Paolo Bandini's Serie A Betting: Higuain To Keep Scoring And Kalinic To Lead Viola To Win


Bologna - Napoli

Is Gonzalo Higuaín the best No9 in the world? I would argue not, but his form over the last two-and-a-half months has been sufficient for Italian media outlets to start asking the question. His brace against Inter means he has now found the net 10 times in his last 11 appearances for Napoli. Only twice in this stretch has he been held without a goal.

Bologna are much improved since the appointment of Roberto Donadoni as manager, but they have still conceded four times in their last two outings. The odds would imply that Higuaín has a roughly 50-50 shot of scoring this Sunday, but to me it seems likelier than that.

Higuaín to score - 1.96


Atalanta - Palermo

Knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Lega Pro (third-tier) side Alessandria on Wednesday, Palermo have shown little improvement since hiring Davide Ballardini to replace Beppe Iachini as their manager. Only Verona have scored fewer goals in Serie A this season, and the shortage of goalscorers in the Rosanero squad following the summer sales of Paulo Dybala and Andrea Belotti is glaring.

They are also missing their chief creator, Franco Vázquez, through suspension this weekend, while Atalanta are still without Mauricio Pinilla. I cannot believe this will be a high-scoring encounter.

Under 1.5 goals - 3.25


Fiorentina - Udinese

For a second league game in a row, Paulo Sousa rested his most prolific striker - Nikola Kalinic. For a second league game in a row, Fiorentina failed to win. Consecutive draws are hardly a disaster for the Viola, who remain third, but they are indicative of the squad depth issues this team may wrestle with as the season rolls along.

The obligation to get a positive result in the Europa League last Thursday was a factor in Sousa’s team selections against both Empoli and Sassuolo. He should field his strongest side this Sunday, and that should be enough to beat modest Udinese.

Fiorentina to win by more than one goal (three-way handicap) - 2.20


Frosinone - Chievo

The last team to beat Frosinone at the Stadio Matusa was Roma, all the way back on 12 September. Since then, the Ciociari have beaten Empoli, Sampdoria, Carpi and Verona at their home ground - as well as drawing with Genoa. They have made the venue into something of a fortress, and Chievo have only been so-so on the road.

Home win - 3.10


Verona - Empoli

After five remarkable seasons, in which they rose from the third tier of the Italian football pyramid to the first, Verona have parted ways with manager Andrea Mandorlini. His achievements will not soon be forgotten, but he leaves the club rooted to the foot of the Serie A table and without a win this season after 14 games.

His replacement, Luigi Delneri, got off on the right foot with a Coppa Italia win over Pavia, but this will be a sterner challenge. Empoli centre-back Luca Tonelli is serving a suspension, but I can sooner imagine this fixture ending in a stalemate - as has been the case in four of the past five meetings between these sides - than a home win.

Draw - 3.20


Sampdoria - Sassuolo

After failing twice to end Samdoria’s dry run away from home, Vincenzo Montella finally gets to take charge of his first game at the Marassi. The Blucerchiati have been far more comfortable in front of their own fans this season, collecting 14 points from seven games.

Still, this is no time for complacency. Samp have not won anywhere since October, and they remain too reliant on Eder for goals. His 10 strikes so far this season amount to half of his team’s total.

Eder to score - 2.95


Carpi - Milan

Back-to-back victories over Genoa and then, in the Coppa Italia, Vicenza, have raised the mood at Carpi, but Milan are full of confidence, too, after collecting four wins and a draw in their last six league matches. Their only defeat in this stretch was away to Juventus; a trip to Modena is unlikely to unnerve them in quite the same way.

But there is at least one player who the Rossoneri ought to be wary of this weekend. They know Marco Borriello all too well from his two stints at their club, and he has been Carpi’s most dangerous forward this season. He has scored against them before, while playing for Roma, and found the net against another of his former clubs, Genoa, last week.

Borriello to score - 4.75