Serie A Betting: Higuain to fire Napoli to victory at Fiorentina


Wednesday

Milan 1.75, the draw 3.60, Lazio 5.00 (BET and WATCH LIVE on Unibet TV from 19.45 GMT)

Henceforth, Mario Balotelli might have to be known as ‘Samson’. Since shaving off his Mohawk last Friday, the striker has played one of the worst games of his Milan career – lasting just 52 minutes into Sunday’s defeat to Parma before getting replaced – and then crashed his Audi. At least nobody was hurt when Balotelli rear-ended another car on Monday afternoon.

But while Mario struggles, Ricky Kaká is finding his stride. The Brazilian’s second-half introduction proved to be the spark for a strong, if ultimately doomed, comeback against Parma. Kaká has helped to galvanise the attack but, just like their neighbours, Milan remain flimsy at the other end – conceding 16 goals in nine games. Back both teams to score here at 1.87.

 

 

Cagliari 1.80, the draw 3.45, Bologna 4.75

Bologna got their first win of the season at the weekend, beating Livorno 1-0 to climb out of the relegation zone. The prospects of a further triumph here look slim. Cagliari won their first game back at the Stadio Sant’Elia earlier this month, and should continue to benefit from playing at last in their own home town. Bologna, meanwhile, are without the suspended Alessandro Diamanti. Home win.

 

 

Fiorentina 2.50, the draw 3.40, Napoli 2.80

Juan Cuadrado continues to dance his way into Fiorentina fans’ affections, his celebratory shimmies after scoring against Chievo generating almost as much excitement as the fancy footwork with which he had unpicked that team’s defence in the first place. The forward’s form has captured the attention of scouts from across Europe. Arsenal reportedly had a bid turned down this weekend.

But I would counsel backing a former Gunners target to score this weekend. Gonzalo Higuaín has found the net in four of the six games that he has started for Napoli this season; he is available at odds of 2.55 to do so again on Wednesday.

 

 

Genoa 2.55, the draw 3.30, Parma 2.85

Parma are beginning to get the best out of Antonio Cassano. The forward touched the ball 56 times during his team’s win over Milan, laying on four goal-scoring opportunities, as well as finding the net once himself. His form has helped to ensure some high-scoring games for Parma of late, and Genoa continue to pursue their own brand of attacking football under Gian Piero Gasperini. Try the overs again at 2.12.

 

 

Juve 1.20, the draw 7.00, Catania 14.00 (BET and WATCH LIVE on Unibet TV from 19.45 GMT)

Antonio Conte will not give his usual pre-match press conference this week, with the official line being that the manager has had too many such commitments between league and Europe of late, and needs time to focus on his job. After a powerful rant on Sunday against outside voices seeking to "destabilise" his club, however, it is hard not to interpret his silence as something of a statement.

Creating a little bit of siege mentality might be no bad thing for this club, which has played its best football in those times when Conte has been able to inculcate an us-against-the-world mentality. Not that Juve would need to be on top form here, against opponents who have lost all four of their away games. Back the Bianconeri to win with a one-goal handicap at 1.6.

 

 

Livorno 2.75, the draw 3.25, Torino 2.65

The misery keeps coming for Livorno, who have lost four games in a row and now must do without midfielder Luca Siligardi, suspended for uttering "a blasphemous term" in front of the cameras during his team’s defeat to Bologna. If that sounds harsh, well, it is. The player was not even cursing at an opponent, but merely chastising himself after missing a shot on goal. But if Livorno are struggling, then Torino too are without a win in five games. I might consider the draw.

 

 

Sassuolo 3.10, the draw 3.30, Udinese 2.35

Udinese are expected to get their starting goalkeeper, Zeljko Brkic, back on Wednesday after he missed the start of the season due to shoulder surgery. But while his presence certainly provides a lift, the Friuliani are struggling more greatly at the other end of the pitch, where age might just be starting to catch up with Antonio Di Natale. Given Sassuolo’s own attacking limitations, and Udinese’s generally poor away record, I might go with the unders at 1.73.

 

 

Verona 2.10, the draw 3.30, Sampdoria 3.70

Will that loss to Inter signal the moment when Verona’s fast start ran out of steam? I’m not so sure. Even on Saturday, Luca Toni still led the line confidently, using his power and experience to bully the Inter defence. Juan Iturbe did not look out of his depth, either, sparking more than one moment of panic with his runs.

Verona still have the pieces in place, in other words, to outmanoeuvre a bad Sampdoria team. Unfortunately, they might not get one of those, since the Blucerchiati have been quietly improving – winning each of their last two games. A draw feels possible here.

 

 

Thursday

Roma 1.26, the draw 6.00, Chievo 12.00 (BET and WATCH LIVE on Unibet TV from 19.45 GMT)

Rudi Garcia thinks this will be "the most difficult game of the season so far" for Roma. The rest of us would tend to disagree. Chievo are rooted to the bottom of the Serie A table with four points from nine games. Roma are top with 27 points, not to mention 23 goals scored and only one conceded.

Of course, Garcia is really just trying to make sure that his players do not take their eyes off the ball. With Francesco Totti still injured, Gervinho’s status in doubt and Maicon suspended after a double-booking against Udinese, Roma will be below full strength, and cannot afford to get complacent. Nothing about their performances so far suggests that they will. Take Roma to win without conceding at 1.88.