The 25th round of the Italian Serie A competition kicked off with Bologna in 11th place but the Red and Blues have been playing like a top-six team for quite some time now.
Bologna, which gained promotion to Italian Serie A last term through the Italian Serie B play-offs, parted company with Delio Rossi in late October after it lost eight of its first 10 matches back in the big time, getting the better of only Carpi and Frosinone. Bologna feared that it would be heading back to Italian Serie B but its appointment of former Milan midfielder Roberto Donadoni is proving inspired. Bologna is 7-3-4 in its 14 Italian Serie A games under Donadoni and, no matter which short-term form ladder one references, the Red and Blues are hanging out with the likes of Fiorentina, Milan and Roma. Bologna’s Italian Serie A away record is the best of the bottom-half sides and one would be surprised if the Red and Blues did not end up positioned above the fold.
On Sunday afternoon Bologna will tackle Udinese in Italian Serie A and one thinks that the Red and Blues represent the weekend’s most alluring outsider at odds of +333 with Coral.
Udinese and Bologna have played every Italian Serie A team at least once so there is plenty of data into which to sink one’s teeth. According to one’s Italian Serie A collateral form analysis – the purpose of which is to compare the results of sides against the same opponents to gauge their true strength – the gap between Udinese and Bologna is a fair bit greater than the ladder suggests. Udinese trails Bologna 6-1-12 on Italian Serie A collateral form figures and, although the White and Blacks won the reverse fixture 1-2 on the road, that was during Rossi’s spell in charge of the Red and Blues. Furthermore, Udinese is 0-1-5 compared to Bologna when one restricts one’s Italian Serie A collateral form analysis to the top six teams on the ladder. For the record, Udinese rates well versus Empoli (seventh), Chievo (10th), Bologna (11th), Torino (12th), Sampdoria (17th) and Frosinone (18th), the Red and Blues rate well versus Napoli (first), Fiorentina (third), Internazionale (fourth), Roma (fifth), Milan (sixth), Sassuolo (eighth), Lazio (ninth), Atalanta (13th), Palermo (15th), Genoa (16th), Carpi (19th) and Verona (20th), while neither side boasts a comparative advantage versus defending champion Juventus (second).
Udinese has not won any of its last six Italian Serie A matches, it has a bad home record and one cannot understand why bookmakers are offering it at close to even money to defeat a Bologna team that, according to one’s number crunching, appears vastly superior. The market on the Italian Serie A game is that of a match in which the home side is slightly superior to the away team. Consequently, Bologna is a clear value play at Coral’s odds of +333 .
The early Italian Serie A news is that Udinese midfielder Badu is suspended following his 27th-minute yellow card at Milan last weekend. It was Badu’s fifth caution of the Italian Serie A season and enough to earn him a holiday.
Bologna to beat Udinese
14th February 14:00 GMT
Once or twice per month we will provide you with the latest sports tips and keep you updated about the biggest events.