Serie A betting: Napoli can inflict rare defeat on a Tevez-less Juventus


Saturday

Bologna 2.35, the draw 3.2, Atalanta 3.10

Is it time for Bologna to rekindle their relationship with Stefano Pioli? The manager was sacked in January with his team sat 17th in the table, but now the Rossoblu find themselves in the exact same position under his replacement, Davide Ballardini. Word has it that the two managers may see their roles reversed once again if Bologna lose this weekend to Atalanta.

Given that the visitors have won all of their last five Serie A games, it seems a distinct possibility. Odds of 3.10 on the Atalanta victory look pretty generous to me.

 

Milan 1.44, the draw 4.2, Chievo 7.5

Last Saturday, Clarence Seedorf’s job was said to be in jeopardy. Two games and four points later, Thursday morning’s Italian papers were claiming that he was safe once more. One would like to hope that football club owners are not really so fickle, but with Silvio Berlusconi you might not feel so sure.

Still, Wednesday’s win over Fiorentina will have done no harm for morale, and it was encouraging to see Mario Balotelli taking on a lead role for his team – something that he has done too rarely this season. My hunch is that this could be an open game against a Chievo side who put three past Bologna on Wednesday. Try the overs at 2.00.

 

Sunday

Sassuolo 6.50, the draw 3.85, Roma 1.55

On current pace, Roma would finish this season with 88 points – enough to win them the Scudetto in any of the last seven years. And yet, this time around, they are unlikely to get anywhere close. Juventus are on course right now to smash the 100-point barrier.

None of it seems to have dimmed the Giallorossi’s motivation, as their celebration of Alessandro Florenzi’s late winner against Torino on Tuesday showed. They should have little trouble taking apart a Sassuolo side whose mini-revival under Eusebio Di Francesco already appears to be at an end. Back Roma to win even with a one-goal handicap at 2.55.

 

Lazio 2.15, the draw 3.3, Parma 3.60

Parma’s 17-game unbeaten run was ended by Juventus this week, but Roberto Donadoni’s side could still draw plenty of encouragement from a game in which they almost recovered from two goals down to snatch a point – despite having Amauri sent off. They have certainly been a lot more consistent lately than Lazio, who hope to get Miroslav Klose back for this game but will be without Cristian Ledesma and Lucas Biglia in midfield.

At 3.60, I think the away win is worth a shot, but if you were feeling more cautious then odds of 1.65 on Parma in the double-chance market are also quite appealing.

 

Sampdoria 3.00, the draw 3.2, Fiorentina 2.50

After beating Napoli at the weekend, Fiorentina promptly undid their good work by losing at home to Milan. Any rekindled hopes of a Champions League berth have swiftly been stamped out. Their challenge now is simply to finish the season as strongly as possible, and solidify their Europa League place.

All of which would be a whole lot more straightforward if it were not for the fact that they remain without both of their top two strikers – Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez. Alessandro Matri once again demonstrated his shortcomings in their absence on Wednesday, wasting a pair of golden opportunities. By contrast, Sampdoria are looking sharp. I will take the home win.

 

Torino 1.90, the draw 3.30, Cagliari 4.25

Ciro Immobile collected his 17th goal of this Serie A season against Roma, but also a yellow card that rules him out of Torino’s game this weekend. Cagliari themselves are missing Daniele Conti and Mauricio Pinilla through suspension, although with Nenê making the most of his opportunities up front, there is a good chance that the latter player would not have made the team anyway.

Torino’s form has slipped of late, and while part of that can be put down to the quality of their opposition, the odds on the home win do seem short for a side that has just one victory in its last six games. I might try the draw.

 

Verona 2.20, the draw 3.35, Genoa 3.40

Genoa took another large stride towards safety this week, beating Lazio 2-0 to improve their points tally to 39. Verona, having reached 40 at the start of this month, have since given off the distinct impression of a team that has already packed up for the summer – racking up four consecutive defeats. They have not scored a goal in more than a month. But I say that run ends here against opponents who will be without Matuzalem in midfield plus Luca Antonini and Sime Vrsaljko in defence. In fact, I quite like both teams to score at 1.98.

 

Napoli 2.85, the draw 3.25, Juventus 2.45

There will be no Carlos Tevez for Juventus as they confront one of the toughest remaining fixtures on their schedule. His absence is significant. The Bianconeri are unbeaten now in 22 league games, but they might not have come away with three points from either of their last two fixtures if it were not for the goals scored by their Argentinian forward.

Napoli, meanwhile, were able to rest a number of starters – including Gonzalo Higuaín – during their midweek win over Catania, ensuring that they will be as fresh as possible. The Partenopei have been infuriatingly inconsistent in this campaign, but against the biggest sides on their own turf, they have tended to produce their best. Home win.

 

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