With less than a week until Christmas and the big guns of the Bundesliga already stowed away with gluvine in front of the fire, our attention turns to the equally big guns of Italy and specifically Serie A.
It’s important to remember the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wesley Sneijder and Alessandro Del Piero at this time of year, with Italy also celebrating being the only European nation with three teams left in the Champions League.
Let us give thanks to the likes of Inter, AC Milan and Juventus, and the vast pots of money that they can help punters joining bwin.com make. As ever, here are the usual mix of goal predictions, goalscorer bets, correct score bets and just plain unusual tips on offer in Italy this midweek.
Tuesday December 20th
Siena v Fiorentina (5.00pm)
Home win: 29/20 Draw: 21/10 Away win: 39/20
Betting tip: Goals have proved hard to come by for both of these sides in recent months. Hosts Siena have failed to score in four straight Serie A matches in a miserable run of form, suggesting Fiorentina should be favourites for the game. However, the Viola have scored just once in their last seven games in Serie A games and have gone three matches without a goal themselves in the league.
With neither side able to find the net, a 0-0 final scoreline may make for painful viewing, but odds of 25/4 on this outcome could provide a welcome Christmas bonus for anyone using the free £25 bet on it, with easy winnings of £181.25.
Cagliari v AC Milan (7.45pm)
Home win: 6/1 Draw: 57/20 Away win: 1/2
Betting tip: AC Milan have enjoyed a good run in front of goal in recent weeks, thanks in part to the goals of Ibrahimovic. But while the Big Swede may not offer great odds at 6/5 to score at any time, you can get better odds of 5/2 on AC Milan scoring exactly two goals. After all, the Rossoneri have done exactly that in five of their last six competitive games in all competitions and come into this game having scored exactly two goals in their last four games.
Wednesday December 21st
Udinese v Juventus (5.00pm)
Home win: 19/20 Draw: 12/5 Away win: 14/5
Betting tip: Juve’s trip to Udinese is without doubt the stand-out game of the midweek Serie A fixture list, with both teams competing at the top end of the table. Udinese enjoying home advantage makes this a difficult one to call, with both sides offering potentially interesting bets going into the game.
For the Little Zebras, one bet to watch could be for the game to be level at half-time with Udinese leading at full-time. The host’s last three wins, prior to their recent draw with Lazio, have come after going in level at half-time and at odds of 11/2 it certainly is one to watch.
Juventus fans, meanwhile, may want to back midfield wide-man Simone Pepe to grab a goal. The dangerous Italian has scored four in Juve’s last six Serie A games and is available at odds of 3/1 to score at any time or at 11/1 to score the first goal.
Atalanta v Cesena (7.45pm)
Home win: 9/10 Draw: 11/5 Away win: 3/2
Betting tip: Atalanta will be confident of picking up three points against a struggling Cesena side. The visitors have won just three games all season and come into this game having lost two of their last three.
Atalanta have steadily climbed up the Serie A table, despite an early-season points deduction, with much of that early success built on the goals of Argentinean goalscorer German Denis.
Since moving from Napoli, Denis has been in a rich vein of form for Atalanta with seven goals scored in his last eight games and he will undoubtedly fancy his chances against a Cesena side who have conceded 16 goals in 15 games this season.
While odds of 4/1 on Denis scoring first could be one to watch, odds of 11/2 on Denis scoring two or more could also be worth a punt.
Bologna v AS Roma (7.45pm)
Home win: 12/5 Draw: 11/5 Away win: 23/20
Betting tip: Roma’s form has picked up in the last couple of matches but despite that, they remain an erratic force under Spanish boss Luis Enrique. An away trip to Bologna offers few guarantees for either side, but one tip to follow could involve the number of goals scored.
Spread across Roma’s last seven games there have been an average of three goals a game on each occasion and you can get odds of 16/5 on exactly three goals being scored in this match. That way, whether it’s a 3-0 defeat, or a 2-1 win for either side you’ve covered yourself and made a tidy sum too.
Parma v Catania (7.45pm)
Home win: 21/20 Draw: 43/20 Away win: 11/4
Betting tip: Parma come into this game with a solid run of form at home in Serie A this season. Recent weeks have seen the hosts pick up valuable points with wins against Udinese and Cesena, as well as a 3-3 draw with Lecce.
That final result came with Parma scoring two goals in the second half to salvage a draw and marked the second time in three games that the team had scored twice in the second half.
Last time these teams met in January, it was Parma who came out as winners with two goals in the second half – all of which makes odds of Parma scoring two in the second half of this game at 5/1 too good to resist.
Inter Milan v Lecce (7.45pm)
Home win: 3/10 Draw: 15/4 Away win: 10/1
Betting tip: Inter Milan look a shadow of the side that lifted the Champions League under Jose Mourinho just 19 months ago. Though recent weeks have seen the Serie A greats pick up some important points to move up the table, one major concern remains – a lack of goals.
The once-fluid attack of Inter seems to have dried up, with the former champions scoring a single goal in six of their last seven games and four of their last five wins coming by a 1-0 scoreline. This makes odds of 6/1 on Inter winning 1-0 over Lecce a very tempting proposition indeed.
Lazio v Chievo (7.45pm)
Home win: 1/2 Draw: 11/4 Away win: 25/4
Betting tip: Lazio go into this game as firm favourites, knowing that had it not been for a late showing from Udinese, they would be entertaining Chievo on the back of three successive Serie A wins.
That said, the Aquile remain a formidable attacking force, with Miroslav Klose bagging eight goals in his first 13 appearances since joining the club last summer.
The Rome club should be confident coming into this game, with Chievo having won just once in their last four league fixtures. And with the last three games involving Lazio in Serie A containing 12 goals, all signs point to a home win with goals aplenty. Backing the hosts to win with over 3.5 or more goals scored in the match looks a solid play at odds of 15/4.
Novara v Palermo (7.45pm)
Home win:7/5 Draw: 43/20 Away win: 39/20
Betting tip: Little separates these two sides in terms of recent form, but betting on exactly one goal to be scored before half-time at odds of 8/5 could prove a wise move.
That’s because visitors Palermo come into this game having seen exactly one goal scored before half-time in nine of their last 11 Serie A games.
Whether they have scored the goal or conceded it, the statistic makes for interesting reading and is all the more pertinent when you factor in the statistic that three of Novara’s last five league matches have met the same criteria.
With this in mind, you may even be tempted to back a 1-0 half-time score for one of these two with Novara rated at 16/5 and Palermo at 4/1 to achieve this result.
Napoli v Genoa (7.45pm)
Home win:11/20 Draw: 27/10 Away win: 27/5
Betting tip: Napoli’s league form has been patchy at best in recent weeks. Over-stretched due to Champions League duties and with star striker Edinson Cavani under pressure for goals, the Serie A title looks beyond them at this stage.
The visit of Genoa could provide a turning point and though the Naples club are still favourites going into this game, players like Marek Hamsik will be expected to deliver a concluding gift to the club’s fans in what has been a fantastic 2011 for the club.
Hamsik could be the perfect man to deliver you a gift too, with the Slovakian no doubt eagerly awaiting the visit of Genoa. Last season, he scored both home and away for Napoli in crucial 1-0 wins and the same again here would be the perfect way to break off for Christmas. It could also provide you with a great festive win, with Hamsik available at odds of 8/1 to score the first goal of the game.
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