Cagliari 2.15, the draw 3.2, Sampdoria 3.4
Samp might be happy to play away from home this week. The mood amongst supporters has turned ugly in the wake of last Sunday’s 3-0 mauling by city rivals Genoa, with one group of Ultras demanding – and obtaining – an audience with the manager Delio Rossi, while another issued a long and meandering statement that warned players: “the good life is over for you. From now we will be present constantly to ensure your hard work.”
Rossi has experimented with new formations in training this week, and may try out a new 3-4-2-1 as his team seeks its first win of the season. But Sampdoria have not beaten Cagliari since 2008 and are without an away win since January. Back Cagliari to take all three points at 2.15.
Chievo 2.75, the draw 3.2, Udinese 2.55
When the fixture list was first published, this looked like a tiring trip for Udinese, who were supposed to be playing in the Europa League on Thursday night. But the Fruliani have already been eliminated from continental competition, losing their two-legged playoff against Slovan Liberec.
That result was indicative of a disappointing start all-around for an Udinese team that, despite the technical gifts of Luis Muriel, remains too dependent on Antonio Di Natale for goals. Chievo are a weak side facing up to a long season, but equally Udinese have rarely been great travellers under Francesco Guidolin. The draw is good value at 3.2.
Genoa 1.8, the draw 3.4, Livorno 4.5
While Sampdoria fight to raise morale after their derby defeat, Genoa have the opposite problem: trying to keep their feet on the ground. Every public comment made by the manager Fabio Liverani this week has followed a similar theme: “Yes, winning the derby was great, but can we please start thinking about Livorno.”
He is right not to underestimate these opponents. Livorno have won two of their three games since achieving promotion from Serie B, while Genoa lost both games before the derby. As emphatic as that victory was, I am surprised to see the hosts priced so low here. I like Livorno in the double chance market at 1.9.
Sassuolo 4.4, the draw 3.45, Inter 1.8
Massimo Moratti still owns Inter, but not for much longer. A meeting with Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir in Paris on Thursday brought him one big step closer to completing a sale that has been in the works for many months. Moratti emerged afterwards saying that the deal (in which he is expected to retain a 30% stake) should be done by the end of this month.
What the future holds under Thohir remains to be seen. But the present is looking bright after an impressive start by the club’s new manager, Walter Mazzarri. Seven points from three games, including last week’s Derby d’Italia, have restored the confidence this club had lost en route to a ninth-place finish last year. The Nerazzurri should make short work of a Sassuolo team with three defeats and eight goals conceded so far this term. Away win.
Atalanta 2.9, the draw 3.1, Fiorentina 2.45
Vincenzo Montella said that injuries could not be an excuse for his team if they underperformed against Paços de Ferreira on Thursday. Fiorentina duly won, 3-0. The Portuguese were hardly the mightiest of opponents, however, having already lost all of their previous six games this season.
There will be tougher tests ahead for the Viola, and the absences of Mario Gomez and Juan Cuadrado are bound to have an impact over the next two months. Whether they will on Sunday is a trickier question to answer. Stefano Colantuono’s Atalanta defended effectively for 70 minutes against Napoli last week and can be expected to take a similarly cautious approach. Go with the unders at 1.85.
Bologna 2.1, the draw 3.2, Torino 3.5
The Alessandro Diamanti show goes on in Bologna, where the former West Ham player has scored two and set up another one of the team’s four goals in all competitions. The departures of Alberto Gilardino and Manolo Gabbiadini over the summer have left this team desperately short of quality up front, placing a heavy weight on Diamanti’s shoulders.
Torino themselves have just four goals this season, and can be expected to maintain their counter-attacking approach under Giampiero Ventura. Once again, I like the unders at 1.68.
Catania 2.15, the draw 3.2, Parma 3.4
Parma have been among the great disappointments of the season so far, Antonio Cassano failing to ignite their attack after arriving from Inter in the summer. His partnership with Amauri was supposed to be among the most devastating in the league, but so far Parma’s players have just two goals between them.
Catania have been even worse, scoring once and conceding seven times through their first three games. After such poor starts, both teams might be more concerned with avoiding defeat than anything else. Try the draw at 3.2.
Juventus 1.16, the draw 6.5, Verona 16.0
Two draws in the last week for Juventus, who might still be trying to work out how they failed to score more than once away to Copenhagen. Expect them to take some frustrations out on Verona, winning without conceding a goal (1.73).
Roma 2.15, the draw 3.3, Lazio 3.3
James Pallotta knows how to make a splash. Not long after taking over as president of Roma last year, he jumped fully-clothed into a swimming pool at the team’s training facility, demonstrating to his players that there are different ways to grab people’s attention. On Friday he will go for a slightly more conventional message, having Francesco Totti sign his new two-year contract extension live on national TV.
Two days later, the captain will lead his team out for the fixture that matters most in Rome. Lazio supporters held a mock funeral for their rivals after defeating them in last year’s Coppa Italia final, but it is the Giallorossi who have played the better football thus far this season, beating Livorno, Verona and Parma by a combined scoreline of 8-1. Odds of 2.15 on the home win look good to me.
Milan 2.55, the draw 3.2, Napoli 2.75
Nearly 27 years have passed since Napoli last defeated Milan at San Siro. Diego Maradona and Bruno Giordano got the goals in a 2-1 victory back in April 1986; since then the Rossoneri have claimed 10 victories and seven draws in this fixture.
This might be Napoli’s best chance in some time to update that statistic. Marek Hamsik has a little way to go yet before he can match Maradona’s goalscoring tally, but the midfielder has set himself that precise target. After the fast start that he and Gonzalo Higuaín have made to life under Rafael Benítez, such lofty goals no longer sound implausible. Milan, by contrast, are struggling, beset by injuries and over-reliant on late goals to snatch results they have barely deserved. Napoli might not give them the chance. Away win.
Bet now on all the Serie A action
Follow Paolo Bandini's Serie A betting tips every week