Serie A Betting: Bologna to test Balotelli-less Milan

Bologna 3.50, the draw 3.25, Milan 2.20

As much as it hurt Milan to lose at home to Napoli on Sunday, the greater damage was done after the final whistle went. With a few choice words to the referee Luca Banti, Mario Balotelli talked his way into a red card and a three-game suspension. The Rossoneri will seek to reduce that ban on appeal, but in the meantime they must do without a player who had scored three of their seven goals this season, as well as setting up another. 

Bologna have just two points from their first two games and have only won once in 14 games dating back to last season, but in light of Balotelli’s absence, and Milan’s poor performances of late, I would consider the draw at 3.25.

Chievo 7.50, the draw 4.25, Juventus 1.45

Champions League football has made a Tinkerman out of Antonio Conte; the Juventus manager made six changes to the starting XI that drew in Copenhagen before Sunday’s victory over Verona. Further rotation is expected for this midweek trip, with reports suggesting that the manager might even give Carlos Tevez his first game off.

It would be interesting to see how Juve fare without the striker, who has been the stand-out performer of their season so far, but it would be a big surprise to see them drop points here either way. Back them to lead at half-time and full-time at odds of 2.15.

Lazio 1.60, the draw 3.80, Catania 6.20

Einstein never actually defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, but the saying still has merit. Every transfer window, Lazio neglect to sign a back-up for Miroslav Klose. And every season, they wind up regretting that decision when the striker gets hurt or goes through a dry run. 

Klose’s form has actually been indifferent for some time now – the German scoring just three times in this calendar year. Against better teams than Catania, such struggles are beginning to tell. But the Sicilians have been woeful this season, scoring just once in four games. I like Lazio to win without conceding at 2.55.

Livorno 2.65, the draw 3.20, Cagliari 2.80

Among the more curious quirks of Cagliari’s nomadic year without a fixed abode has been the fact that they continue to perform much better in their ‘home’ games than they do when playing elsewhere. Despite finishing comfortably in mid-table, they won just four away games last season. 

Livorno might be a newly-promoted side but they have adapted quickly to this stage, claiming seven points from their first four games. At 2.65, I’m leaning towards the home win.

Napoli 1.15, the draw 8.50, Sassuolo 16.00

Sassuolo have adapted rather less well to life in the top-flight, losing all of their first four games and shipping 15 goals along the way. Thrashed 7-0 at home by Inter on Sunday, they could be in for even more brutal treatment at the hands of Rafael Benítez’s free-scoring team. Odds of 2.95 on Napoli to win with a one-goal handicap look very appealing to me.

Parma 1.85, the draw 3.40, Atalanta 4.50

Giulio Migliaccio will be available for selection by the Atalanta manager Stefano Colantuono on Wednesday, after being fined €17,000, but not suspended, for driving a tank over cars painted in the colours of the club’s rivals Roma and Brescia. The midfielder had been absent for most of the campaign already due to injury, and it would have been a blow to lose him again so soon. 

And while Atalanta might not typically have high expectations for a trip to the Stadio Ennio Tardini, Parma’s poor start to the season gives them hope. The hosts have scored just twice in four games, a fact which makes the draw worth considering at 3.40.

Sampdoria 3.75, the draw 3.40, Roma 2.05

Barely a month into his first season as manager of Roma, Rudi Garcia stands on the verge of setting a new club record. Never before in this team’s 86-year history has it succeeded in winning five consecutive games to begin a top-flight season. 

Roma’s games have all followed a similar pattern so far under Garcia, his team keeping things tight in the first halves of their games, before striking ruthlessly in the second. All 10 of their goals have arrived after the interval. There is every reason to believe that they can extend such a run against a limited Sampdoria side. Take draw/away win in the half-time/full-time market at 5.25.

Torino 2.05, the draw 3.40, Verona 3.75

Torino were unfortunate to draw with Milan in their last home fixture, and since then have won away to Bologna as well. Their impressive form owes much to Alessio Cerci, who has found the net in three of his team’s four league games so far. Back him to get his name on the scoresheet once again at 3.2.