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Italian Serie A: Week 1 Preview
The long wait is over! The return of the Italian Serie A is upon us. So get your pen and paper out, because I’m about to school you. After making a dismal start to last year's campaign, as well as the departure of several key players, Juventus put together one of the greatest runs in club history, racking up a record fifth consecutive title with weeks to spare.
Napoli came the closest to ending the Old Lady’s impressive title-winning run, but in the end fell short, something most football fanatics would have anticipated. Another team worth a mention would be Roma, who settled for a third place finish, claiming the UEFA Champions League play-off position. And to sum things up, Carpi, Frosinone and Hellas Verona were relegated, while Cagliari, Crotone, and Pescara were promoted from Serie B.
We have 38 games to look forward to, and I will be with you every step of the way, giving you mouth-watering tips, and finding that extra bit of value to place your precious money on. It’s easier said than done, and actions speak louder than words, so let’s get to it!
SATURDAY 20 AUGUST
Roma 4/10 | Draw 7/2 | Udinese 6/1
We kick-start the new campaign at the Stadio Olimpico, with Roma taking on Udinese. The Giallorossi had an excellent record on home soil last season, winning 13 of their 19 home matches, suffering just one defeat. Udinese on the other hand, escaped the drop by the skin of their teeth, finishing 17th on the log, just one point above the relegation zone. Their away record was dismal to say the least, claiming just four wins from 19 games. At 4/10, Roma are tipped confidently to begin the season with a victory. But for those seeking more value, the Matchbet of Roma + Both Teams To Score looks quite tempting at 2/1. After all, four of the last five meetings have seen both sides find the back of the net.
Juventus 5/10 | Draw 31/10 | Fiorentina 57/10
Next up, Juventus begin their title defence in front of their faithful and proud supporters. The Old Lady made it five Scudettos in a row last term and are major favourites to lift the title once more. They were outstanding on their ground last season, with 16 victories from 19 games, scoring 37 goals and conceding just six times. Fiorentina made a bright start to the campaign last season and will be eager to do the same once again. But that could prove a difficult task with a trip to the city of Turin to face the champions. I think the Viola could give a solid performance in the first half, but in the end, Juve should pull through. Get on the Halftime/Fulltime Double – with the Halftime Draw and Fulltime Juventus win at 28/10.
SUNDAY 21 AUGUST
AC Milan 17/20 | Draw 49/20 | Torino 34/10
Sunday begins at the San Siro Stadium with AC Milan playing host to Torino. Gone are the glory days of Milan, who settled for a seventh place finish last season. And to make matters worse, they have done very little in the transfer market to strengthen their chances of challenging for the title. Torino usually give a good account of themselves at the start of a new season, but judging by their horrendous record against their opponents of 17 matches without a victory, a winning start is unlikely. Seven of the last 10 meetings have seen both sides find the back of the net, so I would suggest backing Both Teams To Score (Yes) at 9/10.
Atalanta 39/20 | Draw 22/10 | Lazio 29/20
Atalanta host Lazio on Sunday evening, eager to make a vibrant start to the season. They were below-par on their turf last term, registering just eight wins from 19 matches. Nonetheless, Lazio failed to impress, as they managed a measly five wins from 19 games on the road. This is one of those games that could go either way. But since Atalanta won four of their six pre-season friendly matches, I can’t help but follow them. Atalanta on the Win/Draw Double Chance will get you 5/10.
Bologna 1/1 | Draw 22/10 | Crotone 31/10
Newly promoted Crotone will travel to Bologna for their opening Serie A encounter. They will be sure to give their all as they strive to make an instant impression on their return to the top flight. Bologna will know that they really should take maximum points off the new boys, but looking at their home record of just five victories from 19 matches last season doesn’t give much confidence on the betting front. I think the best way to go would be Under 2.5 Goals at 11/20.
Chievo 11/4 | Draw 9/4 | Inter Milan 21/20
Chievo and Inter Milan could turn out to be an interesting affair. Both teams struggled to find form in pre-season, but past results could give us more insight as to which market or team would be worth a punt. Well, Inter have won four of the last five meetings at Chievo, so at 21/20, that looks attractive enough for me to have a go. If you prefer the more exotic betting markets, nine of the last 11 meetings between these two sides have seen Under 2.5 Goals and that is available at 6/10.
Empoli 13/10 | Draw 43/20 | Sampdoria 9/4
Empoli were nothing more than under par last season, despite a 10th place finish. They claimed only seven wins from 19 matches and will need to be much better if they are to get a result here, let alone a victory. Sampdoria were absolutely appalling on their travels, as they managed just two wins from 19 games, suffering 11 defeats. The past five head-to-heads have seen Under 2.5 Goals. Follow the trend at 6/10.
Genoa 21/20 | Draw 47/20 | Cagliari 26/10
Genoa will take on last season’s Serie B champions Cagliari on the opening weekend. The new boys will be up for the challenge, but Genoa did well enough on their ground last term to suggest they can claim all three points. However, the same could be said of Cagliari who had the best away record in the second tier. It is likely to be a tight affair, but I feel that the newcomers might just have the determination and drive to cause an upset. Back the away team on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 7/10.
Palermo 18/10 | Draw 43/20 | Sassuolo 16/10
Palermo finished just one point above the drop last season, while their opponents Sassuolo did extremely well to get a sixth place finish. Pre-season saw Sassuolo win two of their three matches, which included a two-leg UEFA Europa League play-off against Switzerland’s Luzern. Palermo failed to win any of their games in 90 minutes. All the more reason to back Sassuolo to come out on top at a valuable 16/10.
Pescara 6/1 | Draw 34/10 | Napoli 9/20
Last but not least, newly-promoted Pescara will face Napoli in the final Serie A encounter of the weekend. Pescara advanced to the top flight via the play-offs, in which they defeated Trapani 3-1 on aggregate in the final. Napoli will be their first test of character, and to be frank, I doubt they can hold off Gli Azzurri. Napoli won all four of their club friendlies, scoring 17 goals and conceding just once. Napoli + Over 2.5 Goals tickles my fancy at even money.
Written by Aaron Crowie @Hollywoodbets