Fiorentina - Torino
Consecutive defeats to Lazio and Milan have taken the wind out of Fiorentina’s sails, but they remain fourth in the table and only two points away from a Champions League berth. This is hardly a moment for panic, but it is troubling that a defence that was their strength earlier in this campaign should have conceded nine times in its last five outings.
Torino’s attack has been boosted by the return on loan of Ciro Immobile, who banged in 22 goals for the club in 2013-14 and marked his second coming by converting a penalty against Frosinone last weekend. His presence, allied to the fact that six of Fiorentina’s last seven home league matches have featured three goals or more, makes me inclined towards the overs.
Over 2.5 goals - 2.06
Inter - Carpi
Carpi have won back-to-back Serie A games for the first time in their club’s history, while Inter have only beaten one of their last four league opponents. So should the Nerazzurri be nervous? Probably not. For one thing, morale was boosted by a Coppa Italia win away to Napoli in midweek, and for another their opponents will be without two suspended starters in Riccardo Gagliolo and Isaac Cofie.
Home team to win without conceding - 1.89
Lazio - Chievo
The first meeting between these two teams yielded a quite extraordinary result, Chievo thrashing last year’s third-place finishers 4-0. Five months later, both teams find themselves in mid-table, separated by a single point. Should Lazio, especially after the exertions of a midweek cup game against Juventus, really be such heavy favourites?
Draw no bet: away win - 4.30
Palermo - Udinese
Both teams have been involved in some high-scoring games of late, mostly because neither is very good at defending. Palermo have shipped 16 goals in their last seven Serie A matches, while Udinese were punctured four times by Juventus last weekend and twice by Carpi before that.
Given that each side is also missing a starting centre-back - Sinisa Andjelkovic for Palermo, and Danilo for Udinese - through suspension, we might expect more of the same.
Over 2.5 goals - 2.18
Sampdoria - Napoli
The (justified) furore around Maurizio Sarri’s touchline insults toward Roberto Mancini, and the deeply inadequate two-game suspension that the Napoli manager received, has distracted attention away from what was a potentially significant 2-0 defeat for his team. The Partenopei did not field their strongest side against Inter but it was not a weak one either, and they have now gone five games without a clean sheet.
Sampdoria are capable of inflicting damage with an attack that has looked more cohesive since Vincenzo Montella installed Antonio Cassano as a false nine. The good news for Napoli is that their opponents remain vulnerable at the other end.
Away win and both teams to score - 3.20
Sassuolo - Bologna
Only two teams - Napoli and Roma - have lost fewer games that Sassuolo in Serie A this season, but lately the Neroverdi do appear to have contracted a case of what Rudi Garcia once termed “draw-itis”. All of their last three home games have finished in stalemates, and that would probably have been the fairest outcome in their recent visit to Inter as well, when instead grabbed a late 1-0 win.
In part Sassuolo are suffering from a shortage of decisive forwards. Their top scorer, Sergio Floccari, has just four goals this season and could even play against them on Sunday after he was sold to Bologna during the January window.
Under 2.5 goals - 1.61
Verona - Genoa
Rooted to the bottom of the table, Verona ought to view a home game against opponents hovering just outside the relegation zone as a must-win fixture. Unfortunately, Verona have become a never-win team, all of their nine points coming from draws.
Genoa, meanwhile, have been revived by the form of Leonardo Pavoletti up front. Since falling 3-0 behind in the derby with which they began this calendar year, the Grifone have scored eight goals without reply. Five of those have come from Pavoletti.
Away win - 2.50
Juventus - Roma
Can anybody slow down Juventus? The Bianconeri have now won 10 in a row, and this weekend have an opportunity to put a 10-point gap between themselves and the Roma side that were supposed to be their primary challengers. On paper, it looks like something of a non-contest. The visitors have won only a single game since 8 November.
But Gigi Buffon is not writing Roma off. In an interview published by Gazzetta on Friday, he described these opponents as “fearsome, dangerous”. He has not forgotten how Roma beat Juventus in the reverse fixture at the start of this campaign.
Much has changed since then, not least the identity of the Giallorossi’s manager, but the arrival of Luciano Spalletti is unlikely to diminish the commitment and aggression that has characterised Roma’s approach to this fixture in recent years. And for all that they might not have won many games lately, it is also true that they have lost fewer games than Juventus to date.
Draw - 3.75