Serie A Betting: Paolo Bandini's midweek tips...



Chievo 3.5, the draw 3.2, Roma 2.1


Luis Enrique declared on Monday that his mind was already “100%” made up over whether he should stay on as Roma manager or leave in the summer. Unfortunately he didn’t feel like sharing that decision with the rest of us.


Roma’s supporters have certainly made their feelings 100% clear, turning on the manager during last week’s defeat to Fiorentina and ratcheting up their protests at training then Saturday’s game against Napoli. For that reason Enrique may be grateful for an away fixture, especially against an opponent as meek as Chievo, who have not scored in more than 400 minutes. It will be interesting to see how they fare against a Roma team who have conceded 15 in their last six, but Chievo’s own defence is also solid at home. Bet that at least one team fails to score at 2.05.


Napoli 1.38, the draw 4.25, Palermo 8.5


Palermo might consider themselves safe from relegation following their draw in the Derby di Sicilia – they now sit seven points clear of 18th-placed Lecce with three games to go – but their manager Bortolo Mutti knows his job for next year is not yet guaranteed. He knows that mainly because his employer is Maurizio Zamparini – a man who has changed manager 21 times in 10 seasons – but also because the latter specifically told reporters as much this week.


Whether that is enough to motivate Mutti’s team is another matter, and they will miss the injured Fabrizio Miccoli – their top scorer and also a player who is proven to do his best work against teams ranked higher up the table. I’d be inclined to back Napoli to overcome a one-goal handicap at 1.96.




Genoa 1.85, the draw 3.3, Cagliari 4.5


As requested by Genoa’s owner Enrico Preziosi, this match will be played behind closed doors and in Brescia – more than 100 miles away by road – after a group of Ultras forced the suspension of last week’s game against Siena, intimidating players into removing their shirts on the field.


It is undeniably a key fixture for Genoa – who sit one place above the relegation zone and must travel to Udinese at the weekend. Cagliari have been woeful on their travels, losing their last five away games, but then Genoa haven’t won anywhere in 14. The one reliable figure in all this is Rodrigo Palacio, scorer of 18 goals – spread across 14 games – in 30 appearances. Back him to get on the scoresheet.


Milan 1.25, the draw 5.5, Atalanta 12.0


Juventus can win the Scudetto on Wednesday should Milan lose at home to Atalanta, but in truth it is hard to imagine such a scenario unfolding – especially now the Rossoneri have Antonio Cassano back and looking like he’s never been away. Given that Atalanta have failed to score in five of their last six away games, while Milan have conceded just 10 at home all season, odds of 1.95 on a home clean sheet seem more than fair.


Catania 1.9, the draw 3.3, Bologna 4.25


Vincenzo Montella became a record-breaker on Saturday night – the draw with Palermo meaning that he had steered Catania to 47 points, an all-time best for the club in Serie A. But the absence of a Kriss Akabusi hug was not the evening’s only disappointment, Montella criticising his players for not being more clinical in a game he felt they should have won.


As a team they do still want for a prolific goalscorer, and with one of the team’s key creators – Pablo Barrientos – suspended for this game they may struggle to open up a painfully pragmatic Bologna side. The draw looks well-priced at 3.3, given that the visitors have lost just one away game since the turn of the year.

Cesena 4.75, the draw 3.3, Udinese 1.8


Having moved level with Lazio, Napoli and Inter on 55 points following their victory over the former, Udinese have been quickly installed as some people’s favourites to claim third place – on account of a distinctly amenable remaining schedule. That is to ignore, however, the fact that they had won just once in nine games before the weekend and also that two of their remaining three games are away from home – where they have three victories all season.


The table shows that Cesena are the worst team in the division, yet they have been competitive in one-goal defeats to Juventus and Inter over the last two weeks and before that had drawn five in a row. Once again, the draw at 3.3 looks attractive.


Fiorentina 1.5, the draw 3.85, Novara 7.0


What once looked like a potential relegation decider has now somewhat lost its edge, with Fiorentina six points clear of the drop zone and Novara eight away from safety. A good thing too for the hosts, who at time of writing are still sweating on the fitness of Alessio Cerci, Riccardo Montolivo and Alessandro Gamberini. Only Genoa have conceded more than Novara’s 61 goals in Serie A this season, yet with so many important players either absent or below full fitness the Viola are unlikely to be firing on all cylinders. Consider going for under 2.5 goals at 2.0.


Juventus 1.2, the draw 6.5, Lecce 13.0


There are no great hurdles left on Juventus’s path to the title, so the challenge instead will be to clear the remaining three straightforward ones with the minimum of fuss. Lecce’s post-Christmas run of form has come to an abrupt end with defeats to Napoli then Parma, and though they retain the weapons to hurt Juventus in Luis Muriel and David Di Michele, the home side ought to dominate possession to such an extent as to leave them little opportunity to do so. Antonio Conte’ side have won eight in a row, conceding just one goal along the way. A bet on them to win again while keeping a clean sheet offers respectable returns at 1.95.


Lazio 1.55, the draw 3.85, Siena 6.5


At last it seems Lazio’s season has progressed from the decline to the ridiculous. The team’s Champions League hopes have been fading for some time – they have won just two of their last nine games, victims in significant part of injuries to key performers – but against Udinese on Sunday they chose to engage in a little self-sabotage, just for good measure.


Udinese’s second goal ought not to have stood – the ball curled into an empty net by Roberto Pereyra after Lazio’s players mistook a whistle from the crowd for that of the referee – but in truth it mattered little given that they were already leading deep into injury time. What will hurt Lazio much more is losing André Dias and Federico Marchetti for the rest of the season over their actions in the melee that ensued. As good as their home form has been, it will be a heavily weakened side that faces Siena. The guests are a tempting prospect at 4.6 in the draw-no-bet market.