Friday, March 9th
Napoli v Cagliari
Home win: 1/2 Draw: 29/10 Away win: 23/4
Key Stat: Out of Napoli’s last thirteen goals in all competitions, all but two have come from the Edinson Cavani/Ezequiel Lavezzi partnership.
Betting tip: Now that Napoli have won five games in a row, a tiny dilemma faces Walter Mazzarri: will he play either or both of his special talents, or will he opt to throw in Goran Pandev instead? Whatever he decides, Cagliari have held the likes of Juventus and Udinese on the road, and this game is likely to see few goals. At 83/100, bet on under 2.5 goals in total.
Chievo v Inter
Home win: 7/4 Draw: 11/5 Away win: 31/20
Key Stat: Internazionale have gone 11 games without a clean sheet.
Betting tip: At 6/5, bet on a game with three goals or more, as Inter’s uncertain defence will struggle to keep out the likes of Cyril Thereau and, more importantly, Sergio Pellissier, who has already netted three against Inter in as many seasons. There is much talk of either André Villas-Boas or Laurent Blanc replacing Claudio Ranieri if the latter fails to pull off a win. And the Nerazzurri are likely to buckle under the pressure as they have failed to win since they defeated Lazio in late January.
Saturday, March 10th
Palermo v Roma
Home win: 3/2 Draw: 23/10 Away win: 17/10
Key Stat: Only one of their last seven encounters have contained less than three goals.
Betting Tip: History doesn’t determine results, but it certainly helps, especially when a side have conceded three goals in their last three Sicilian excursions, or when they have just lost their second derby of the season amidst much anger and recrimination. Instability seems to be the order of the day with Roma, and not only in terms of morale: Luis Enrique’s side have bounced back from worse situations this season, their wild inconsistency making them good value to add to what will surely be a hefty goal tally. Another game with more than three goals is valued at 7/10, while 7/4 odd says Palermo and Roma will rack up four goals or more.
Sunday, March 11th
AC Milan v Lecce
Home win: 11/50 Draw: 5/1 Away win: 11/1
Key Stat: For the first time in countless months, Milan sit atop the table with a two-point advantage after Juventus failed to break Bologna. Not bad for a side which started the season with only one win in five Serie A games!
Betting tip: Last season, Max Allegri’s Milan hit a ruthless streak once they established their lead over Internazionale at the top of the table, losing only once in the second half of the season. Lecce are unlikely to snatch a result against a side which will have received a proverbial kick up the backside from their manager after a disastrous first half against Arsenal. At 31/50, back Milan to win despite a 0:1 handicap, as that second half at the Emirates oddly proved how mature the Rossoneri are: instead of cracking, they kept their composure and guaranteed their passage to the quarter-finals.
Atalanta v Parma
Home win: Evens Draw: 21/10 Away win: 3/1
Key Stat: Parma have only won twice on the road this season, whilst Atalanta have only conceded one goal in their last five games: that was against Roma in a comfortable 4-1 win.
Betting Tip: Bwin are offering very interesting odds on Atalanta winning by a two-goal margin or more. For those of you who have just joined bwin, this bet could be a fantastic way of investing the free £25 punt you received upon joining. Priced at 27/10, this bet could generate winnings of £92.50.
The Orobici are, to coin a phrase, “good for it”, having mauled Roma at home and held their ground against Udinese on the road.
Catania v Fiorentina
Home win: 11/10 Draw: 43/20 Away win: 13/5
Key Stat: Fiorentina’s two goals at the Ennio Tardini meant that, for the first time since their Novara win, Delio Rossi’s men managed to perform well on the road, moreover without Jojo Jovetic!
Betting Tip: Fiorentina’s good performance against Parma, where they looked like winning until they conceded a late draw, will have doubtless encouraged the visitors to try their luck at the Massimino. At 23/10, they’re worth backing to net twice against a side which will have to make do without the suspended Sergio Almiron.
Cesena v Siena
Home win: 9/5 Draw: 11/5 Away win: 3/2
Key Stat: Cesena haven’t won since January 15th, while Siena have won four games out of six.
Betting Tip: Giuseppe Sannino’s hard work is finally paying off: nobody can now claim that Siena lack any cutting edge, as the Tuscans look to pull away from the relegation zone. At 3/4, they’re good value to win in a 2Way special which will return your stake if the game ends in a draw.
Genoa v Juventus
Home win: 3/1 Draw: 12/5 Away win: 9/10
Key Stat: Juventus have gone behind in four consecutive Serie A games.
Betting Tip: Genoa can be backed to net first at home at 31/20, as Juventus struggle to get out of their rut. The Bianconeri’s recent performances show that they need at least a half to really get into a game. Against Bologna, for example, Antonio Conte’s men only woke up in the second half, a half which also saw the manager sent off along with Leonardo Bonucci.
For a really crazy bet, how about backing Genoa’s physical approach to prevail against the Old Lady over 90 minutes? The Bianconeri are overdue a defeat, as they can’t bail themselves out of every troublesome situation they get themselves into this season. Genoa, for their part, tend to perform well against the big sides at home, having beaten Lazio, Napoli and Roma. They were also good enough to draw against Juventus in Turin, at a time when Conte was struggling as he is now to find his team’s best formation. A price of 3/1 is, in my opinion, worth a small bet.
Lazio v Bologna
Home win: 67/100 Draw: 5/2 Away win: 22/5
Key Stat: Bologna haven’t failed to score on the road since October. A fantastic stat for a title chaser, never mind a relegation struggler!
Betting Tip: Lazio’s unreliable defence shouldn’t hold against a Bologna team which includes Gaston Ramirez, Marco di Vaio and, surprisingly, two defensive central midfielders like Gaby Mudingayi and Diego Perez, capable of stealing the ball in their opponent’s half and feeding it to Ramirez. Di Vaio’s powerful running will likely cause Giuseppe Biava and Andre Dias nightmares, making his team likely to score at least once at 31/50.
Novara v Udinese
Home win: 3/1 Draw: 23/10 Away win: 93/100
Key Stat: Not a stat, but the number 12: the amount of points which separate the side from safety, as well as the total Novara racked up in 20 games under Attilio Tesser, who came back in midweek to replace Emiliano Mondonico.
Betting Tip: Udinese can be trusted to beat a Novara side who are already thinking of next season. The home side have little attacking threat and will likely buckle against Guidolin’s men, who are good value to win despite a 1:0 handicap in the host’s favour, an eventuality quoted at 13/5.
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