Chievo 2.5, the draw 3.1, Sampdoria 2.9
One of two clubs to change their manager on Tuesday, Chievo replaced Domenico Di Carlo with Eugenio Corini in the wake of a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Palermo. Fans could be excused for a lukewarm response to the appointment. Although popular as a player for Chievo – a club he represented more than 130 times – his managerial highlight to date is taking Frosinone to eighth in Lega Pro’s Prima Divisione – the third tier of Italian football.
Still, of greater immediate concern will be the injuries which continue to hamper this team – most notably up front where they are likely to be without both Alberto Paloschi and their captain Sergio Pellissier. Given that Samp will have their own top scorer, Maxi López, back from suspension, as well as Enzo Maresca, I like their chances at 2.9.
Genoa 2.2, the draw 3.3, Palermo 3.2
Turns out Fabrizio Miccoli can still give you more than 15-20 minutes after all. The Palermo owner Maurizio Zamparini had suggested last month that at 33 years old the forward would have to learn to content himself with a role as a late sub. In each of the next two games, Miccoli came off the bench to little effect. Last Sunday against Chievo he was restored to the starting XI, and promptly scored a hat-trick which included an absurd 40-yard volley.
Miccoli should start again here, and Palermo’s manager Gian Piero Gasperini would love a repeat performance against his own former team. Whether or not that happens, a punt on over 2.5 goals makes sense at 1.90 in a game between teams with significant defensive deficiencies.
Roma 1.48, the draw 4.2, Atalanta 6.2
The rollercoasters at Zemanlandia are proving less enjoyable than Roma fans remembered them to be. So far they seem to feature a lot more downs than ups. A heavy defeat to Juventus – as the Giallorossi suffered last week – can happen to anyone, but more alarming is the fact that Roma have not yet won a game at home.
Michael Bradley’s return from injury provides a timely boost and he could provide some much needed solidity in the middle of the park if deemed ready to start. But Atalanta, despite being routed by Torino last week, will be not necessarily be pushovers; they sit below Roma in the league only by virtue of a points deduction. At 2.55 in the double chance market, they are worth backing.
Catania 2.2, the draw 3.15, Parma 3.3
For Catania, read Dr Jekyll. This weekend they are playing at the Stadio Massimino, and therefore can therefore be expected to show us their best side. Catania are unbeaten so far this season at home, with seven points from three games; on their travels they have collected just a single draw.
The Sicilians, indeed, have conceded just three goals at home compared to eight elsewhere. With Parma still struggling to find the right balance up front following the departures of Sebastian Giovinco and Sergio Floccari, odds of 2.8 on the home clean sheet look generous.
Fiorentina 1.62, the draw 3.65, Bologna 5.5
Alberto Gilardino scored just twice in the league for Fiorentina last season before departing for Genoa in the January transfer window. One of those two goals was against his present employers Bologna. Can he return the favour now as he returns to the Stadio Artemio Franchi? If the odds are right it could be a tempting betting proposition, Gilardino having scored five times in as many games already this season.
Pescara 4.0, the draw 3.3, Lazio 1.95
‘The hunt is on,’ reads the poster on display around Pescara ahead of their match against Lazio this weekend. What might in another context appear light-hearted carries rather more ominous undertones, given the deep-rooted ill-feeling between these two clubs’ fans, dating back more than 30 years. A heavy police presence will be in place to guard against violence.
On the pitch, though, it will be up to Lazio to dictate play against an opponent who – despite winning their last two games – remain technically inferior. Vladimir Petkovic’s team are worth backing at 1.95.
Siena 6.5, the draw 3.9, Juventus 1.52
Juventus received something of a Champions League lesson on Tuesday, held at home and outplayed for large stretches by Shakhtar Donetsk. With certain players appearing worn down by a run of five games in 17 days, this might be a moment to indulge in a little squad rotation, especially with players such as Andrea Pirlo unlikely to spared many minutes during the forthcoming international break.
That could just provide an opportunity for Siena - who have already beaten Inter this season - to snatch a point at home, but my bet would be on under 2.5 goals in the match at 1.9, with the hosts unlikely to take too many chances going forwards.
Torino 1.9, the draw 3.35, Cagliari 4.1
Are two heads really better than one? It is a question Cagliari will soon be able to answer after their owner Massimo Cellino handed over his team to the combined management team of Diego Lopez and Ivo Pulga – both former players at the club. Cellino had wanted Lopez as manager, but the latter has not yet acquired the relevant coaching badges.
Either way, the pair certainly face a tall order, Cagliari having collected just two points in their first five games of the season under Massimo Ficcadenti, and Torino will not be an easy place to start. The Granata have lost just once this season and conceded only four goals in six games. A home clean sheet looks a sensible bet at 2.25.
Napoli 1.52, the draw 3.85, Udinese 6.5
You wouldn’t have found many people many willing to wager that Udinese would win away to Liverpool on Thursday, while Napoli got routed by PSV. But the fact that it worked out that way should not cause you to ditch all preconceptions. Udinese made no secret of their excitement at the prospect of a trip to Anfield and desire to do well there. Napoli, meanwhile, continue to treat the league as their top priority.
They are dominant at home, and have been winning at half-time and full-time in five of their past six games at Stadio San Paolo. Take them to do so again at 2.3.