Saturday, February 11th
Udinese v AC Milan (5.00 pm)
Home Win: 29/20 Draw: 11/5 Away Win: 37/20
Betting Tip: After three games without a win – including a disappointing defeat at the hands of Juventus in the Coppa Italia – it is time for the Rossoneri to prove that they can beat one of their big rivals. So far, their record is hardly impressive, having only taken all three points off Roma at the Olimpico last year. They only managed a draw against Udinese at the San Siro and have looked quite poor in front of goal over the past few weeks. The Zebras, for their part, have not let anyone net more than once at the Friuli in the league so far and at 7/4 can be counted to keep their visitors at bay.
Cagliari v Palermo (7.45 pm)
Home Win: 11/10 Draw: 11/5 Away Win: 13/5
Betting Tip: Palermo have a tough tie ahead of them, especially without Fabrizio Miccoli. Though their recovery has been impressive, their three wins since the turn of the year have come at home. The Sant’Elia is, moreover, a tough ground, where Cagliari have only lost twice. The Sardinians have also kept three out of five clean sheets at home, making a draw the most likely outcome at 11/5.
Sunday, February 12th
Parma v Fiorentina (2.00 pm)
Home Win: 7/5 Draw: 21/10 Away Win: 2/1
Betting Tip: Roberto Donadoni’s arrival has most definitely brought results: two wins and two draws were exactly what the doctor ordered, as Parma chased away the kind of relegation fears which did not seem so ridiculous this time last month. An interesting stat pops up: they have netted three times in each of their last three home games, something they are likely to do once more against a Fiorentina side still too frail on the road. At 27/20, bet on both sides to rack up three or more goals, though a braver punter might just chance a couple of pounds on Parma netting at least three times (priced at 23/4).
Catania v Genoa (2.00 pm)
Home Win: 11/10 Draw: 11/5 Away Win: 51/20
Betting Tip: Vincenzo Montella’s men got to finish off their postponed 1-1 draw with Roma, an encounter which ended… 1-1. Catania’s form at home might not be the best (it includes four draws and two defeats), but Genoa’s performances on the road have so far yielded four consecutive defeats. At 14/5, bwin are offering some unusually kind odds on Catania winning by a one-goal margin at least. Considering how the visitors often bring spectacular football wherever they visit (though admittedly they’re not always responsible for it, at least not directly), I’d argue that it’s a pretty safe bet. Genoa’s last four trips have seen at least three goals each, an eventuality quoted at 9/10 for this one.
Atalanta v Lecce (2.00 pm)
Home Win: 17/20 Draw: 9/4 Away Win: 7/2
Betting Tip: This column has often seen me praise Serse Cosmi’s side, as they slowly try and fight their way out of the relegation zone. This game might, however, be above their station – Atalanta have been brilliant at home this season and have the firepower to cause damage to Lecce’s creaky back line. This is not to say that the Salentini won’t run their socks off and give the Bergamaschi a fright, far from it. Then again, the likes of Maxi Moralez and German Denis are too hot too handle, and don’t expect Lecce’s back three to be able to press the spaces Maxi will open behind the midfield with his piercing runs or forward passes. At 17/20, I’m betting on the home side to win this one.
Internazionale v Novara (2.00 pm)
Home Win: 23/100 Draw: 93/20 Away Win: 23/2
Betting Tip: It seems an age has gone by since Novara surprised Inter Milan at home and ensured that Giampiero Gasperini was the first manager to lose his job, barely five games into the new season. Despite a recent comeback which saw Claudio Ranieri’s men climb their way up the table to within touching distance of AC Milan, Inter look just as frail as they did back then: an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Roma only confirming their also-ran status. Novara’s odds of winning this game (or even drawing) are remote, so how about backing them to net once at 33/20? If they could do it against Milan, they can definitely do it against a side that has let in a staggering 13 goals since its derby day victory over the Rossoneri.
Bologna v Juventus (7.45 pm)
Home Win: 9/2 Draw: 51/20 Away Win: 13/20
Betting Tip: Siena’s coup at the weekend will have worried some Juventus fans, as the Turinese outfit can ill afford to lose the kind of points AC Milan are only too happy to pick up for themselves. Though the Old Lady should still be counted on to prevail, how about betting on the home side to net at least once, an eventuality priced at 1/2? Bologna have troubled many strong teams at home, not least the Rossoneri, who only came away with a point after ex-Hammer Alessandro Diamanti equalised with a quarter of an hour to go.
Monday, February 13th
Napoli v Chievo (2.00 pm)
Home Win: 1/2 Draw: 14/5 Away Win: 6/1
Betting Tip: The Flying Donkeys travel to Naples, aiming for an exploit few would have backed only weeks ago: to come away with at least a point, following the Azzurri’s four-game winless streak. Walter Mazzarri’s side seem to be going through what many in Italy would call a “crisis”, as they have failed to keep up with their pace-setting rivals. Now seventh, Napoli look too weak at the back to stop their opponents from scoring once, an eventuality priced at 29/20.
Siena v AS Roma (2.00 pm)
Home Win: 11/5 Draw: 11/5 Away Win: 5/4
Betting Tip: Giuseppe Sannino’s men have been impressive over the last few weeks, taking points off Juventus and defeating Napoli in the Coppa Italia. Unfortunately, the Roma side they meet on Monday has recently found its scoring touch once more – leading me to believe that this game will produce quite a few goals. At 11/5, back both sides to net at least four goals, as Luis Enrique’s side looks to confirm their recent run of form with a win.
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