Italian Serie A Preview

Monday night saw Napoli leapfrog Inter Milan at the summit of the table with a hard-fought 2-1 victory, while Fiorentina remained in third spot after their stalemate at Sassuolo. Defending champions Juventus are finally looking like the team everybody knows them to be after their fourth consecutive victory. There were also upsets last weekend as Atalanta - against all odds - earned a well-deserved 2-0 win at Roma, with Empoli also providing value for money, with a 1-0 victory over Lazio. In the bottom half of the table, Verona remain the only team in the league without a win, Sampdoria sunk further down the log with their third loss on the trot and Carpi occupy bottom spot, despite their victory at Chievo last time out. There are just three Gameweeks to go until the Christmas break, let’s try finding a few winners to help make the holidays more affordable.

Friday 4 December

27/10 Lazio | Draw 9/4 | Juventus 11/10 (21:45) 

Lazio made me a small fortune last week as they fell to fellow mid-table dwellers Empoli 1-0 at the Stadio Carlo Castellani. It was their fourth defeat in five games and their sixth loss on the road after seven matches. Juventus will be looking to take advantage of a vulnerable Lazio team and they come to town in the perfect form to do so. The Reigning champions continued their climb back to the upper reaches of the Serie A table by beating Palermo 3-0 in front of their own fans. The Bianconeri, who have won the title four times in a row, started the season with back-to-back defeats and have been struggling to make up for lost time ever since. Results in Europe and at home suggest the tide has turned. Lazio should put up a fight, but their record against Juve leaves a lot to be desired. They are winless against the champs in the last eight meetings, losing six times. Back Juventus to reign victorious at 11/10. 

Saturday 5 December

31/20 Torino | 21/10 | Roma 7/4 (16:00) 

Torino have been impressive of late, earning a consecutive win last week, with a comprehensive 2-0 home win over Bologna. They have lost just once on their turf, winning four times.  Roma's bad week ended on a sour note as Atalanta condemned them to a 2-0 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico. Rudi Garcia's Giallorossi were thrashed 6-1 by Barcelona in the Champions League, and while the French coach was given a vote of confidence heading into this Serie A game, the performance and result may inspire a rethink. Roma need to tighten up at the back – conceding 10 goals in their last three matches in all competitions is simply woeful. We should see a different Roma team this weekend, but I doubt we will see big changes. This one could go down to the wire, making the draw a decent bet at 21/10. 

6/10 Inter Milan | 29/10 | Genoa 9/2 (21:45) 

Inter Milan suffered their first defeat on home soil on Monday night, going down 2-1 to Napoli. They return to the San Siro stadium where they have won five of their seven matches, conceding just four goals.  Genoa lie 13th on the log, just three points off the drop. They have managed just one victory in their last six matches and remain winless away from home, scoring six goals and conceding double that amount. The home win is definitely one for the multiples.

Sunday 6 December

6/1 Bologna | 34/10 | Napoli 9/20 (13:30) 

Bologna’s relegation-battle continues after they were beaten 2-0 at Torino – with the newcomers dropping from 17th to 18th on the log. They have managed just two wins from seven home games, but are unbeaten in their last two – thrashing Atalanta 3-0, prior to holding Roma to a 2-2 stalemate. Napoli replaced Inter Milan at the top of Serie A after Gonzalo Higuain scored twice to help defeat Roberto Mancini's side 2-1, who finished with 10 men. The Azzurri are unbeaten since their opening day defeat at Sassuolo, and it’s doubtful newcomers Bologna have the quality to stop them. Napoli are in top form and there is no reason not to back them.  

17/20 Atalanta | 5/2 | Palermo 34/10 (16:00) 

Atalanta defied all odds last weekend with a well-deserved 2-0 victory at Roma; their first win away from home. Palermo are off the back of a disappointing 3-0 defeat at home against defending champions Juventus. Atalanta have had the better of Palermo in recent head-to-heads, winning three of the last four meetings, and the recent win over Roma will give them the confidence and momentum to build on that astounding victory. The home win should be backed.  

11/20 Fiorentina | 32/10 | Udinese 47/10 (16:00) 

Fiorentina earned a hard fought 1-1 draw at Sassuolo on Monday night, which extended their unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions. The Viola return to their ground where they have been superb, winning five of their seven matches, scoring 15 goals and conceding just five times. Udinese striker Cyril Thereau scored twice to inflict a 3-2 defeat on his former club Chievo at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi. It marks back-to-back wins for Udinese, giving them real hope to get a positive result at Fiorentina. However, Fiorentina have won the last eight meetings at home against Udinese, and both sides have managed to find the back of the net in six of those meetings. The home Win + Both Teams To Score offers plenty of value at 21/10. 

2/1 Frosinone | 9/4 | Chievo 27/20 (16:00) 

Frosinone are coming off a 3-2 home victory over bottom-of-the-log Hellas Verona. They have now won four of their last five home matches, scoring two or more goals in each of those games. Chievo have lost five of their last seven matches after their 3-2 home defeat to Udinese. However, they did manage a 2-1 away win at Carpi last time out. Another cagey affair is predicted with a draw my favoured tip at 9/4. 

19/10 Hellas Verona | 21/10 | Empoli 31/20 (16:00) 

Winless Hellas Verona have sacked head coach Andrea Mandorlini after the club slumped to the bottom of the Serie A table on Sunday. Mandorlini won two promotions with Verona, restoring them to the top flight in 2013, but after two promising seasons the Gialloblu are staring at relegation having failed to win any of their 14 games. Empoli come to town off the back of a brave 1-0 home victory over Lazio, whilst the week before they earned a hard fought 2-2 draw at Fiorentina. Perhaps it’s Verona’s record they hold over Empoli that pits them as favourites (two wins and four draws from the last six meetings). Nonetheless, records are meant to be broken, so I’m backing Empoli to do just that at 31/20. 

29/20 Sampdoria | 22/10 | Sassuolo 2/1 (19:00) 

Sampdoria were shockingly terrible last time out as AC Milan put them to the sword with a 4-1 thrashing. Three losses on the trot, scoring just once and conceding seven times is a cry for help. Sampdoria remain without a win on the road, and lie just three points above the drop in 14th place after their defeat to Milan. Sassuolo kept their undefeated home record intact on Monday night, playing out to a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina. It’s their away form that has cost them though, as they have scored just six goals in seven travels. Sampdoria and Sassuolo have cancelled each other out in five of their last eight meetings, including two on the bounce and that trend looks likely to continue. However, a safer would be Both Teams To Score at 8/10. 

4/1 Carpi | 5/2 | AC Milan 15/20 (21:45) 

Carpi left the bottom of the Serie A table as Cristian Zaccardo's late winner downed Genoa 2-1 at the Marassi – breaking a winless run of six matches, including five defeats. Carpi have been dreadful at home, scoring just five goals in seven games. AC Milan moved up to sixth in the Serie A table after M'Baye Niang scored twice in a relatively easy 4-1 win over Sampdoria. Milan have been excellent on their ground, but have struggled away from home, managing just two wins from seven games. However, they have won four of their last six matches and should have the firepower to claim maximum points against their newly-promoted opponents. 

Serie A Picks
Juventus WIN 11/10
Torino DRAW 21/10
Inter Milan WIN 6/10
Napoli WIN 9/20
Atalanta WIN 17/20
Fiorentina WIN+BTTS 21/10
Frosinone DRAW 9/4
Empoli WIN 31/20
Sampdoria BTTS 8/10
AC Milan WIN 15/20

Written by Aaron Crowie for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!