Udinese host Chievo in the Coppa Italia last 16 on Wednesday as they look to continue their unlikely three-pronged bid for silverware.
Francesco Guidolin’s men are going well in Serie A, sitting two points behind joint leaders AC Milan and Juventus, and are also through to the knock-out stages of the Europa League.
The Little Zebras come into the match on a six-game unbeaten run and are the 29/50 favourites for the win, with the draw at 11/4 and Chievo rated as 97/20 outsiders.
Guidolin has admitted that he will make changes to the side which beat Cesena 4-1 at the weekend, with a possible debut for midfield enforcer Gelson Fernandes.
The Swiss star has joined on loan from St Etienne after his short stint at Leicester City was brought to an end by mutual consent last week.
Punters can expect Udinese to field a similar line-up to those deployed in the Europa League, when they picked up seven points from three home matches.
With Udinese conceding just once prior to the interval at the Friuli in Serie A this term and opening their account in the 30th minute on average, backing Udinese/Udinese in the half-time/full-time market must be worth a look at 27/20.
And with Chievo also likely to give some of their squad players a run-out, we can justifiably take the hosts’ impressive form at Stadio Friuli as a reliable guide here.
Udinese have won eight of their nine matches on home soil in Serie A this term, with the only ‘blemish’ being a respectable 0-0 draw with Juve prior to the winter break.
They are averaging two goals a game in front of their own fans (they are 23/10 to score twice tonight) and have shipped just three goals in those nine matches – the best home defensive record in the division.
With Chievo only managing 13 league goals all season, it seems reasonable to suggest that their attacking threat will be limited, even against a mix-and-match Udinese line-up, and the hosts are at evens to keep a clean sheet.
Guidolin’s men also have the recent head-to-head record in their favour, as they are unbeaten in their last six meetings with the Gialloblu, including a 2-1 home win in December.
While it is entirely possible that Chievo could score again in such a tricky match to predict, they are unlikely to do so until the second half.
Guiseppe Meli‘s men have only registered four first-half goals this term and the average time of their first goal in away matches has been the 70th minute.
Chievo are at 23/10 to score more in the second half than they do in the first, which could well materialise if they are required to chase the game and grab a consolation goal.
But with Udinese conceding just once prior to the interval at the Friuli in Serie A this term and opening their account in the 30th minute on average, backing Udinese/Udinese in the half-time/full-time market must be worth a look at 27/20.
Eight of Udinese’s last 20 league matches have delivered that scenario – suggesting the odds are pretty favourable here – while four have gone draw/Udinese, which is priced at 333/100.
Considering that both Rennes and Celtic scored on their respective visits to Udine in the Europa League, I would argue that Chievo could well follow suit, meaning a 2-1 win for Udinese is the best value scoreline bet at 29/4.
But I’ll be playing it a bit safer by placing my money on Udinese/Udinese as the hosts’ fringe players will be hungry to show Guidolin that they should figure in his plans for the bigger tests that lie ahead.
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