Parma 3.1, the draw 3.3, Milan 2.25
Milan secured an overdue win on Wednesday, but it would be wrong to assume that all is now rosy in the Rossonero garden. The victory came against a Cagliari team who are yet to win a game this season and played the last quarter of the game on 10 men. While it was certainly a positive development to see Stephan El Shaarawy scoring against someone other than Udinese, the lack of creativity in midfield is alarming.
Parma, too, have had a slow start, though they have been more impressive at home, beating Chievo and drawing with a good Fiorentina team. But the most noteworthy statistic of their season so far is a league-leading 21 yellow cards (and one red) in four games. With Milan themselves sitting third in the Serie A card table, a punt on someone being sent off in this game could make sense.
Udinese 1.9 the draw 3.55 Genoa 3.7
Just as Milan’s win over Cagliari will not be a cure-all for that club’s problems, so Udinese continue to struggle despite having beaten the Rossoneri last weekend. A goalless draw in midweek away to Torino is no disgrace, but the scoreline does not fully reflect a fixture in which the hosts hit the woodwork on three separate occasions.
Genoa are a flawed team themselves, porous at the back yet – with Marco Borriello and Ciro Immobile both in decent form – potent up front, but may be facing Udinese at the right time. The Friuliani have a potentially distracting trip to Liverpool coming up on Thursday. At 3.7, the away win is a big enough price to consider.
Atalanta 2.2, the draw 3.25, Torino 3.2
It’s been a strange few days for the Atalanta manager Stefano Colantuono, with the fixture list pitting him against three of his former clubs in the space of a single week. So far his team have beaten Palermo and lost to Catania, and next up is Torino, with whom he parted ways after failing to lead them up to the top-flight in 2009-10.
A draw would complete the set, and is far from unthinkable between two evenly matched teams. In fact, with both teams scoring and conceding at a rate of less than one goal per game, odds of 8.75 on the 0-0 draw appeal.
Bologna 2.45, the draw 3.2, Catania 2.8
Catania have failed to win any of their last nine away games in Serie A, yet this could be a good opportunity to end that run. The Sicilians have started the season brightly, whereas Bologna’s only victory came as the consequence of an unlikely Roma collapse. With Francesco Lodi and Alejandro Gómez in fine form, I would be tempted by the away win at 2.85.
Cagliari 1.72, the draw 3.5, Pescara 4.8
The positive news for Cagliari is that this fixture should at least go ahead. Last Sunday’s scheduled game against Roma was abandoned – and subsequently awarded as a 3-0 win to the would-be visitors – after the Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino attempted to defy an order that it should be played behind closed doors. This week the authorities have at last signed off the team’s new Is Arenas stadium to host a reduced crowd of 5,000.
If that will come as a considerable relief then so might the identity of this Sunday’s opponents. Cagliari have collected just two points so far this season and might appreciate the prospect of a home game against a newly-promoted opponent who were stripped of their manager and most talented players over the summer. But the odds on the home win nevertheless look far too short for a team that is yet to win a league game under Massimo Ficcadenti. Take Pescara in the double chance at 2.04.
Lazio 1.6, the draw 3.7, Siena 5.5
Lazio's perfect start to the season has given way to two defeats in four days but it is hardly time to sound the alarm just yet. They were deeply unfortunate to lose at home to Sampdoria last Sunday, and will not be the last to suffer a rout in Napoli. Siena have been ruthless in dispatching first Inter and then Bologna to wipe out their points deduction but have relied heavily on some superb goalkeeping from Gianluca Pegolo along the way. With Lazio looking to consolidate after Wednesday and Siena very conscious of their limitations, this will be a measured affair, so under 2.5 goals looks a sound option at 1.75.
Palermo 2.25, the draw 3.3, Chievo 3.05
Gian Piero Gasperini’s job is presumably already in jeopardy. The new Palermo manager has lost both of his first two games in charge of the club. His predecessor, Giuseppe Sannino, was sacked after two defeats and a draw. After losing even to newly-promoted Pescara on Wednesday, Gasperini desperately needs a positive result to kick-start his team’s season. A home game against Chievo, who have lost their last four games, may represent the best chance he has in a little while. With Fabrizio Miccoli potentially returning to the starting XI, the home win is fairly priced at 2.25.
Sampdoria 3.3, the draw 3.25, Napoli 2.15
Two of Serie A’s three remaining unbeaten teams meet in Genoa, with very different goals for the season. Napoli believe they can be title contenders; Samp are aware that their bright start cannot last forever. They were grateful to a Maarten Stekelenburg blunder for their draw against Roma on Wednesday and may be overmatched against a Napoli team who blew away Lazio. But given that the Partenopei are rarely as potent on their travels as at home, the smarter bet might be on over 2.5 goals – priced at 1.95 – between two teams whose games thus far have tended to be high-scoring.
Inter 2.1, the draw 3.25, Fiorentina 3.4
Although Milan finally won their first home game of the season on Wednesday, the curse of San Siro remains alive for Inter, who have failed to win any of their five games there thus far. In truth that is more indicative of their up-and-down play than any problem with playing on a semi-artificial surface, but either way a Fiorentina team who outplayed Juventus on Tuesday is more than capable of extending the streak. Odds of 3.4 on the away win are tempting.