Serie A Betting: Inter and Juve will end in a draw


Saturday

Inter 3.4, the draw 3.3, Juventus 2.1

Neither of these teams was happy to learn that the season’s first Derby d’Italia would be played immediately after an international break, but the question of who suffered most is open to debate. Twelve players from each squad were called up to play for their respective countries. Inter’s group had more long-distance travel to contend with – racking up a combined 92,645 air miles – but their Juventus counterparts spent more time on the pitch – an extra 50 minutes per head on average.

What we do know is that Juventus will not take Inter lightly. The Nerazzurri finished ninth last season, but have begun the new season with two wins and two clean sheets under their new manager, Walter Mazzarri. Both teams might be more interested in preserving their unbeaten status at this stage of the season than in chasing a victory. The draw, at 3.3, looks like the right bet to me.

Napoli 1.38, the draw 4.4, Atalanta 8.5

Rafael Benítez has also made an strong start to life with Napoli, presiding over two wins in as many games. His team has already scored seven goals – with four of them arriving from the boot of Marek Hamsik. The manager argued on Wednesday that: “if [Gareth] Bale is worth €100m, then Hamsik is priceless.”

As long as the Slovakian in this sort of form, the goals should continue to flow. Napoli have scored at least twice in all of their last six home games; back over 2.5 goals at 1.72.

Torino 4.25, the draw 3.5, Milan 1.8

The sight of Ricky Kaka standing on a balcony at Milan’s headquarters in Via Turati was enough to reduce some of the club’s supporters to tears. One can only imagine what might happen on Sunday when they see him representing their club again (even if only on television, in most cases) for the first time in more than four years. 

For all the focus on Kaka, the fact is that Milan have rather more pressing concerns in defence – where Daniele Bonera, Matias Silvestre, Ignazio Abate and Mattia De Sciglio are all out injured. The midfielder Andrea Poli may be called into service as an emergency full-back, a less than ideal starting point for a team that is facing up to seven games in the next 23 days. Nevertheless, Milan should have too much quality here. Away win.

Sunday

Fiorentina 1.42, the draw 4.3, Cagliari 7.5

Manuel Pasqual could have been excused for taking the weekend off. The Fiorentina captain had his head split open in gruesome fashion by the elbow of Libor Kozak during Italy’s World Cup qualifying win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday, but is already said to be back in contention to play for his club side on Sunday. 

His presence would certainly be a boost for the Viola, who might otherwise go into this game without two of their starting back three – since Stevan Savic is also an injury doubt. My inclination is to go with over 3.5 goals at 2.7; both teams are attacking by nature, and the exhaustion brought on by the international rounds could lead to an even more open game than was already anticipated.

Lazio 1.65, the draw 3.75, Chievo 5.0

The anticipated reinforcements up front never arrived for Lazio during the summer transfer window, meaning that Miroslav Klose will continue to carry the burden of goalscoring responsibility. Informed that some fans had been hungry for a new striker, the Lazio owner Claudio Lotito dryly replied: "If they have stomach pains, they should take an Alka-Seltzer.”

Chievo are not an expansive team at the best of times, and especially not when playing away to superior opposition. They will arrive with sights set on a point, and knowing that they have not lost to Lazio in any of their last eight visits across all competitions. The draw is well-priced at 3.75.

 

Livorno 2.45, the draw 3.2, Catania 2.85

It is still too soon to know what we can expect from Livorno. Just before the international break they beat Sassuolo 4-1, but the impact of that result is diminished by the fact their opponents were a fellow newly-promoted side. Prior to that, Livorno lost 2-0 to a strong Roma team. 

This, then, will be an intriguing test. Catania are notoriously poor travellers, and have started their own season with consecutive defeats. It’s not an easy game to feel confident about, but my hunch is that Livorno are functioning a little more cohesively than their opponents right now. Home win.

Udinese 1.8, the draw 3.5, Bologna 4.4

Club managers are not usually all that enamoured with the idea of an international break, but Udinese’s Francesco Guidolin believes that this most recent one has served his team well. “We failed to qualify for the Europa League, but now that’s behind us,” he said. “Up to a few days ago there was still a lot of bitterness, but the break has helped us to overcome that and move forwards.”

The best way to prove it, of course, would be to brush aside opponents who have won just once in 12 league games dating back to last season.  Udinese rarely put a foot wrong on their own turf, and might even be worth backing with a one-goal handicap at 3.15.

Hellas Verona 2.1, the draw 3.3, Sassuolo 3.4

Sassuolo finished above Verona in Serie B last season, but their thrashing by Livorno in the last round of fixtures suggests that such past endeavours might not count for very much these days. More encouraging for the visitors will be the news that Verona’s Luca Toni is at risk of missing this game due to tendinitis. If he were to miss out, I might consider the draw at 3.3.

Sampdoria 2.25, the draw 3.3, Genoa 3.1

The 89th Derby della Lanterna will take place at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Sunday night. It might not boast the glamour of the Derby d’Italia, but even Juventus’s general manager Beppe Marotta – who worked for Sampdoria from 2002 to 2010 described this fixture as “incomparable”. 

Both teams will be doubly anxious to secure a positive result, having collected just one point between them during the opening two rounds of fixtures. Genoa have already conceded seven goals, while Samp have allowed three. A game that is low on quality, but high on scoring, seems likely. Take the overs at 2.15.

Monday

Parma 2.9, the draw 3.3, Roma 2.35

Erik Lamela is gone, as are Marquinhos and Pablo Osvaldo, but Rudi Garcia’s Roma looked perfectly impressive without them in cruising to victories over Livorno and Hellas Verona by a combined scoreline of 5-0. Parma represent a higher calibre of opposition, however, and lost just four times at home last season.

The odds on a Roma victory are a little shorter than I would like at 2.35, but the away clean sheet might just be worth considering at 3.05. Even before Garcia’s arrival, the Giallorossi had tightened up considerably at the back towards the end of last season – holding opponents goalless in three of their last five games to end the 2012-13 campaign.


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