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Italian Serie A Preview

The end is near – well that is of course for the Italian Serie A. But cheer up; at least we have one final gameweek to go. With that in mind, it means we can still squeeze a buck or two from the final round of matches. Gameweek 38 of the Serie A will see four games on Saturday and the rest on Sunday. All eyes will be on Napoli and Roma, who are still battling it out for second spot, an automatic place in Europe’s most prestigious club competition – the UEFA Champions League. That means their games have to be played simultaneously. In the relegation dogfight, it’s all down to Carpi and Palermo now, so their matches have to be simultaneous too. Juventus and Sampdoria will lock horns in an early kick-off on Saturday to give time for the Scudetto trophy presentation. So for the last time this season, let’s get to it! Enjoy the punting!

Saturday 14 May

3/10 Juventus | Draw 17/4 | Sampdoria 17/2 (17:00)

Serie A's bottom club Hellas Verona earned a well-deserved and surprising 2-1 victory over division champions Juventus last time out. Verona, who have already had their relegation to Serie B confirmed, won thanks to goals from Luca Toni and Federico Viviani. Juve had gone into the game against Verona with a record of 25 wins from 26 matches, but Massimiliano Allegri's men were unable to avoid defeat.  They will return to their ground, where they have won 15 of their 18 matches; and with the incentive of lifting the trophy in front of their proud supporters – Juve are likely to return to winning ways. Sampdoria have lost back-to-back games without scoring and conceding five times. Back the Old Lady on the Half-time/Full-time Double at 15/20.

37/20 AC Milan | 5/2 | Roma 27/20 (20:45)

Carlos Bacca's first-half penalty proved enough as AC Milan edged 10-man Bologna last Saturday with a scrappy 1-0 victory. Prior to the victory, the Rossoneri were winless in three matches, and now they will end their season off with a humdinger of a match against Roma. Francesco Totti came off the bench to make his 600th league appearance for the Giallorossi as they beat in-form Chievo 3-0 at home last Sunday to climb to second place in Serie A for the time being. The victory moved Roma up to 77 points with one game left in the race for the second automatic Champions League berth, just two points behind Napoli. Their win also extends their unbeaten streak to 16 league games. It’s a must win game for Roma, and I think they have the form and firepower to take maximum points.

2/13 Napoli | 7/1 | Frosinone 13/1 (20:45)

Napoli won 2-1 at Torino to boost their chances of qualifying directly for the Champions League. Gonzalo Higuain scored his 33rd goal of the season as Napoli moved back into second spot, restoring their two-point advantage over Roma. Napoli’s tally of 79 points is the highest in the club's history. The Azzurri have the best home record in the league as they remain unbeaten with 15 wins from 18 matches, scoring 45 goals and conceding just 12 times. Their opponents, Frosinone, were relegated from Serie A after just one season in the top flight thanks to Matteo Politano's late goal in a 1-0 victory for Sassuolo. The defeat means Frosinone have now lost five of their last seven matches. With only pride to play for, I doubt the Canarini can stop Napoli from running riot. Get on the market – Home To Score In Both Halves at 11/20.

21/20 Sassuolo | 51/20 | Inter Milan 5/2 (20:45)

Sassuolo retained sixth place with a 1-0 victory at the Matusa - a result that mathematically relegated Frosinone. The victory for the Neroverdi made it three on the spin, scoring five goals and conceding just once.  Inter Milan secured fourth place in the Serie A table by beating Empoli 2-1 at San Siro last Saturday. Roberto Mancini's men can no longer be caught by fellow Europa League chasers Fiorentina after building a six-point gap over the Tuscans. Inter have won four of their last six matches, but on the contrary, they have lost consecutive matches away from home. Sassuolo have won the last two meetings between the teams, and are tipped to edge the win here.

Sunday 15 May

13/10 Chievo | 23/10 | Bologna 21/10 (18:00)

Chievo extended their winless run to three matches, after going down 3-0 at Roma. They haven’t scored in any of their last three games either. Meanwhile, Bologna have managed just two wins from their last 15 matches, scoring a lousy six goals in the process. Neither team have much to play for in this final week of Serie A, and with both sides struggling to find the back of the net, it would be wise to get on the Under 2.5 Goals market at a valuable 12/10.

14/10 Empoli | 24/10 | Torino 19/10 (18:00)

Empoli suffered a sixth consecutive defeat on the road last time out, as Inter Milan secured fourth spot in the league. They will gladly return to home soil, where they are unbeaten in their last five matches, including two victories.  Torino fell to a 2-1 home defeat against Napoli last Sunday, making it back-to-back losses on their ground. They were impressive on their last travel, as they thrashed Udinese 5-1. A tight affair is expected, but Torino are tipped on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 5/10.

21/20 Genoa | 49/20 | Atalanta 5/2 (18:00)

Genoa humbled their Derby della Lanterna rivals Sampdoria 3-0 to reach 10th place in the Serie A table last Sunday afternoon. The victory comes after Genoa suffered two defeats on the bounce, but their 3-0 victory at la Samp will give them a boost in confidence and team morale. Atalanta settled for a 1-1 draw at home to Udinese last time out. They have managed just one win from their  last six matches and should struggle here. Genoa are undefeated in the last six meetings against their opponents, including a 2-0 victory in the reverse tie. Back the home win.

14/10 Lazio | 5/2 | Fiorentina 7/4 (20:45)

Lazio made it consecutive victories last time out, after thrashing Carpi 3-1 in front of their own fans. They have been strong at home, winning 10 of their 18 matches. Fiorentina on the other hand, stretched their winless run to four matches, including back-to-back games without scoring a goal. Lazio have won the last four meetings between the sides, scoring 10 goals and conceding just once. They look the better side and will be eager to finish the season strong in front of their die-hard supporters. The home win is tipped at a valuable 14/10.

1/4 Palermo | 5/1 | Hellas Verona 10/1 (20:45)

Palermo crept out of the Serie A relegation zone by grinding out an undeserved point from a goalless draw at Fiorentina. The draw extends their unbeaten run to four matches, with two victories.  Davide Ballardini's men were level on points with 17th-placed Carpi heading into last Sunday's game at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, and a share of the spoils from Florence and a Biancorossi defeat to Lazio helped Palermo escape the bottom three ahead of their final-day showdown with Hellas Verona. Legendary striker Luca Toni helped Verona spring an upset as he opened the scoring in a 2-1 defeat of Serie A champions Juventus on Sunday. The World Cup-winning striker announced last week that he would bow out after that game and he capped it in style, opening the scoring with a cheeky penalty just before the interval. Nothing but a win will do here for Palermo, and Verona being already relegated, will be looking to drag their opponents down with them. This is one match you should steer clear of, but if you must, take Both Teams To Score at 21/20 – especially given the fact that Verona will have some momentum following their victory over the champions.

15/10 Udinese | 49/20 | Carpi 17/10 (20:45)

16th-place Udinese are safe from relegation with nothing to play for, but could maybe just give their faithful fans one last thing to smile about. Jerry Mbakogu missed two penalties as Carpi slipped into the Serie A drop zone after losing 3-1 to nine-man Lazio in the penultimate game of the season. Had the Nigerian converted both first-half spot-kicks, last year's Serie B champions could have resisted an ill-disciplined Lazio side and held on to 17th place. Now it’s a must win game for the newcomers who have shown a bit of improvement in recent weeks. Knowing they edged Udinese 2-1 in the corresponding fixture, could just give them the confidence they need to claim all three points here. Carpi have plenty more to play for than their opponents, and I think they will be up for the challenge. The away team is tipped to edge the win.

Serie A Picks
Juventus HT-FT WIN 15/20
Roma WIN 27/20
Sassuolo WIN 21/20
Chievo UNDER 2.5 GOALS 12/10
Torino WIN/DRAW 5/10 
Genoa WIN 21/20 
Lazio WIN 14/10 
Palermo BTTS 21/20 
Carpi WIN 17/10

Written by Aaron Crowie