Serie A betting: Mid-table Milan could trip up Juventus at San Siro


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Saturday

Roma 1.67, the draw 3.85, Inter 5.5

Another week, and another opportunity for Roma to put pressure on Juventus at the top of Serie A. Win here and they would cut the gap down to six points – with equal numbers of games played – ahead of the champions’ trip to Milan on Sunday. On paper that task looks straightforward; Roma have dropped just four points at home this season, and conceded only two goals along the way. Inter are experiencing an up-and-down year and last week drew at home to Cagliari.

And yet the odds on the home win look too short to me, especially knowing that Roma will be without the injured Maicon and Francesco Totti, with Alessandro Florenzi and Gervinho also both in doubt. They will be playing to a mostly empty stadium, too, following the recent territorial discrimination judgement against their fans. Inter are a good value in the double-chance market at 2.25.

 

Sunday

Cagliari 2.45, the draw 3.2, Udinese 3.1

Rumour had it last week that Cagliari manager Diego Lopez had just two more games to save his job. His team promptly earned a surprising point away to Inter, but that was not nearly so valuable as a victory could be here against potential relegation rivals.

The returns of Mauricio Pinilla and Victor Ibarbo have given Cagliari a lift, but Udinese are unbeaten in their last four games. I would try the draw.

 

Atalanta 2.1, the draw 3.25, Chievo 3.75

Atalanta manager Stefano Colantuono will have one less attacking option available to him for the rest of this season, after his club confirmed on Tuesday that Marko Livaja had been expelled from the first-team squad. The Croatian forward had defied his coaches during last week’s draw against Udinese by refusing to warm up and get ready to come on as a second-half substitute.

But Atalanta have not had much trouble in keeping the goals coming at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia this season, and I doubt they will here against an inferior Chievo team. Home win.

 

Genoa 2.05, the draw 3.2, Catania 4.0

If Catania were going to win any away games this season, the common wisdom was that their best shot would have to be the one against Chievo last weekend. Instead they lost, 2-0, and now find themselves facing a much taller order at the Marassi.

Genoa are mid-table team missing several starters, including the suspended Matuzalem and the injured Alessandro Gamberini, but Catania’s away form is such that I still might back the hosts to win without conceding at 3.2.

 

Sassuolo 3.3, the draw 3.35, Parma 2.25

Sassuolo showed some fight last weekend, twice recovering from a goal down before finally succumbing to an 83rd-minute own goal in their 3-2 defeat at Lazio. But the plain fact is that the Neroverdi have now lost 10 of their last 11 league games. Parma, their opponents on Sunday, are unbeaten in their last 13.

The away win is the obvious choice here.

 

Torino 1.95, the draw 3.4, Sampdoria 4.1

Sampdoria’s renaissance under Sinisa Mihajlovic seems to be running out of steam, the Blucerchiati unable to maintain their recent high standards as they fell to consecutive defeats against Roma and Milan. It did not help that they had a man sent off in each game, and they travel to Turin with all three of Angelo Palombo, Andrea Costa and Maxi Lopez missing due to suspensions.

Torino were guilty of playing too cautiously during their derby defeat to Juventus last weekend, but are unlikely to fall into a similar trap against more modest opposition. Home win.

                                                                                    

Verona 1.95, the draw 3.4, Bologna 4.1

Rafael is not fooling anybody. “We still need one more point to be safe. We need to get it as soon as possible,” said the Verona goalkeeper this week. His team, with 39 points, might still be one short of their notional pre-season target, but they are also 19 clear of the relegation zone with 13 games left to play.

Bologna, on the other hand, are very much at risk of falling out of the top-flight, sitting 17th as we head into this weekend. They have acquitted themselves over the last two weeks despite losing 1-0 to each of Milan and Roma, but so far it is still unclear how they can replace the goalscoring threat that they lost when Alessandro Diamanti was sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in February.

The home clean sheet is worth a look at 2.6.

 

Livorno 6.5, the draw 4.1, Napoli 1.55

Napoli made it through to the last-16 of the Europa League with a 3-1 win over Swansea, although theirs was not a universally encouraging performance. As has been the case in recent draws with Genoa, Bologna and Chievo, the Partenopei seemed to be relying less on any coherent strategy than on the individual talents of their forwards to break down the opposition. This time, thanks to an opportunistic finish from Gonzalo Higuaín, that turned out to be sufficient.

It should ultimately be enough against 18th-placed Livorno, as well, although Napoli’s complacency has cost them against similar opposition this season.

However, I think the visitors can overcome a one-goal handicap to win at 2.5.

 

Milan 3.75, the draw 3.5, Juventus 2.05

The gulf between Juventus and Milan in the table presently stands at 31 points. The Rossoneri long ago gave up any realistic hope of challenging for the Scudetto, but it is still remarkable to think that they could be mathematically eliminated from contention within the next two games.

But for all Milan’s flaws, they are capable of giving Juventus a tougher time than the league table would have us imagine. The Bianconeri may be carrying some tired legs following their Thursday night win over Trabzonspor, and will also be without the suspended Arturo Vidal, plus the injured Giorgio Chiellini.

While Milan are missing a number of players too – including, potentially, Mario Balotelli – I can see them battling to a draw.

 

Fiorentina 1.9, the draw 3.35, Lazio 4.5

Both of these teams drew in the Europa League this midweek, but their circumstances were very different. While Fiorentina were simply coasting after establishing a 3-1 first-leg lead over Esbjerg, Lazio had needed a victory in Bulgaria after losing 1-0 at home to Ludogrets Razgrad. The Biancocelesti twice got their noses in front, but both times wound up gifting cheap goals to their opponents in a game that finished 3-3.

Lazio have now conceded nine goals in their last four games across all competitions, a surprising trend given the defensive solidity that had characterised their initial performances following the manager Edy Reja's return. Against a Fiorentina team who will not be afraid to attack them, I like the overs at 1.96.


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