There have been 15 matchdays in Ligue 1 so far in 2022-23, putting us less than halfway through the campaign.
In this disrupted season, there is a degree of uncertainty with how teams will have changed during the break.
For some, fatigue and injuries from the World Cup will be an issue. For others, it has effectively been a second pre-season to come back as an improved side for the second half.
Winner Without PSG: Lens
Lens have 36 points on the board, five more than Rennes in third.
Their tally of 10 goals conceded is only bettered by PSG, and they ended the first half of the campaign with five consecutive wins.
This is a team coming off consecutive seventh-placed finishes, but was active in the summer window, adding Salis Abdul Samed, Brice Samba and Loïs Openda.
The departure of Cheick Doucouré has not proven to be much of an issue. The underlying numbers are strong, suggesting their quantity of one-goal wins is relatively sustainable.
On reputation, it would be a surprise for Lens to finish second. On performance, it wouldn’t be, and they have the advantage of no European football to distract them in 2023.
Top Three Finish: Lille
Lille are only five points off third, despite losing five of their first 15 league matches in 2022-23.
While there have been plenty of slip ups, they have also proven they can compete with the league’s best teams, having drawn with Rennes, and beaten Monaco and Lens since the start of October.
Les Dogues won four of their last six before the mid-season hiatus.
They have some very winnable matches to come, facing Clermont Foot, Reims, Brest and Troyes in their next four.
Already placing fourth in expected goal difference per 90, Lille could see their odds in this market come tumbling down over the next month or so.
Monaco, Marseille and Lorient stand between Lille and third place at the moment, but it is far from an insurmountable gap given the amount matches left to play.
Led by the highly regarded Jonathan David, Les Nordistes have the firepower and quality to climb the table in 2023.
In the final campaign with 20 teams competing in Ligue 1, a fierce relegation battle is expected.
After claiming just two points from their last seven league matches, Montpellier are two points above the drop zone. They have only won once in their previous 10 fixtures.
This situation is despite overachieving their expected goal figures at both ends of the pitch.
Only three teams have a worse expected goal difference per 90. They have scored six more goals than the quality of their chances would suggest.
Angers, who have only eight points so far, are the only team to have lost more matches than Montpellier.
Facing Lorient, Marseille and Nice in their next three, La Paillade could find themselves in the bottom four before January. This is a good price.
Top Goalscorer: Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe has finished top goalscorer in Ligue 1 in each of the last four seasons.
Mbappe has 12 to his name already in 2022-23, one ahead of teammate Neymar at the top of the pile. Only one other player – Lorient’s Terem Moffi – has made it to double figures.
Mbappe and Lionel Messi are tied for the most shots per game at 4.3. PSG are bound to have plenty of heavy wins throughout the rest of the campaign for Mbappe to boost his goal total, too.
Coming off a stellar showing at the World Cup, he is deserving of favourite status.
Top Goalscorer: Jonathan David
If looking for a longshot option in top goalscorer market, Jonathan David is the standout.
The Canadian has nine goals already. His tally of 10 expected goals is only 0.1 behind Mbappe and 1.6 ahead of anyone else.
David scored 15 of Lille’s 48 goals last season, and has been responsible for a third of their goals in 2022-23. He plays in a team which creates a lot of chances, plus he will start every match if fit.
The PSG stars are naturally the frontrunners, but David has a shot in this race, particularly if PSG rotate heavily when the Champions League returns or injuries hit.
All odds are subject to change