Serie A Betting: Back Napoli and Inter to provide goals


Saturday

Catania 2.65, the draw 3.15, Verona 2.65

Juventus’s game against Sassuolo was supposed to occupy the Saturday evening slot in Serie A this week, but got bumped back after the Bianconeri’s Champions League game against Galatasaray spilled into a second day. Instead the prime-time TV slot goes to this fixture between last-placed Catania and a Verona team who, despite a highly impressive start to the campaign, have still won just once all season away from home. 

Both teams are likely to be missing important players for this game – including Sergio Almirón and Gonzalo Bergessio for the hosts and Bosko Jankovic for the visitors. The draw looks like the best value to me. 



Sunday

Chievo 2.2, the draw 3.15, Sampdoria 3.3

A change of manager has done wonders for both of these teams, with Chievo winning all of their three games since re-appointing Eugenio Corini, while Sampdoria have five points from a possible nine since they hired Sinisa Mihajlovic. Both managers have focused first and foremost on shoring up their respective defences, so this one is unlikely to feature many goals. The unders are not an especially enticing price at 1.5, but they should be a solid bet. 



Fiorentina 1.4, the draw 4.4, Bologna 7.5

Fiorentina completed their romp through the Europa League group stages with a 2-1 win away to Dnipro on Thursday, finishing top of their section and ensuring that they will be seeded for the last-32 draw. But they had some worse news this week, too, as team doctors confirmed that Mario Gómez would not return from his knee injury before the winter break.

Still, they should make short work of 19th-placed Bologna, who have not won a game since October. Back Giuseppe Rossi, who has 12 goals in 15 Serie A appearances so far this season, to find the net at some point in the game (2.18).



Genoa 2.1, the draw 3.2, Atalanta 3.5

After enduring identically disappointing defeats last weekend – both teams led early, had a man sent off, and eventually lost 2-1 – Genoa and Atalanta will each be looking to put things right here. Unfortunately, both are also short-manned, with key players absent through injury or suspension. Genoa will be without Thomas Manfredini, Daniele Portanova and Juraj Kucka; Atalanta are missing Guglielmo Stendardo, Mario Yepes, Cristian Raimondi, and Cristiano Del Grosso – to name but a few.

But of the two teams, the hosts have played the much better football of late. The loss on Sunday was only their second since September. This looks like a home win to me.



Lazio 1.45, the draw 4.25, Livorno 6.75

Time is running down on Vladimir Petkovic’s tenure at Lazio. The club’s owner, Claudio Lotito suggested in the wake of a 4-2 defeat to Napoli earlier this month that his manager had three games left to turn things around. The first of those turned out to be a 1-0 defeat at Torino. In the meantime, Petkovic has been linked heavily with the Swiss national team – whose manager Ottmar Hitzfeld plans to stand down after this summer’s World Cup. 

It all adds up to imperfect preparation for Sunday’s game. Livorno are a weak side who have performed especially poorly away from home, but Lazio’s players will be just three days removed from a Europa League stalemate with Trabzonspor, and are now six games without a win in Serie A. At 4.25, the draw is worth considering.



Parma 1.8, the draw 3.65, Cagliari 4.1

Four wins, six draws and five defeats each. Parma and Cagliari boast matching records ahead of their meeting at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, as well as almost identical injury concerns. The hosts are missing two of their starting three central midfielders in Marco Parolo and Walter Gargano; the visitors are only down one man at that position – Daniele Conti – but Victor Ibarbo is also injured up front. 

The loss of Parolo – who has scored six goals from midfield so far this season – is especially damaging. With both teams diminished, I would try the draw once again.  



Udinese 1.95, the draw 3.35, Torino 3.8

Just in time for Christmas, Antonio Di Natale (a man whose name translates, with a little artistic licence, to ‘Chrismas Tony’) returns from injury for Udinese. They will probably need him against a Torino team that is in the habit of scoring freely. Alessio Cerci and Ciro Immobile have 14 goals between them this season, and their team has only failed to find the net on three occasions – two of them against Juventus and Napoli. The odds on both teams to score looks appealing at 2.02. 



Juventus 1.15, the draw 7.0, Sassuolo 17.0

What now for Juventus? Dominant domestically, the Bianconeri crashed out of the Champions League after winning just one of their six group stage games. Already the speculation has begun over whether their manager, Antonio Conte, will stay another year. He has spoken more than once now about the difficulty of competing with the continent’s best teams on a budget that is far smaller than the likes of Manchester City or Real Madrid enjoy. 

But he was also at pains to point out before the season began that a third consecutive Scudetto would be no small achievement. Not since the 1930s have Juventus achieved such a feat. The Bianconeri should take yet another step towards that goal on Sunday, although they would be wise not to take this game for granted; Sassuolo have already drawn away to both Napoli and Roma. Nevertheless, with the visitors’ top scorer, Domenico Berardi, suspended, I like the home clean sheet (1.6). 



Napoli 1.9, the draw 3.5, Inter 3.8

Juventus are not the only ones coming to terms with elimination from Europe’s top club competition. There were tears for many of Napoli’s players on Wednesday night, as they became the first team in Champions League history to collect 12 points and still not make it through the group stage. 

They need to put it behind themselves quickly, though, because this is another extremely important game. Inter sit just four points behind Napoli, and have only lost a single game so far this season in Serie A. Both teams have had problems at the back lately, each conceding three goals in their most recent Serie A game. Go with the overs at 1.75.



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