Verona 2.15, the draw 3.45, Udinese 3.40
If recent performances are anything to go by, then we might be in for an entertaining afternoon at the Bentegodi. Verona and Udinese scored eight goals between them in their matches against Lazio and Livorno last weekend. The hosts have found the net 12 times in their last four games.
In that context, it is no surprise to see the odds on the overs looking rather short. The better bet for me is simply the home win (2.15). Verona have not yet given up on their Europa League hopes, whereas Udinese have not won an away game in more than three months.
Inter 1.72, the draw 3.80, Lazio 4.85
San Siro bids farewell to Javier Zanetti this Saturday, although some of the team’s most passionate fans will not be there to see him go. The Curva Nord will be closed for this game as a punishment for abusive chanting.
The Argentinian would love to start his final home game, but for manager Walter Mazzarri the priority must simply be to select a winning team; lose here, and Inter’s Europa League place would be at risk. The Nerazzurri’s form has not been good lately, with no victories in their last four home games. The draw is tempting at 3.45.
Atalanta 5.75, the draw 3.90, Milan 1.62
Silvio Berlusconi once again declined to throw his support behind Clarence Seedorf this week, saying only that the manager’s position would be decided at the end of this campaign. The Dutchman knows his hold on his job is precarious, but all he can do is keep getting results. His team have won six of their last seven games.
The most recent, a 1-0 derby win over Inter, was achieved with the 4-3-1-2 formation of which Berlusconi is especially fond. Expect a repeat of those tactics on Sunday, and another Rossoneri success (1.62).
Bologna 2.00, the draw 3.50, Catania 3.85
For both Bologna and Catania, this looks like the last-chance saloon. Anything less than a victory will see the visitors relegated. Bologna, one space higher in 18th, have a little more wriggle room, but they too could go down this weekend if they lose or draw while Chievo and Sassuolo win.
The bad news for the home team is that they have not beaten anyone since the middle of March, going seven games without a victory. Catania by contrast, have won two of their last three fixtures, including a stunning 4-1 rout of second-placed Roma last weekend. But that match was played was in Sicily. They have not won an away game all season, and have not even scored in seven of their last eight. Try the unders at 1.85.
Cagliari 3.75, the draw 3.30, Chievo 2.10
Chievo seemed to be sitting pretty when they beat Livorno 4-2 last month. But three defeats since then (the first to a direct rival, Sassuolo) have dragged them back into the melee. With two games to go, they find themselves one point and one place above the drop zone.
The good news for them is that Cagliari, already safe from relegation, do not have much to play for. But the Sardinians still beat a motivated Parma side two weeks ago. My hunch is that this one could finish up in a draw (3.30), even though that is less than the visitors need.
Livorno 4.50, the draw 3.80, Fiorentina 1.80
Although they have not yet formally been relegated, it would take a minor miracle for Livorno to escape at this stage. Bottom of the table and effectively six points from safety (since they would lose a head-to-head tie-breaker with Chievo), they need to win both of their remaining games and pray.
Chances are, they will not even get through this first one, against a Fiorentina team that still needs to wrap up fourth place. The Viola have had a frustrating week, losing first the Coppa Italia final and then to Sassuolo in the league, but they did also welcome back Giuseppe Rossi in that latter fixture. At 3.33, I would back them to win even with a one-goal handicap here.
Sampdoria 3.45, the draw 3.50, Napoli 2.10
With the Coppa Italia won and a Champions League berth secure, Rafael Benítez can consider his first season in Naples to have been a moderate success. His team has nothing left to achieve, so these final two games can be used primarily for assessing his squad. The same is true for Sampdoria, who sit 12th in the table and long ago secured their top-flight status.
Normally I might predict goals in this scenario, but Napoli’s recent away games have actually been quite low-scoring. Only one of the last seven has featured more than two goals. The unders are a good price at 2.16.
Sassuolo 1.52, the draw 4.20, Genoa 6.75
The great escape is almost complete for Sassuolo, whose 10 points from five games have propelled them out of the relegation zone. One more victory could be enough to guarantee safety, and this is most certainly a winnable fixture. Genoa have collected just two points from their last six matches, and travel to the Mapei Stadium without the injured Matuzalém, Paolo De Ceglie and Stefano Sturaro.
Consider backing Domenico Berardi to get his name on the scoresheet at 2.12. The 19-year-old has blown hot-and-cold this year but still found his way to 16 goals, four of which have arrived in the last two games.
Torino 2.1, the draw 3.50, Parma 3.50
As things stand, sixth-place Torino occupy Italy’s final Europa League spot. Parma, though, are only a single point further back. A victory for either team could prove decisive, but a draw would be bad news for both sides. Milan, Verona and Lazio all lying within striking distance behind them.
Torino are the form side in this match-up, having dropped just two points in their last six games. But they have conceded 14 goals in their last four meetings with Parma, and have not beaten the Ducali since 2002. That mutually disappointing draw does tempt me, at odds of 3.50.
Roma 2.40, the draw 3.40, Juventus 3.05
The title race is over, but Roma still have plenty left to prove. With American owner James Pallotta flying into town for this fixture, and early season ticket sales for next year going extremely well, the Giallorossi will want to take this opportunity to send a message about their intentions to carry on challenging in the future.
The returns of Mattia Destro and Mehdi Benatia will do them no harm in that regard. Nor will the support of a sold-out Stadio Olimpico. Roma already beat Juventus at home in the Coppa Italia, and at 2.35 I am backing them to do so again.