Atalanta 3.7, the draw 3.2, Napoli 2.05
Time to find out if Napoli are indeed a one-man team. If that accusation holds true then you can expect the coach pulling up outside the visitors’ entrance to the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on Wednesday evening to be completely empty.
Edinson Cavani, you see, has not been included in Napoli’s squad for the game, unable to shake off the thigh complaint which caused him to miss Sunday’s home win over Chievo. If the team eventually won without him, then their profligacy in front of goal was troubling. Atalanta have had a mixed start to the season, but given Cavani’s absence and Napoli’s failure to score already in two of their four away games, I would consider the home clean sheet at 3.9.
Cagliari 2.0, the draw 3.1, Siena 4.0
Even Ivo Pulga, leader of the two-man management team in charge of Cagliari, didn’t expect things to go this well.
At a press conference on Tuesday he admitted to reporters that if someone had told him his first-ever top-flight job would begin with three straight wins, he would have dismissed them as a bonkers. And yet that is precisely what has happened, Cagliari following up 1-0 victories over Torino and Bologna with success by the same margin away to Sampdoria on Sunday.
The odds on that exact scoreline coming up again are 6.5. I’m not normally one for exact score bets, but with Siena winless in four and top scorer Emanuele Calaiò having managed just three goals, there is a temptation to go for a repeat.
Chievo 1.75, the draw 3.45, Pescara 4.7
This was always likely to be a difficult season for Pescara, a team who lost not only their manager but three of their best players in the aftermath of their promotion to the top-flight, yet it seems that many supporters were not expecting it to be quite this tough.
Following a 0-0 draw with Atalanta on Sunday that left their team 16th with eight points from nine games, a group of 50 or so fans attempted to break into the locker room and confront the manager Giovanni Stroppa.
They were eventually prevented from doing so by police, but Stroppa’s position at the club is already said to be in doubt. His demoralised team have failed to score in their last three games – despite their opponents having players sent off in each of the last two. Odds of 2.3 on the home clean sheet appeal.
Inter 1.5, the draw 3.85, Samp 6.5
All of a sudden Inter are Serie A’s form team. An up-and-down start to the season including home defeats to Roma and Siena had suggested that Andrea Stramaccioni’s side were still a long way off re-establishing themselves as title contenders, but since then they have won seven in a row in all competitions – moving up to third in the table and within four points of the leaders Juventus, who they play in Turin on Saturday.
Before that they face a struggling Sampdoria team – one which has lost its last four games and is without a win since 16 September. It will be interesting to see if Stramaccioni rests one or two players with an eye on the weekend’s game, but Inter have been winning at half-time and full-time in their last five games, and I would back them to do so again here at 2.25.
Juventus 1.25, the draw 5.25, Bologna 12.0
As for Juventus themselves, they face a gentle enough warm-up for Saturday’s game against 17th-placed Bologna. With the visitors missing the suspended Alessandro Diamanti up front, back Juve to win even with a one-goal handicap at 1.83.
Lazio 1.72, the draw 3.4, Torino 5.0
The most damaging part of Lazio’s 2-0 defeat to Fiorentina on Sunday might not have been the result itself but instead the red cards shown to both Hernanes and Cristian Ledesma – whose suspensions for this match deprive Vladimir Petkovic of his two most effective creators.
They might be able to get away with it against a newly-promoted Torino team who have picked up just a point from their last three games. Then again, another reading of the situation would note that these opponents are yet to lose a game away from home. Try Torino in the double chance market at 2.04.
Parma 3.0, the draw 3.2, Roma 2.3
Roma, too, will be missing a suspended starter in midfield, Panagiotis Tachtsidis having been sent off in their loss to Udinese. His absence could leave space for Zdenek Zeman to restore Daniele De Rossi to what many believe to be his best role – as a deep-lying regista at the heart of the team. The manager himself, though, argued gruffly in his pre-game press conference that De Rossi had not played regularly in that role for eight years.
Parma are in good spirits, coming off back-to-back wins, but predicting results with this Roma team feels like an exercise in futility. Instead back Amauri to score at 2.7, the forward having notched three times in the last two games and now getting his chance against a defence which has conceded 16 in nine.
Udinese 1.9, the draw 3.35 Catania 4.1
Three days after proclaiming the “death of football”, the Catania president Antonio Pulvirenti may be confused to see his team continuing to play the sport regardless. The Elefanti get the chance to put that match behind them against an Udinese team who are proving rather hard to figure out. So far this season they have won just three league games, but two of those were against Roma and Milan. They also triumphed in the Europa League at Anfield.
But what we do know is that Catania are perennially poor travellers, and have so far this season scored just twice away from home, while conceding 10. Even at a modest 1.9, I’m going with the home win.
Genoa 3.1, the draw 3.2, Fiorentina 2.3 (Thursday)
Fiorentina arrive at this game on the crest of a wave following an impressive win over Lazio, and while their away form thus far has been indifferent, it is also true that their only defeats have come at Napoli and Inter. Genoa have not won in over a month, making 2.3 seem like a fair price for the away win.