Chievo 2.7, the draw 2.2, Cagliari 4.0
The bad news for Chievo is that they will have to do without their captain, Sergio Pellissier, for this game. The good news is that they have another striker who barely ever scores ready to step right into his place. Alberto Paloschi last found the net in January, but he might fancy his chances against opponents who have conceded the third-most goals (53) of any team in the division. But I’d stick with the draw between two opponents happily shuffling towards mathematical safety from relegation.
Fiorentina 1.9, the draw 3.5, Roma 3.85
If this match were a gameshow, it would begin with Jim Bowen telling Roma’s supporters to see what they could have won. From behind the screen at the back of the studio would emerge Vincenzo Montella. The Little Aeroplane would dearly have loved Roma to offer him a permanent role at the end of his caretaker stint in 2011, but instead they went with Luis Enrique. Two years later, Montella – now in charge of Fiorentina – is a closer to a Champions League berth than Roma have been at any point since.
Fiorentina are in fine form, and have been especially imposing at home, but odds of 1.9 on the home win do look a little short. Perhaps consider Alberto Aquilani in the goalscorers market. He has quietly hit seven in just 25 games this year, including one in each of Fiorentina’s last two fixtures.
Udinese 1.6, the draw 3.55, Sampdoria 6.0
“Qualifying for the Europa League would be like winning the Scudetto for us,” claimed Udinese’s Antonio Di Natale this week. It is tempting to wonder why. The evidence of this season suggests that the Zebrette are not equipped to compete in the competition, nor are they especially inclined to devote too great a part of their resources to it.
Nevertheless, it would be remarkable for this team to snatch fifth after yet another season of heavy turnover. They should win on Sunday against a Samp team in free-fall, and I would take the home clean sheet at 2.15. Udinese have conceded just once in their last five games.
Milan 1.25, the draw 5.5, Torino 12.0
Depending on the result in Florence on Saturday night, Milan could be down to fourth place by the time this game kicks off. Thankfully for Massimiliano Allegri’s side, they are facing opponents who seem to have packed up prematurely for the summer. Torino have conceded 15 goals in their last five games and – having previously seemed safe – are now at risk of being dragged into the relegation battle. Torino also have a miserable track record against Milan, scoring just five times in their last 16 trips to face the Rossoneri at San Siro. I would once again consider the home clean sheet, this time at 2.05.
Catania 2.15, the draw 3.3, Siena 3.35
Siena’s fragile confidence took a battering last week as they were thrashed 4-0 by Roma. The worrying truth for Beppe Iachini’s side is that they presently sit second-from-bottom and Catania are the weakest opponents left on their schedule. Given that the Sicilian side have lost just three games at home all season, that is not the most encouraging piece of information.
That said, Catania have been slowing down of late, with no wins in their last five games. Seven of the eleven all-time meetings between these two teams in Serie A have finished in a draw, and my suspicion is that this will be the eighth.
Genoa 1.27, the draw 5.0, Pescara 11.5
This is Genoa’s moment. While their biggest relegation rivals, Siena and Palermo, face daunting trips to Catania and Juventus, the Grifone have a home game against the worst team in the division. Pescara have collected just two points since 6 January. Even so, odds of 1.27 on the home win feel tremendously short. Genoa’s victory away to Chievo last week was their first in Serie A since the middle of February, and they are likely to be without the midfielder Juraj Kucka – one of the team’s most consistent performers. You can back Pescara at 1.95 to win this game with a two-goal headstart. That’s where I’d be looking.
Juventus 1.45, the draw 3.75, Palermo 9.2
Antonio Conte gave his Juventus players Monday and Tuesday off as a reward for their derby win over Torino last week. And then to make up for it he made them do double sessions when they got back. Juve can seal the Scudetto with a draw this weekend, but the manager has made it clear that he expects his team to pursue the highest possible points tally in any case.
Palermo have been in tremendous form, collecting 11 points from their last five games with the help of an in-form Josip Ilicic, but it is asking quite something to think they can hijack the hosts’ title party. For the third time this week, I like the home clean sheet – priced here at 2.3.
Lazio 1.67, the draw 3.75, Bologna 5.0
The good ship Lazio is officially out of fuel. A team which once aspired to Champions League football is now eighth, and drifting aimlessly towards the end of the season. They have failed to score in six of their last eight games. Bologna have managed less than one goal per game on their travels. Go with the unders at 1.75.
Parma 2.7, the draw 2.1, Atalanta 4.6
After seeing Atalanta record consecutive 1-1 draws, the local press in Bergamo asked: what are the chances of it happening again? ‘Rather good’, was their conclusion. Not only could both teams do with the additional point as they edge towards safety, but they have also both scored and conceded similar numbers of goals this season. The odds on the draw are not especially appealing at 2.1, but I daresay that it is the most likely outcome.
Napoli 1.42, the draw 4.5, Inter 6.8
Javier Zanetti has promised to return from the ruptured Achilles suffered during last week’s loss to Palermo. In the meantime he called on his team-mates to fight on to secure a spot in next season’s Europa League. That will be easier said than done for a team which is missing not only Zanetti but also another 14 members of the first-team squad due to injuries.
Inter have failed to score in three of their last four away games in all competitions, and have also found the net just once in their last six visits to Naples. Without wishing to sound like a stuck record, I like the home clean sheet yet again at 2.2.
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