Serie A Betting: Livorno to hold Juve to a draw


Saturday

Verona 2.05, the draw 3.3, Chievo 3.6

The start to this season has gone worse than anyone at Chievo could ever have feared. Not only are the Flying Donkeys glued to the foot of the table, but their city rivals, Verona, have exceeded all expectations for their return to the top-flight – occupying sixth place after winning all of their first six home games.

Now the two teams meet in their first derby match for 11 years. On paper Verona look like a good bet, especially when you consider that their opponents will be missing Sergio Pellissier up front. But these games have a way of not conforming to the script, and Chievo also have a new manager, Eugenio Corini, in charge. Instead consider backing Luca Toni to get his name on the scoresheet at 2.65. 

Milan 1.45, the draw 4.25, Genoa 7.0

There has been a great deal of speculation about Milan’s future of late, as reports that Barbara Berlusconi is planning to oust Adriano Galliani from his position as the club’s vice-president continue to gain momentum. But perhaps all parties ought to be a little more concerned about the present. The Rossoneri sit 10th in Serie A, and have not won a league game in more than a month.

Consequently, it seems hard to justify such short odds on the home win. Genoa have improved dramatically since the appointment of Gian Piero Gasperini as manager, and are worth a look in the double chance market at 2.65.

Napoli 1.45, the draw 4.25, Parma 6.75

With the exception of a single, inexplicable draw at home to Sassuolo, Napoli have taken maximum points from their home fixtures to date. They have scored 14 goals and conceded just two at the Stadio San Paolo. Parma, meanwhile, have struggled on their travels – collecting two points in five away games. I like the home team to win without conceding a goal (2.5).

Sunday

Livorno 8.5, the draw 4.75, Juventus 1.35

At least Arturo Vidal will be available. The Juventus midfielder’s status for this game had been in doubt all week, after he missed Chile’s game against Brazil in Toronto on Tuesday. Fifa rules state that a player cannot represent his club side for five days after backing out of an international fixture due to injury, but the governing body eventually ruled that Vidal could face Livorno, since he had been sent home by Chile’s own medical team – rather than at Juve’s behest.

That news comes as a considerable relief to the Bianconeri, who will be missing Leonardo Bonucci and Angelo Ogbonna through suspension, as well as Stephan Lichtsteiner, Mauricio Isla and probably also Andrea Barzagli due to injury. Livorno are a markedly inferior team, but given that lengthy injury list, I might just be tempted to take a punt on the draw at 4.75.

Sampdoria 2.95, the draw 3.25, Lazio 2.35

Sinisa Mihajlovic took up his position as manager of Sampdoria on Thursday, quoting John F Kennedy at his introductory press conference. “Winners find a way,” he said. “Losers find an excuse.”

Sampdoria have not done a lot of winning lately, sliding down to 18th place after three defeats in as many games. Can Mihajlovic change their fortunes? I have my doubts, but he does at least start against a Lazio team that is yet to win away from home. I like the draw. 

Sassuolo 2.15, the draw 3.2, Atalanta 3.35

Atalanta will be reunited with some familiar faces on Sunday. Ezequiel Schelotto, Simone Zaza and Paolo Bianco all used to play for the Bergamese side, but have been key protagonists this year for Sassuolo in their inaugural top-flight campaign. 

But the greatest threat to the visiting team might not be any of those. Domenico Berardi has been the key figure in Sassuolo’s recent improvement, scoring six goals in as many appearances. He might be worth backing at 3.7 to find the net again on Sunday. 

Torino 1.75, the draw 3.5, Catania 4.7

Six games, no points and a goal difference of -11. Catania’s away record in Serie A is the worst, by some margin, of any team in the division. But Torino are two months removed from their last win, and have conceded 21 goals in 12 games. Given such defensive frailty, I might consider the overs (2.12).

Udinese 2.7, the draw 3.08, Fiorentina 2.65

First Borja Valero said it, then Manuel Pasqual repeated it, and soon Juan Cuadrado followed suit. Over the last few days it has seemed as though all of Fiorentina’s players were lining up to tell us the exact same thing: that this team believes it is ready to start fighting for silverware. 

The Viola could go some way towards validating that claim by beating an Udinese side which has performed below expectations this season, but which can still be formidable at home. Only two teams – Roma and Inter – have beaten the Friuliani on their own turf so far this season. I am backing Fiorentina to become the third. 

Bologna 3.85, the draw 3.5, Inter 1.9

Erick Thohir celebrated the completion of his Inter takeover with a whirlwind tour of interviews and visits to Italian newspaper offices. Along the way he stated his desire to see Inter play entertaining football, to achieve greater co-operation among team owners, and to secure a better home stadium – whether by upgrading San Siro or moving altogether.

In the short-term, though, he will leave the existing staff to get on with their jobs. For the manager, Walter Mazzarri, that means preparing for a game against Bologna – who might be more vulnerable than usual following injuries to defenders Cesare Natali and Andrea Mantovani. Away win. 


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