Lazio 2.4, the draw 3.24, Milan 2.9
Vladimir Petkovic is not a man short on confidence. Asked by Gazzetta dello Sport if his team should be considered favourites over Milan on account of playing at home, the Lazio manager shot back: “My team are always favourites”. Pressed to clarify what his team had over their opponents, he replied: “Points”.
Nor could he be persuaded to name any players he would like to take away from his opponents, joking: “They take them away all on their own”. Just as Alexandre Pato returns from his latest injury, now Robinho has been ruled out with a thigh complaint. Christian Abbiati is also expected to miss this game with a respiratory infection. Given how important the goalkeeper has been to his team of late, I’d take the home win at 2.4.
Cagliari 2.05, the draw 3.15, Bologna 3.75
At last, Cagliari have a home, the league having confirmed that the team’s Is Arenas stadium is indeed fit for use after a small number of fans were allowed in to watch the game against Pescara at the end of last month. It did not prove a happy hunting ground for them on that occasion, but the arrival since then of the two-headed managerial team of Ivo Pulga and Diego Lopez appeared to have lifted the team in a 1-0 win at Torino.
Nevertheless, odds of 2.05 on the home win are too short for a team who have scored just four goals this season. Try Bologna in the double chance at 1.72.
Atalanta 2.0, the draw 3.3, Siena 3.7
Celebrating their 105th birthday this week, Atalanta have slashed their ticket prices for this game – with the cheap seats behind the goal available to members for €1 and even the fancy ones on the sidelines going for as little as €5. Vocal support is hoped for as the team seek to end a run of three consecutive defeats in which they have conceded nine goals. Given their recent defensive struggles, a punt on more than 2.5 goals in the game at 2.2 is worth considering.
Chievo 3.05, the draw 3.1, Fiorentina 2.4
To rephrase Ben Franklin: nothing is certain in this world except death, taxes and Alberto Aquiliani being injured. The midfielder has made just a single substitute’s appearance for Fiorentina since joining them in the summer, and it appears that the international break has not provided sufficient time for him to regain full fitness following an Achilles problem.
David Pizarro does return, however, after missing his team’s game against Bologna, and Fiorentina’s impressive performances so far this season would suggest they are deserving favourites. Yet Chievo looked a different team in their first game under new manager Eugenio Corini, handing Sampdoria their second defeat of the season. Rather than betting on the result, I might wait to see what the odds are on Stevan Jovetic scoring against a defence that has leaked 14 goals in seven games.
Inter 1.57, the draw 3.8, Catania 5.75
Catania have recorded some memorable victories over Inter in the recent past, winning two of their last three meetings in Sicily. But they have never overcome them in Milan, losing 15 times and drawing just twice. Poor travellers generally, Catania have shipped eight goals in three away games, but the good news for them is that Inter’s main striker, Diego Milito, has a miserable scoring record in the month of October – just one of his 67 goals for the club has come in this month.
An anomaly that may be, but sometimes these taboos can play psychological tricks on a player. If the odds on a Milito goal are short enough, consider betting against it.
Palermo 2.1, the draw 3.25, Torino 3.5
Since Urbano Cairo completed his takeover of Torino in 2005, the club have seemed to conduct a significant part of their transfer business directly with Palermo. In the last 18 months Matteo Darmian, Kamil Glik and Francesco Benussi have made the switch from Sicily to Turin, though the latter has since returned after a six-month loan.
Could such familiarity lend an advantage to the visitors? Perhaps, and despite signs of improvement for Palermo under Gian Piero Gasperini, I would certainly be tempted to back Torino at 3.5 against a team who have won just once in their last 15 Serie A games.
Parma 2.2, the draw 3.15, Sampdoria 3.35
Sampdoria’s fast start has faded away into a run of four games without a victory, but Parma are winless in five. Each team comes into this game short-handed – Parma missing defenders Alessandro Lucarelli, Yohan Benalouane and Fabiano Santacroce while Samp are without Andrea Poli in midfield, Nicola Pozzi up front and their captain Daniele Gastaldello at the back. Rather than betting on the result, wait to see what price is offered on a red card in the game. Parma sit bottom of the Serie A Fair Play table, while Samp are joint-16th.
Udinese 1.52, the draw 3.8, Pescara 6.75
Despite a stunning win at Anfield in the Europa League, this has been a difficult start to the season for Udinese, whose only domestic win came against a Milan team which finished the game with nine men. Pescara, despite their own limitations, sit a point above their hosts in the Serie A table. That situation will not last indefinitely, as Udinese are the better team, but with key creative influences Dusan Basta and Luis Muriel both still out, I would contemplate Pescara in the double chance market at 2.45.
Genoa 3.25, the draw 3.4, Roma 2.15
Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Osvaldo returned to Roma training on Wednesday, seeing their manager Zdenek Zeman for the first time since they were dropped from the team’s win over Atalanta and subsequently accused of insufficient application. There was no grand gesture of reconciliation here, though the midfielder did shake his manager’s hand.
It remains to be seen if both will be restored to the starting line-up, though with Francesco Totti’s participation in doubt Osvaldo certainly seems likely to play. Either way, bet on Roma to score in both halves against a questionable Genoa defence. So far this season their 11 goals (excluding the three awarded in the nominal 3-0 win over Cagliari) have been almost perfectly evenly split – with six in the first-half of games and five in the second.