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French Ligue 1

The Ligue 1 is France’s top football league, and it is amongst the highest-ranking leagues in the world. There are some instantly recognisable football teams in the league, including Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique Lyon, Marseille, AS Monaco, LOSC Lille, and many more.


The French football league was launched in 1930, when the French football federation decided to allow professionalism in the sport. There was an earlier version of the league that was completely amateur and had run from 1893 to 1929. The new competition was limited to 20 teams, which were picked for their success, their ability to pull in enough revenue to operate, and they had to have at least eight professional players in their squads. These criteria were immediately met with protests from the clubs that feared bankruptcy. In the north of the country, most teams rejected the conditions for the new league, but in the south of the country, there were some clubs who accepted them.

The first season of the National, as it was called, was played in 1932-33. 20 clubs participated in the league, they were divided into two groups that played in a robin round, and the two group winners at the end of the season then played in a final. Olympique Lillois faced AS Cannes in the final, and the Lille based team won the game 4-3 to become the first champions of the National.

After the inaugural season a few changes were made to the structure of the league, the number of entrants were reduced to 14, and the remaining teams joined the newly founded 2nd division, and the groups were dropped to have one robin round between all teams. The league was also rebranded as Division 1. Including the amateur era of the league, Standard Athletic Club and Roubaix were the two most successful clubs, having won the league 5 times each, although neither team won in the professional era. Sete was the only team to win multiple titles in the years between 1933 and 1939.

The league returned after the end of the war, and it was changed to an 18-club format. In the first year after the war, LOSC Lille won their very first title. In the following year, the league changed to have 20 entrants. The number of entrants in the league is still being changed to this day, although it is usually either 18 or 20 teams.

Throughout the rest of the 40s, Marseille won their third title whilst Lille came runners up three seasons in a row from 1948 to 1950. In 1951, Lille also placed a narrow second to Nice, who would win two leagues in a row from 1951 to 1952. Lille won their second title in 1954, whilst their fellow northern club Reims extended their number of titles from 1 to 5 in the decade. Southern French clubs also had success during the 50s, with Nice winning their fourth title and Nimes placing second for three successive years from 1958-1960.

AS Monaco, the only non-French club in the league, won their first title in 1961. In the following year Reims won their sixth, becoming the leading French club with the most titles. Saint-Etienne won their second title in 1964, but from 1967 they went on a record breaking run to win four successive titles.

In the early 70s, Marseille and Nantes both won titles, but Saint-Etienne returned in full strength and won three more titles from 1974-1976. Monaco won their third titles in 78, Nantes increased their tally to 5 in 1980, and Strasbourg won their first league title in 1979.

Saint-Etienne won their tenth league title in 1981, setting a record that would not be broken for over 30 years. Monaco, Nantes, Bordeaux and the newly launched club Paris Saint-Germain all won titles in the 80s, before Marseille closed the decade with two titles and began the 90s with two more titles, to put their record at 9 league titles.

1993 was a bittersweet year for Olympique Marseille. The team won the Champions League, becoming the first French team to win in Europe, and they also would have won the league as well to make a historic double. The league win would also see them go level with Saint-Etienne. Unfortunately, Marseille was stripped of their league title because they were found guilty of bribery. This would be the only instance in the league where there was no winner declared at the end of the season.

PSG, who had placed second in that year, would win the following year and Marseille would place second. Auxerre and Lens won their first titles in the 90s, and Monaco and Nantes managed to win their  7th and 8th titles by the end of the decade.

In the 2000s, Olympique Lyon broke Saint-Etienne's record for the most successive title wins when they won an impressive 7 titles in a row from 2002-2008. The team had not won any league titles prior to their fantastic run. Bordeaux ended Lyon's run when they won the league in 2009, and in the following year, Marseille won to go on par with Saint-Etienne with 10 league trophies.

In 2012, Montpellier surprised the country when they beat PSG to win the league. PSG returned the following season and went on to win 4 successive leagues. Monaco beat the Parisians in 2017, but PSG then returned and won three titles in a row. In 2021, Lille won the league to put their tally at 4 and beat PSG in a season that was determined in the final match. In 2022, PSG won their 10th French league title, to equal Marseille and Saint-Etienne.

Season Structure

The season starts in August and ends in May. During this time, there will be 36 matches played between the 18 clubs in the league. The top two teams in the league qualify for Champions League football, whilst the team that places in third will enter the third qualifying round for the Champions League. The team that finishes fourth will qualify for the Europa League and the team in fifth will play in the Europa Conference League.

Fun Facts

The Ligue 1 has changed the number of clubs in a season from 18 to 20 and back 10 times. In 1946, the structure was changed from 18 to 20, and then it was reverted in 1947. It was then changed in 1958, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1997, and then finally in 2022.

Marseille, Rennes, Nice, Metz and Montpellier are the only teams that played in the very first Ligue 1 and still play in the league today. Marseille had an enforced relegation after the bribery scandal of 1993, but returned to the league within 2 years.

Popular Bets

Match Result

These are bets on how a match may end. In a game between PSG and Marseille, there will be bets for PSG to win, Marseille to win, or for a tie.


Handicaps are a way of making betting on the favourite more attractive. The team is given a negative handicap that is applied to the score at the end of the match. If the team is still the winner once the handicap has been applied, then any bets on them will win.

Total Goals

With total goals, punters can bet on how many goals they think will be scored in a game. There are betting lines that define the range of goals that will be scored, bettors can pick a line and bet on whether the game will end with over or under the number of goals in the line.

Game Props

Game props can include many different types of bets. There may be bets on individual players, halves, and even some more specific bets such as correct score, or winning margin.

Live Bets

Live betting is extremely popular, and for good reason. All the main bets will be available live, but there will also be some bets that refer to what will happen in the immediate future, such as which team will score next, will a team score in the current half, which player will score the next goal, and many more.

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