Inter boss Gianpiero Gasperini could well be drinking in the last-chance saloon tonight when his side travel west to face Novara.
The pressure is mounting on the former Genoa manager as the Nerazzurri have picked up just one point from their opening two Serie A matches and suffered an embarrassing home defeat to Trabzonspor in the Champions League.
On paper, Inter should be far too strong for Novara, who reached the top flight for the first time in 55 years after seeing off Padova in a two-legged promotion play-off in June.
However, the fact that the visitors are not shorter than 7/10 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market suggests that all is not well at the San Siro.
Punters looking to have a wager on the new boys at 4/1 – or the draw at 5/2 – should be encouraged by the fact that this will be their first home game back in the big time and they will surely be keen to put on a show for their fans.
They are likely to be given vociferous support at the compact Stadio Silvio Piola and will be ready to capitalise on any further frailty in an Inter defence which shipped four goals in their last away game at Palermo.
Further good news for Novara is that they only suffered one home defeat in the whole of last season, while Inter were inconsistent on the road, only managing the fifth-best away record in Serie A and finishing with a negative goal difference in those 19 fixtures.
Interestingly, the Nerazzurri were only ahead at half-time away from the San Siro on three occasions in 2010-11, so betting on a draw at the interval looks to be decent value at 23/20.
Similarly, only three of Inter’s 19 away matches contained more than one goal in the opening 45 minutes, while the same was true of just four of Novara’s 21 home games in Serie B.
Odds of 9/20 on under 1.5 goals in the first half look to be a no-brainer, then, and it could also be worth backing a 0-0 half-time draw at 39/20 as a nervy Inter look to steady the ship.
However, as the match wears on it is logical to expect that the visitors’ class will tell and it is hard to believe that they will fail to score on the night.
Diego Milito scored twice in the defeat to Palermo and can be backed at 6/1 to grab the first goal tonight, while Gianpaolo Pazzini and Diego Forlan are available at 7/2 and 9/2 respectively to break the deadlock.
It might be ugly at times, but the smart money is surely on an Inter success and there isn’t much better value than the 18/5 available on a half-time draw turning into an away victory.
Punters who join bwin.com and use their free £25 bet on this outcome could win a cool £115 if their prediction proves correct.
Alternatively, a 2-1 Inter victory could be worth a flutter at tempting odds of 7/1, as the hosts will probably at least score if they choose to go for the throats of Gasperini’s beleaguered stars.
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