Serie A Betting: Jumping Juventus to prevail
Juve may have struggled lately...but they have the edge against the big teams, and certainly do against Milan.
In a battle of the top two Serie A sides, Dave Farrar finds it strange you can get Juventus at such healthy odds.
There's one conundrum which holds the key to Saturday night's big season defining Serie A game, and that's whether you think that Milan are capable of testing Juventus without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
If you watched Milan dismantle Arsenal in the Champions League, then you'll think that Zlatan's presence is absolutely vital for Milan, but there are those in Italy who would argue otherwise and tell you that he only shows up against the smaller teams, and that his influence on big and decisive matches is minimal. It's not only Champions League pundits in England who veer towards Zlatan-scepticism.
The fact remains, though, that Ibra has scored 15 Serie A goals this season, and Juve's four strikers have a combined total of 14. That illustrates what a big hole that he leaves, and with Robinho and Pato set to lead the line without a huge amount of creativity behind them, Milan may struggle to break down a defence which has conceded just 14 goals this season and just six away from home.
The market favours the home side, and I'm surprised to see Milan as short as [2.42] for the win, with Juve available to back at [3.4].
Juve may have struggled lately, looking less than cohesive in 0-0 draws against Siena and Parma, and then labouring a little against Catania, but they have the edge against the big teams, and certainly do against Milan. Juve have twice beaten the Rossoneri this season, and I think that, for all of their recent issues, Antonio Conte's men are simply the better group of players, particularly if you take Ibrahimovic and possibly injury doubt Kevin-Prince Boateng out of the equation as well.
I can see them stifling a sometimes stultifying Milan and winning a low-scoring game by a narrow margin. They're certainly too big at the prices. The Overs/Unders market looks about right, with Under 2.5 Goals rightly the favourite at [1.76]. .
The other market that interests me is for Correct Score. I feel that Milan will struggle to score, and so the Juventus low-scoring win is a good way to back up a bet on them in the win market. I'll take 1-0 to Conte's side at [11.0]. .
Pretty much the whole of the European football world has been enchanted by Napoli this season, and they've pulled off the knack of performing really well in the big games. As a result of that, a wide TV audience thinks that they're thrilling to watch.
The truth is that there are two different Napoli teams.
The one that plays with organisation and freedom against the big teams, and the one which has struggled to break down a minnow or two. Napoli are without Marek Hamsik for the visit of Inter, but I still think that we'll see the "good" Napoli on Sunday night as Claudio Ranieri comes to town trying to save his job.
Inter have lost six of their last seven games, and have been simply awful in recent weeks, and Napoli look absolutely rock solid for the win at [1.89].
I have absolutely no hesitation at putting them up against an Inter team which is struggling with injuries, and looks absolutely shot at the moment. The rumours in Italy suggest that the Ranieri era could end next week, with Andre Villas-Boas a likely replacement should his tenure at Chelsea end in the next month.
The other market which is interesting is the Over 2.5 Goals. I'm surprised to see "overs" at [2.22], as Napoli have it in them to terrorise Inter, and a rested Milito/Pazzini strikeforce may have some joy against a Napoli defence which is likely to be missing Hugo Campagnaro.