Serie A Betting: Benatia blow means Atalanta can breach Roman defence


Saturday

Sassuolo 2.40, the draw 3.2, Cagliari 2.95

Less than two months after being sacked as Diego Lopez’s assistant at Cagliari, Ivo Pulga returns to the club as first-team manager. He needs to hit the ground running. Although Cagliari sit seven points clear of the relegation zone, defeat to 19th-placed Sassuolo could drag them back into a scrap for survival.

The hosts are coming off one of their most impressive performances of the season, a surprising but well-deserved 2-0 victory over Atalanta. They will be missing the suspended Paolo Cannavaro in defence, but get Domenico Berardi back up front. Given that Cagliari have collected just seven points on their travels all season, I would definitely consider the Sassuolo victory at odds of 2.40.

 

Roma 1.29, the draw 5.2, Atalanta 9.50

If Atalanta could not beat Sassuolo at home, then what hope could they possibly have on the road against second-placed Roma? Perhaps a better one than you might think. The Giallorossi will, after all, be without Mattia Destro – scorer of seven goals in their last six games – as well as their best centre-back, Mehdi Benatia.

But Roma are unbeaten this season at the Stadio Olimpico, and once again have an opportunity to close the gap at the top of Serie A to just five points. I expect them to win, but the odds are too short to be attractive. Instead, consider backing Atalanta to score at 2.06. Roma have conceded five times in their last three home games, and Benatia’s absence is significant.