 2002 and 2008.
No player has played more games in Ligue 1 than Mickael Landreau. The goalkeeper played 618 times across spells with Nantes, PSG, Lille, and Bastia between 1997 and 2014. Jean-Luc Ettori for AS Monaco has appeared the second most times. The most prolific scorer in the history of Ligue 1 is Delio Onnis, who struck 299 goals in 449 games across spells with Monaco, Reims, Tours, and Toulon between 1972 and 1986.
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