Paolo Bandini's Serie A Betting: Juventus To March On, Napoli To Win


SUNDAY

Atalanta – Empoli 

Atalanta remain just one place above the relegation zone, but can feel more confident about their top-flight future after stretching their advantage over 18th-placed Cesena to seven points.

Empoli, four further ahead, have lost steam lately but realistically must know that they are unlikely to be caught. A point would suit both teams well as they each shuffle toward another season of top-flight football. 

Draw – 3.05

 

Genoa – Cesena

US Citta di Palermo v Genoa CFC - Serie A : News Photo

Cesena’s slender hopes of rescuing themselves from relegation took a blow on Thursday when Franco Brienza missed training due to a thigh problem. It was at once a hefty blow and a reminder of why the club finds itself in such a perilous spot in the first place. Brienza is the club’s joint-top scorer and leading provider of assists this season. He is also a 36-year-old trequartista whose best football is a decade behind him. 

The Seahorses are coming off a good draw away to Genoa’s neighbours, Sampdoria, and have shown admirable battling qualities in recent weeks. But they have failed to score in their last six games, and Brienza’s anticipated absence will not make life any easier in that department. 

Home team to win without conceding – 2.48

 

Lazio – Chievo

Juventus FC v SS Lazio - Serie A : News Photo

Brought back down to earth with a bump by Juventus, Lazio must now demonstrate what they are made of. Will Stefano Pioli’s team continue to bully Serie A’s lesser lights as they had done before their trip to Turin? Or will such a limp defeat leave room for lingering self-doubt?

Stefan De Vrij’s absence was felt keenly against the Bianconeri, but the return of Stefan Radu from injury means that Pioli will at least have more cover in defence this weekend. It also helps to be facing a Chievo team who have scored the fewest goals of any team in the league. But Lazio also have problems in midfield, with Marco Parolo and Lucas Biglia both unavailable. The visitors have played well enough lately to believe that a surprise is possible. 

Draw – 4.70

 

Parma – Palermo

US Citta di Palermo v Empoli FC - Serie A : News Photo

Parma’s misery is almost at an end. They will be relegated this weekend if their result against Palermo is bettered by that of Atalanta against Empoli. On recent form, that is no foregone conclusion. Parma have lost only one of their last five matches, and Palermo’s away record remains one of the worst in the league. 

But the Sicilians are playing with a degree of freedom after effectively securing their own top-flight safety, and can be trusted at least to take the game to their opponents. With the likes of Paulo Dybala and Ivaylo Chochev lining up for the visitors, and Ishak Belfoldil finally scoring again for the hosts, goals should be on the agenda. 

Over 2.5 goals – 1.95

 

Torino – Juventus

Juventus FC v SS Lazio - Serie A : News Photo

Juventus have an outside shot to seal the Scudetto this weekend – they would need to win and have both Roma and Lazio lose – but can count on no gifts from their city rivals. Torino have not won a derby in 10 years, but equally have not finished any season in that span higher than the seventh place they occupy right now. 

Manager Giampiero Ventura has already stated that a victory here could be the “cherry on top” of a fine campaign, and striker Fabio Quagliarella will be especially motivated to puncture his former team. But the gulf in quality between the two sides remains greater than the romantics might want to believe.

Away win – 1.95

 

Verona – Sassuolo

ACF Fiorentina v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A : News Photo

The buzz around Sassuolo’s all-Italian attacking trident has died down of late, with Simone Zaza and Nicola Sansone scoring just twice between them in the last two-and-a-half months. Only Domenico Berardi continues to find the net with regularity. He has done so in four of his last five games. 

Verona, for their part, are coming off a first clean sheet since January. Sassuolo have failed to score against them on any of their last three visits to the Bentegodi.

Home team to win without conceding – 3.90

 

Fiorentina – Cagliari

ACF Fiorentina v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A : News Photo

Defeat to Verona last weekend all but ended Fiorentina’s dreams of a top-three finish. Even before that, there were hints that the Viola’s priorities might lie elsewhere. Vincenzo Montella’s team sealed their passage to the semi-finals of the Europa League with a win over Dynamo Kiev on Thursday night, and must now see that competition as their most likely path back to the Champions League. 

That raises questions of how they approach their remaining league fixtures, especially with a congested fortnight coming up thanks to both European commitments and a midweek Serie A round. The likes of Mohamed Salah and Mario Gómez are expected to get a rest on Sunday. As such, the high-scoring affair that many would expect between these teams might not actually materialise.

Under 2.5 goals – 2.5

 

Napoli – Sampdoria

AC Milan v UC Sampdoria - Serie A : News Photo

Where Fiorentina appear to be focusing energies on the Europa League, Napoli’s outlook is a little less clear.

They remain close enough to believe they can climb back into the top three – and especially with Roma stumbling. How much, if at all, can Rafa Benítez afford to rotate the side that faced Wolfsburg on Thursday night? 

But perhaps this is the right moment to be taking on Samp. The visitors might only be three points behind Napoli in fifth place, but they are also three games without a win – scoring only once along the way. It may be galling for them, at a time when the goals are drying up, to be reunited with Manolo Gabbiadini.

Gabbiadini to score – 2.17

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