Serie A Betting: Atlanta won't breach Roma defence


Saturday

Parma 1.8, the draw 3.4, Bologna 4.5

The Bologna manager, Stefano Pioli, described Alessandro Diamanti as “our Kobe Bryant” this week. Presumably he was not just referring to the fact they are both unlikely to play this weekend. Diamanti is a major doubt for this game after coming down with the flu, and his absence would be keenly felt by a team that relies heavily on him as both a creator and finisher up front. Even if he were present, I would probably still lean towards the home win.

Genoa 2.3, the draw 3.2, Torino 3.1

Alberto Gilardino’s time in Genoa might be drawing to a close, with reports in Italy that Toronto FC are prepared to offer the player €4m per year to join them in Major League Soccer. But both the player and his present employers are keen to delay any possible move until May, and it’s not hard to see why. The striker has scored five times in his last six games, and has been a major part of this team’s improvement in recent weeks. 

Back him to find the net again on Saturday against a Torino defence that has shipped 22 goals already this season, and which has not kept a clean sheet since its season-opener against Sassuolo.

Sunday

Catania 4.75, the draw 3.5, Milan 1.8

Once again Milan saved their best for the Champions League, dismantling Celtic in Glasgow. But their domestic form remains disastrous, the Rossoneri collecting just three points from their last five games and failing to beat 10-man Genoa at home last weekend. 

With Ignazio Abate picking up an ankle injury on Tuesday, and each of Mattia De Sciglio, Cristián Zapata, Cristian Zaccardo and perhaps also Philippe Mexès already unavailable, they are dangerously short of options in defence this weekend. Catania, who have only lost once at home this season, are worth considering in the double chance market at 2.02.

Atalanta 3.75, the draw 3.4, Roma 1.95

Roma remain unbeaten, but for the first time this season they are no longer the front-runners in Serie A. Three consecutive draws against modest opponents have seen the Giallorossi slip behind Juventus at the top of the table, and led to some anxiety about this team’s depth. The starting midfield trio of Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Miralem Pjanic have been almost ever-present, and despite the lack of European football, might be showing some signs of fatigue.

But they have remained solid at the back, conceding just three goals in 13 games. The away clean sheet might be the best value here, at 2.45.

Cagliari 1.8, the draw 3.5, Sassuolo 4.4

This game has been billed as a relegation six-pointer, and yet if these two teams continue their recent improvement, they might avoid the relegation scrap altogether. Playing away to Cagliari is once again an imposing prospect for any team, now that the Sardinians are finally back playing in their own home town. Sassuolo, meanwhile, have lost just once in their last six games. 

The visitors have also been scoring freely of late, and that is no accident. The 19-year-old Domenico Berardi has been one of the great revelations of this season so far, finding the net seven times in his last seven games. Sassuolo also have the worst defence in the division, however, so try both teams to score at 1.94.

Chievo 1.9, the draw 3.45, Livorno 4.0

Eugenio Corini enjoyed a perfect return to life as manager of Chievo, leading them to victory over Verona in the Derby della Scala last weekend. But one win cannot mask this team’s flaws, and they remain rooted to the foot of the table for the time being. 

Livorno are a team in near freefall, with six defeats in their last eight games, but the odds on the home win still seem too short to me. There was nothing inevitable about Chievo’s 92nd minute winner against Verona, and this team remains short of firepower up front. The draw is better value at 3.45.

Inter 1.38, the draw 4.65, Sampdoria 7.5

Like Chievo, Sampdoria also seem to be enjoying the sort of lift that a change of manager can bring. The Blucerchiati showed considerable improvement in Sinisa Mihajlovic’s first game in charge, drawing at home to Lazio despite playing on 10 men for almost the entire second half.  They will also have their top goalscorer, Eder, back for this trip to San Siro. Of course they will still be underdogs, but the odds on the home win are too short. At 4.65, the draw is worth a look.

Juventus 1.3, the draw 5.0, Udinese 10.0

Top of the Serie A table, and needing just a draw away to Galatasaray in order to secure their progress to the Champions League knockout stage, Juventus are not doing too badly for a team that was said to be underperforming in this early part of the campaign. The partnership of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente has lent this team a potency that it had lacked. Back the home team to win even with a one-goal handicap at odds of 1.9.


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