Palermo 2.5, the draw 3.1, Catania 2.95
A cliché it may be, but recent editions of this fixture really do suggest that it is one of those derbies for which the form book should be disregarded. Only twice since Catania were promoted back to Serie A in 2006 have they entered a Derby di Sicilia positioned higher in the table than Palermo, and yet they have won six of the 12 league meetings in that time, drawing a further two.
Following a 2011-12 campaign in which they recorded their best-ever top-flight points tally under Vincenzo Montella, Catania have established themselves for now as the superior footballing side – but it remains to be seen if that will carry over to head-to-head encounters. But given their already superior record in these fixtures, I’d still consider a small punt on the away win at 2.95.
Atalanta 1.85, the draw 3.35, Genoa 4.5
The Genoa owner Enrico Preziosi was strident in his support of the manager Luigi Del Neri this week, declaring that: “he will be here as long as I am”. With fans as angry over Preziosi’s failed transfer policies as they are with Del Neri for losing all of his first five games in charge of the team, it is tempting to whether both men could be run out of town together. Atalanta had won four of their previous five games prior to last week’s mauling by Fiorentina, so take them to get back on track at 1.85.
Chievo 2.05, the draw 3.2, Siena 3.8
Having finally peeled themselves off the bottom of the table, the challenge for Siena is to keep on moving in a positive direction. They are in better form than Chievo and would be ahead of them in the table were it not for their points deduction. But Siena have also been poor on their travels, winning just once. Consider the draw at 3.2.
Pescara 5.9, the draw 4.3, Roma 1.53
Zdenek Zeman returns to his old stomping ground to take on the Pescara team which he led to the Serie B title last season. Or at least what’s left of them. The departures of such players as Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile and Marco Verratti have rendered the Delfini almost unrecognisable from the side which he coached. Pescara are already onto their second manager of the post-Zeman era – Cristiano Bergodi was appointed this week following Giovanni Stroppa’s resignation. It is always hard to know exactly what to expect from a new appointment, but what we can say is that as long as Zeman is involved there will usually be goals. A bet on over 3.5 in the game could make sense at 1.85.
Sampdoria 2.25, the draw 3.1, Bologna 3.25
Are Samp ready to rediscover their early season form, or were they just the best of a bad pair in the Derby della Lanterna? Bologna themselves had lost five of six prior to Sunday’s win over Palermo. The Felsinei have scored just four goals away from home this season, while Samp – who are once again without Eder, Maxi Lopez and Nicola Pozzi up front – have managed just seven on their own turf. Go with under 1.5 goals in the game at 2.9.
Torino 3.0, the draw 3.1, Fiorentina 2.4
Fiorentina are hopeful of getting Stevan Jovetic back this weekend, though they’ve hardly struggled in his absence. The Montenegrin remains the team’s leading scorer, but since he went down with a calf injury two weeks ago the Viola have put three goals past Milan and four past Atalanta. Torino boast one of the more resolute defences in the division, but such has been Fiorentina’s scoring form of late, that I would be tempted by over 2.5 goals at a price of 2.1.
Milan 3.2, the draw 3.2, Juventus 2.3
Perhaps Silvio Berlusconi’s pep talks are more inspiring than we gave them credit for. Since the Milan owner dropped in on a team training session, the Rossoneri have recorded a creditable draw away to Napoli, then secured their passage to the Champions League knock-out stage with a win in Anderlecht. That is something Juventus, despite a 3-0 rout of Chelsea this week, are still yet to do.
But if the Serie A champions have lost a little bit of their aura following defeat to Inter and a draw with Lazio, it would be dangerous to assume they are suddenly back down on everyone else’s level. Milan have lost four games at home already this season in Serie A, and despite some concerns over a possible thigh injury to Giorgio Chiellini, I would take Juve for the away win at 2.3.
Cagliari 2.85, the draw 3.2, Napoli 2.55
An already tricky fixture, against a Cagliari side who have lost just once in their last seven games, became a lot more complicated for Napoli when Edinson Cavani picked up his third yellow card of the season – and with it a suspension – during the team’s draw with Milan. Given his absence I certainly wouldn’t be expecting a repeat of the last time these teams met, when they combined to score nine goals. One man worth keeping an eye on, though, is Marco Sau following his brace against Inter. Back him to score at some point in the game at 3.0.
Parma 2.95, the draw 3.2, Inter 2.45
It’s been a frustrating fortnight for Inter, who followed up victory over Juventus by losing to Atalanta, then drawing with Cagliari. Andrea Stramaccioni’s decision to field a young and heavily rotated side for Thursday’s Europa League game against Rubin Kazan spoke to his desire to focus energies on winning this game. Still, that won’t be easy against a Parma team who are unbeaten in six home games so far this year. With Inter having scored at least two goals in all of their last six Serie A games, my bet would be on over 2.5 goals at 1.8.
Lazio 1.9, the draw 3.25, Udinese 4.5
Udinese became the first Italian team to drop out of European competition on Thursday, losing to Anzhi Makhachkala on the same day that Lazio drew with Tottenham to reach the knock-out stage. The focus in Rome today is rightly on the violent incidents that surrounded that match more than the football itself, but Lazio did play well in that game and were denied victory only by some superb goalkeeping from Hugo Lloris. They are fairly priced at 1.9 to win this game.