Serie A Betting: Sunday Fixtures Round-up

Milan 1.28, the draw 5.5, Novara 9.5

That growl you can hear might just be emanating from the gut of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as he experiences a return of the infamous “stomach ache” cited as his reason for leaving Inter in 2009. The Swede is, in his own words, “not used to not winning”, and the knowledge that he will miss out on first place for the first time since 2003 has cut deep. He was quick to question the club’s ambition going forward.

For now, though, Ibra has targets of his own to pursue – including both Serie A’s capocannoniere (top scorer) title and Milan’s all-time single-season record for goals scored. He is three shy of the latter, held by Gunnar Nordahl. Even at short odds, back him to score in this fixture.

Fiorentina 2.0, the draw 3.1, Cagliari 4.0

Safety was at last secured by Fiorentina with a win at Lecce last week, but that does not mean the team should expect a warm reception as they return home for their final game of the season. The club’s supporters have grown thoroughly disillusioned with this group of players – viewed as aloof and arrogant – and are certain to give voice to such feelings throughout this final game.

The side fielded on Sunday, however, may include a number of players who have had no part in the campaign to date – the interim coach Vincenzo Guerini having to call up six youth team players to train with the seniors this week on account of injuries and suspensions. Between the hosts’ issues and Cagliari’s woeful away form, the draw at 3.1 seems a distinct possibility.

Juventus 1.27, the draw 5.0, Atalanta 12.0

The Scudetto is secured, but Juventus’s players might never forgive themselves should they blow this shot at becoming the first Italian team to go unbeaten in a 38-game season. Antonio Conte is expected to field his strongest side on Sunday, a fact which likely means no place for Alessandro Del Piero in the starting XI – even though this is his last chance at a home appearance for the club.

Arturo Vidal – a key figure in the midfield this season – will also be absent through suspension, but even so Juventus should be confident. Atalanta have failed to score in their last two away games while Juve have kept a club record 21 clean sheets this season. The odds on them getting one more look very appealing at 2.25.

Cesena 4.35, the draw 3.6, Roma 1.75

Luis Enrique confirmed on Thursday that this will be his final match in charge of Roma, stating that he had failed to implement his ideas at the club in the way he had hoped to do. After five games without a win, he should be grateful at least that his final fixture should be against the worst team in the division.

Francesco Totti will certainly be relishing the prospect as he seeks the goal that would move him level with Giuseppe Meazza and José Altafini in the league’s all-time scoring charts. With four strikes in five games he is bang in form, so take him to get his name on the scoresheet again.

Parma 1.9, the draw 3.2, Bologna 4.25

Both these teams have relished playing the spoiler in recent weeks, Parma beating Inter to dent their Champions League hopes, while Bologna did likewise to Napoli before drawing with the then title-chasing Milan. Indeed, Parma have now won six in a row, while Bologna have won four and drawn two over the same period. The game itself will be tough to call, but back Sebastian Giovinco to score – as he has in five of his team’s last six games.

Chievo 2.35, the draw 3.3, Lecce 2.9

A last chance for Lecce, who will move out of the relegation zone if they win and Genoa lose to Palermo. Posters have appeared around town in the last few days begging for a miracle from “Saint Fabrizio Miccoli” – the Palermo striker, and lifelong Lecce fan upon whom holy status has apparently been bestowed. Even if he is able to do them a favour, though, there is no guarantee that the Salentini can help themselves. After a run of just one defeat in 10 games, they have now lost three of the last four.

Chievo are without a win in six, and Lecce will have both Juan Cuadrado and Luis Muriel back from suspension, but the visitors must break down a defence that has conceded just 15 goals in 18 home games. With Chievo only scoring the same number at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi this season, the most sensible bet is probably one on under 2.5 goals at 2.05.

Genoa 2.05, the draw 2.45, Palermo 5.4

A miracle from Miccoli is not totally unthinkable – he scored a hat-trick in Palermo’s 4-4 draw with Chievo last week – but it’s the rest of his team that Lecce will be worried about: Palermo have won just once away from home all season. Then again, Genoa have won only twice since the beginning of February, and will be without their leading scorer Rodrigo Palacio due to suspension. At 5.4 to win, Palermo might just represent value.

Lazio 2.6, the draw 3.3, Inter 2.6

Either team could yet snatch Italy’s last Champions League berth, but each is relying on results elsewhere. Lazio would take third should they win and Udinese lose away to Catania; Inter also require victory coupled with an Udinese defeat, but would also need Napoli to lose or draw their home game against Siena.

The returns of Senad Lulic and Miroslav Klose against Atalanta provided Lazio with a timely boost – helping them to secure a first win in six matches. Inter, meanwhile, have exceeded all expectations under Andrea Stramaccioni, the former youth team coach who was originally viewed as an interim appointment, but who is now expected to sign a three-year contract to stay on in the post.

It all adds up to another extremely tough game to call, but consider taking Inter to score first at 1.85. Of the 46 goals Lazio have conceded this season, 27 have come in the first half, while 33 of Inter’s 52 allowed have come after the break.

Napoli 1.3, the draw 5.0, Siena 9.5

Napoli were in pole position for third place going into last weekend, but defeat to Bologna means they would require three points, an Udinese defeat and Lazio failing to win in order to return to the Champions League next season. My bet would be on both teams to score at 1.95 – Siena have scored in each of their past five away games, including trips to Lazio and Inter.