Atalanta 2.65, the draw 2.35, Bologna 3.75
Bologna have drawn more games lately than a contestant at the Pictionary World Series. Stefano Pioli’s side are shuffling slowly towards safety and Atalanta, just one point behind, are doing much the same. A draw would suit both teams, and though the odds are a little short, I think that’s probably still the best bet here.
Cagliari 3.3, the draw 3.2, Udinese 2.25
Back in December, just a single Udinese fan made the trip to watch their team play away to Sampdoria. This week, their supporters gobbled up more than 1,000 tickets in just a few hours for a fixture that could go a long way towards deciding their chances of playing in Europe next season. It also helps that this game is being played in Trieste – a town which is approximately 450 miles closer to Udine than it is to Cagliari.
Udinese are in great form, having won their last three games in Serie A to close to within two points of fifth-placed Inter. Cagliari, though, are no pushovers, and despite having their home games shunted around the country they have won four of them in a row. At 3.3, I would be tempted to back the Sardinian side here.
Pescara 7.75, the draw 4.85, Napoli 1.36
The long-deceased corpse of Pescara’s season twitched last weekend, winning Cristian Bucchi’s side a point away to Roma. Could they repeat such a feat against Napoli? Although it seems unlikely, Edinson Cavani will be absent through suspension and the Partenopei’s struggles in his absence are well-documented. The draw is the value bet here at 4.85.
Chievo 2.4, the draw 3.1, Genoa 3.05
With no wins in more than two months, Genoa ought to be dead and buried. The paucity of the teams around them, however, means that they are still just one good win away from escaping the drop zone. Furthermore, both their biggest relegation rivals – Palermo and Siena – face far more daunting fixtures over the remaining five rounds.
Genoa will have their leading goalscorer, Marco Borriello, back from suspension, but they have managed just 11 goals all season on their travels, while Chievo have kept seven clean sheets at home. The odds on Genoa failing to score seem solid at 2.7.
Palermo 2.2, the draw 3.4, Inter 3.2
It’s hard to know whether a home game against Inter represents one of Palermo’s toughest remaining fixtures or one of the easiest. The Nerazzurri remain a team decimated by injuries: they travel to Sicily without Diego Milito, Rodrigo Palacio, Antonio Cassano, Fredy Guarin, Yuto Nagatomo, Dejan Stankovic, Walter Gargano and Esteban Cambiasso, to name just a few. But they are also back in fifth place after last week’s win over Parma.
Once again Josip Ilicic, with four goals in his last four games for Palermo, will be tempting in the goalscorers market. But my pick for this game – given both Inter’s absences up front and Palermo’s season-long scoring woes – is under 2.5 goals at 1.85.
Parma 2.4, the draw 3.25, Lazio 2.9
A neat, if not especially encouraging, piece of statistical symmetry going into this game: both Parma and Lazio have failed to score in five of their last seven Serie A fixtures. The Lazio manager Vladimir Petkovic said this week that his team was going through a “difficult moment”, but in truth there is nothing momentary about either team’s slump. Parma and Lazio have won just four league games between them since 13 January. How to pick a winner between two sides who rarely score, let alone win? The goalless draw is worth considering at 10.0.
Roma 1.5, the draw 3.9, Siena 7.0
Just when you thought Roma’s season had taken a turn towards sanity, they go and throw away two points at home to Pescara. Siena are a significantly better team than the Delfini, and would almost be safe from relegation were it not for the six-point penalty handed down as part of last summer’s match-fixing scandal. They have collected seven points from their last three away games.
Even so, I would steer clear of backing the visitors. Instead, under 2.5 goals might be worth a look at 2.4. Roma are a different proposition under Aurelio Andreazzoli to the side which we saw earlier in the season under Zdenek Zeman, and only one of their last six league games has featured more than two goals.
Sampdoria 3.7, the draw 3.4, Fiorentina 2.0
Qualification to the Champions League would earn Fiorentina close to €30m. All that stands between them and such riches is a Milan team whose advantage in third place has been trimmed to a single point. (Well, that and a two-legged qualifier. Somehow everybody always seems to forget that part.)
Fiorentina are no sure thing here. They savaged their fans’ nerves last week, snatching victory at the death after blowing a three-goal lead at home to Torino, and although the returns of Stevan Jovetic and Manuel Pasqual should provide a boost, the away win is not brilliantly priced for a team that has only won five times on its travels this season. Instead take the overs at even money.
Torino 5.5, the draw 3.55, Juventus 1.65
If Napoli were to drop points against Pescara on Saturday evening, Juventus would have the opportunity to seal the Scudetto at the home of their city rivals. As unbearable as that thought might be for Torino fans, they might be fretting rather more about their own team’s plight. The Granata now sit just seven points clear of the relegation zone, and have picked up only a single draw from their last four games.
Torino have been leaking goals lately, but my suspicion is that this will be a low-scoring affair. Juve won the corresponding fixture 3-0 at home back in December, but prior to that the previous four meetings had witnessed a total of three goals. I don’t often counsel correct score betting, but I am tempted by the 1-0 away win at 7.0.
Milan 1.35, the draw 4.7, Catania 8.8
After collecting just three points from their last three games, Milan need a win to lift spirits and maintain their advantage over Fiorentina. Thankfully for the Rossoneri, they are up against a Catania team which has won just three away games all season. Mario Balotelli is back from suspension, so back him to get his name on the scoresheet – as he has seven times in eight appearances so far.
Bet on all this weekend's Serie A matches.