Serie A Betting: Catania to hold Juventus



Friday

Genoa 4.0, the draw 3.3, Milan 1.95

Barcelona are not the only team in red-and-blue that Max Allegri is fretting about. The Milan manager has insisted he will field his strongest team against Genoa, saying he has no intention of resting players ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League trip to the Camp Nou. Time will tell if he is good to his word, but certainly this Genoa side ought not to be underestimated.

Sunday’s defeat to Roma was Genoa’s first since Davide Ballardini replaced Luigi Del Neri as manager; his previous five games in charge had included a draw with Juventus in Turin and a home win over Lazio. I would hold off most bets on this game until the team-sheets are published, but one thing you can expect is an appearance from Mario Balotelli, who is back in training after a leg injury and cup-tied for the Barcelona game. He is 2.2 to get on the scoresheet at some stage.


Saturday

Udinese 2.8, the draw 3.35, Roma 2.45

Francesco Totti probably won’t catch Silvio Piola this weekend. The Roma forward moved up to joint-second on Serie A’s all-time goalscoring charts on Sunday, netting the 225th league goal of his career from the penalty spot against Genoa. But Piola, on 274, still remains a little way ahead. With Roma reportedly ready to extend Totti’s contract to 2016, he may well get there eventually but for now both he and his team-mates will be focused on trying to overturn an Udinese team who have lost only once at home all season. Roma are in a good spot of form, but I’d consider the draw here at 3.35.


Sunday

Atalanta 1.44, the draw 4.1, Pescara 8.0

Joint-18th in the table and five points adrift of safety with 11 games remaining, Pescara took the only reasonable course of action available to them. They sacked their manager and replaced him with a youth team coach who doesn’t even have the requisite qualifications to take sole charge of a team at this level.

In fairness to Pescara, their first choice, Marco Giampaolo, turned the gig down. And Cristian Bucchi is a man who has overcome greater challenges than a relegation battle in his life.  While I don’t see a bet that I love in this match-up, I might consider the visitors in the double chance market at 2.75.

Cagliari 2.25, the draw 3.15, Sampdoria 3.25

Sampdoria have not traditionally done very well in Sardinia, failing to even score in any of their last four away games against Cagliari. This game, though, will be played behind closed doors, and with Samp playing their best football for some time. Only Milan have collected more points so far in 2013. Try the away win at 3.25.

Chievo 3.85, the draw 3.15, Napoli 2.05

Edinson Cavani’s scoring drought continues – the striker is now without a goal in seven games – and with it so do his team’s struggles; Napoli haven’t won since 2 February. They have at least remained competitive in that time, thanks to a defence which has conceded jut five goals in its last 10 games. But with Paolo Cannavaro suspended and Miguel Britos out with a fractured jaw, that too is in jeopardy. The draw is worth considering at 3.15.

Juventus 1.3, the draw 5.15, Catania 9.5

“Europe is trembling!” proclaimed Thursday’s Corriere dello Sport after Juventus completed their 5-0 aggregate victory over Celtic in the Champions League last-16. That might be over-egging it a touch. Catania will be under no illusions as to the difficulty of obtaining a result at Juventus Stadium but, despite last week’s second-half collapse against Inter, they will also be aware of their own merits.

Rolando Maran’s side have won three of their last six away games and remain very much in the hunt for a European place. The draw, at 5.15, represents better value than anything you will find on the home side.

Palermo 1.9, the draw 3.3, Siena 4.2

Level on points with each other, as well as with Pescara, at the foot of the table, both Palermo and Siena know they are running out of time to turn things around. Siena have collected just six points away from the Stadio Artemio Franchi all season. Palermo, though, have the third-worst home record in the entire league. In what should be a low-scoring game, Siena’s Innocent Emeghara represents one of the most likely scoring threats. I’d be tempted to back him for the first goal at 8.75.

Parma 1.95, the draw 3.3, Torino 3.9

Torino have quietly enjoyed a solid first season back in the top flight, their consistently resolute back-line making them a hard team to beat. With Parma out-of-sorts – collecting just a single point from their last six games – I would consider a punt on the away clean sheet at 3.8. Torino have kept four of those in 14 games on their travels.

Inter 1.75, the draw 3.4, Bologna 5.0

Fresh from their humiliation at the hands of Tottenham, Inter return home to the sort of game they must surely win if they are to keep up hopes of snatching Italy’s final Champions League berth. The defensive debacle against Spurs was no anomaly, though; Inter have conceded 13 goals in their last six league games. Throw in the fact Bologna have lost only once in their last six, and the odds on the home win begin to look rather too short. Take the draw at 3.4.

Lazio 2.55, the draw 3.1, Fiorentina 2.85

By contrast with Inter, Lazio achieved a fine result in the Europa League on Thursday, winning 2-0 away to Stuttgart. Sadly their domestic form has been rather less positive, the Biancocelesti winning just once in their last seven games. It is no coincidence that injuries have kept Miroslav Klose off the field for all but 45 minutes in that spell.

Klose still hopes to be back in time for next month’s derby, but for now it will be interesting to see if Ederson and Ogenyi Onazi – the team’s goalscorers in Germany – retain their places in the line-up. Fiorentina’s away form is poor, with one win in the last three months. I’ll go with the home win at 2.55.