Juventus may have all but secured the title with its win away at Napoli but the performance of week 26 has to go to Lazio. Having won only two of its last thirteen meetings with bitter rivals Roma, the Biancocelesti thrashed Eusebio Di Francesco’s side 3-0 in front of a jubilant home crowd.
That result has made the race for European qualification places – and Champions League spots in particular – very interesting, even if we know that the scudetto is returning to Turin for the eighth successive season.
Elsewhere there were goals galore as Empoli and Parma shared six and Atalanta regained some form to beat Fiorentina 3-1. There was more interesting developments at the bottom of the table too as teams look to pull away from the upcoming relegation battle.
We are now looking forward to match day 27 – which begins with Udinese travelling to the fortress that is the Allianz Stadium to take on Juventus on Friday night. I’m going to once again take a look at the weekend’s fixtures from a betting perspective and have chosen the intriguing clash between Fiorentina and Lazio as my game of the week.
Featured Game – Fiorentina vs Lazio
Lazio showed real intent by winning the Derby della Capitale in such convincing fashion and this week Simone Inzaghi’s side travel to Florence to play a Fiorentina side who dealt with the emotional anniversary of Davide Astori’s death last week with incredible dignity.
Here are the latest game odds courtesy of Betway.
Fiorentina to Win
Lazio to Win
Lazio’s win against Roma – and recent resurgence – has seen its odds shorten for what promises to be a tight game against Fiorentina.
The home side’s recent practice of being involved in high scoring dramas looks likely to continue as it desperately attempts to involve itself in the race for European qualification once more.
Before I make my pick and predictions I’m going to take a closer look at both teams.
Fiorentina has started to concede goals at precisely the wrong time of the season. There have always been some defensive frailties with the Viola but its defense has been beaten three times in its last three games – against Atalanta twice (once in the Coppa Italia semi final) and once against Inter.
Luckily for coach Stefano Pioli, Fiorentina’s strikers have been doing their part – but it has resulted in points being dropped and other clubs are starting to overtake Fiorentina in the table.
As we enter the final months of the season, any club in Fiorentina’s position needs to be kicking into gear and it seems to me like everyone else is moving on while the Florence club stays still.
The only bad thing about Lazio beating Roma in such convincing fashion last week is that the hangover may still be kicking in. There is a danger of the Rome club sitting back, rather than carrying on, its recent good form.
Exiting the Europa League could probably turn into a positive as far as Lazio’s Serie A chances go. Taking into consideration that Inzaghi’s side has now won three of its last four league games the impetus is definitely with the away team here.
Betting Pick and Prediction
It is very tempting to go with Lazio to continue its good run and collect another three points in Florence but being pumped up for a game against your city rivals is one thing – getting back into the groove of Serie A life is another all together.
The odds offered by Betway for an away win are far too short to attract much interest from me – it seems as if the bookmaker was really taken with Lazio’s display against Roma. But with Fiorentina’s defensive problems – and propensity to let in goals – it is difficult to see the home side winning as well.
That is why I think odds of 3.60 for the draw look very good. Fiorentina is likely to concede and Lazio should score so I can easily see this game finishing with honors even.
My Pick: The Draw 3.60
Predictions for the Week’s Other Serie A Games
Here is how I think the rest of the weekend’s Serie A games will shape up.
Juventus vs Udinese
Juventus to Win
Udinese to Win
If it was not already decided, last week’s victory in Naples handed Juventus the scudetto and now the Turin club can concentrate wholly on the Champions League. Massimilliano Allegri’s side has only dropped points on three occasions this season – and two of those games were at home. But even with minds on other things I can’t see this ending in anything but a home win.
Udinese is on a mini winning streak. It might only be two games – and both of those at home – but it has been one of those kinds of seasons, so good fortune needs to be celebrated in Udine. Davide Nicola’s side may have climbed the table recently but it has some tough fixtures coming up and could easily get dragged back down into a relegation battle in the next month or so.
Juventus is far too strong for Udinese and the home win is the only bet to look for here – even if it only offers modest returns.
Parma vs Genoa
Parma to Win
Genoa to Win
This is a stereotypical mid table battle between two sides struggling for consistency. Parma has now gone six games without a win but has managed a 3-3 draw at Juventus in that time. If it was to finish the season in this position then manager Roberto D’Aversa would see that as a good result in its first season back in Serie A – even if a few more wins would be preferable.
Genoa has actually gone six games unbeaten, but the majority of those have been draws – and against teams below them in the table. Goalless stalemates against Chievo and Frosinone in Genoa’s last two games will not have excited the fans but has probably secured its Serie A status for another season.
The way these two have been playing recently the draw at 3.10 is the only price that really stands out.
Chievo vs Milan
Chievo to Win
Milan to Win
Chievo is now rooted to the bottom of the table – a full 12 points from safety – and surely looking to return to Serie B at the end of the season. One win all season tells its own story and the Verona club is not even playing good football to temper the disappointment of all the defeats.
Milan won again last weekend at home to Sassuolo to make it four in a row in the league – on top of the 0-0 draw away to Lazio in the Coppa Italia. The avalanche of goals of the previous three weeks were not in evidence at the San Siro but another three points edged the Rossoneri above Inter for the first time and another win here seems likely.
The odds of 1.57 for a Milan win are short but this game will end no other way so it could be worth including it as part of a multiple bet.
Bologna vs Cagliari
Bologna to Win
Cagliari to Win
Bologna’s woeful recent form has turned this game into a must win for the home side – but apart from a surprise win at Inter at the start of February, that has not been a common occurrence. Sinisa Mihajlovic was brought in at the end of January in an attempt to stop the rot but things are not looking good for Bologna.
Cagliari has had a good couple of weeks with another three points collected from its win at home to Inter last week. The Sardinian club is famously bad away on the road – it has only beaten Atalanta, of all clubs, away from home all season – but might be able to see an opportunity in this one.
Cagliari to win at 4.00 looks like good value to me but if you are looking for a safer bet then the draw is a worthy alternative.
Frosinone vs Torino
Frosinone to Win
Torino to Win
The two victories in three games at the end of January seem a long time ago now for Frosinone but it is going into a relatively good run of fixtures and will feel as though it can get something from this game at home.
Torino is one of the form teams in the division at the moment and sits just outside the European places after a six game unbeaten streak. Form would suggest that Torino would come away with another win here – and the bookmakers obviously believe that to be the case.
But Torino has not won an away game since November and the odds for a draw look much more inviting to me.
Inter vs SPAL
Inter to Win
SPAL to Win
Inter’s Mauro Icardi problem just keeps on rumbling on – although last week’s defeat against Cagliari was its first in four games. Luciano Spalleti’s side has a potentially tiring trip to Frankfurt on Thursday in the Europa League so might not be on top form for the visit of SPAL.
One win since October has drawn SPAL into danger of relegation but I feel like one or two wins would see the club climb the table and finish comfortably away from the bottom. Its 3-2 victory in Parma is a recent high point and if Leonardo Semplici’s men can regain that kind of form a draw here is not out of the question.
Inter are too inconsistent for my liking and although an away victory does not seem on the cards, the draw at 4.50 is good value.
Sampdoria vs Atalanta
Sampdoria to Win
Atalanta to Win
Sampdoria has liked to win in blocks this season and are currently on a two game streak that has seen them defeat Cagliari and SPAL. A mid table finish is probably a good outcome for the Genoa club and a loss here would not do too much to change that happening.
Atalanta has put behind them the defeats to Milan and Torino and is looking like the team of a few months ago that was pushing for a Champions League place. Unfortunately those two defeats were against two immediate rivals and has seen the Bergamo club fall down the pecking order in Serie A.
Atalanta is looking to be in a resurgent mood and, although the odds for a draw are tempting, the away win is the wager to go for.
Sassuolo vs Napoli
Sassuolo to Win
Napoli to Win
Sassuolo is another club who are struggling of late and the defeat last week in Milan meant it has gone five games without a victory. One of the sides who is probably going to safe in mid table, Sassuolo won’t want to go too much longer without picking up some meaningful points – but the visit of Napoli doesn’t suggest that will be this weekend.
Napoli may have lost at home to Juventus last week but there were some positive points to be taken from the game. As long as the Partenopei does not dwell on the result it can ensure that it is not overtaken in second with another three points here.
For any other club, a morale-busting defeat against the champions elect might be a sign of impending capitulation – but I fancy Napoli to come back strongly and win convincingly in Reggio Emilia.
Roma vs Empoli
Roma to Win
Empoli to Win
Roma finish off week 27 in Serie A with the Monday night game against Empoli. Eusebio Di Francesco’s side will be out for revenge after the humiliation of Lazio’s victory in the derby and the visitors are likely to be in for a tough time at the Stadio Olimpico.
Empoli only has one win in its last eleven Serie A games so the 3-3 draw against Parma last weekend was actually a good result. A win in Rome would be a huge boost for its chances of escaping relegation but that does not seem likely.
Roma need a win to keep up its hopes of qualifying for the Champions League again this season and although odds of 1.55 are not very interesting, it is the only bet here worth going for.
The race for the title may be over but there are a number of intriguing battles throughout Serie A to keep fans of Italian soccer interested.
Both the race for European qualification and the battle against relegation will heat up again this weekend so the results will be crucial for all involved.
As ever, let me know what you think of my predictions and picks – and enjoy the games.