Chievo to care a lot more than Atalanta


Atalanta has no fewer than four players suspended for its Italian Serie A match at Chievo on Sunday and it conceded four goals on its latest outing so one is keen to bet on Edoardo Reja’s team succumbing to another meaningless loss.

Carlos Carmona, German Denis, Giulio Migliaccio and Mauricio Pinilla are banned for Atalanta’s Italian Serie A visit to Chievo and the Bergamo-based team’s most recent league game resulted in a 1-4 home defeat against Genoa. Atalanta is safe from relegation thanks to the collective ineptitude of Italian Serie A bottom three Cagliari, Cesena and Parma and one sense that its players are off on holiday already. The fact that both sides have scored in each of Atalanta’s last nine Italian Serie A matches suggests that Reja’s team has not been 100 per cent switched on for quite some time.

Strictly speaking, Chievo does not have a great deal for which to play either but Sunday’s Italian Serie A game is its last in front of its own supporters and that, allied with Atalanta’s apathy, is sufficient to push us into the home side at odds of +150 with Betfred and Totesport. The bottom line is that Atalanta’s squad is insufficiently deep to cope without four regulars on the road to an Italian Serie A team that should be a bit more up for the fight.

Both Cesena and Cagliari are doomed to Italian Serie B for next season but at least the former has gone kicking and screaming, scoring freely in several high-scoring matches.

One cannot comprehend why some bookmakers have gone up with Cesena as the underdog for Sunday’s Italian Serie A game because, if either side merits favouritism, one thinks that it is the one that put the frighteners on fourth-placed Napoli in the latest round of championship matches.

Cesena has not won any of its last 11 Italian Serie A games but it has scored in each of its last five league matches (the last 4 of which has gone over 3.5 goals, and option that is available at +300 with Bet365) and, unlike Cagliari, it does not appear to have given up the ghost just yet. Cagliari wasted a golden opportunity to stay alive in the Italian Serie A relegation scrap when it played a second-string Juventus team two rounds ago and it could only draw 1-1. Then Cagliari lost 0-1 at home to its fellow Italian Serie A island-based side, Palermo, and its time was up. One suspects that Cesena will be much more motivated than Cagliari for what is, on the face of it, an Italian Serie A dead rubber between two relegated teams.

Coral is offering odds of +188 about Cesena beating Cagliari and posting its fifth Italian Serie A win. Sure, Cesena is not the greatest bet of all time but one could make a good case for it trading at odds of around the +140 mark.

Finally, one is willing to take a punt on a motivated Napoli defeating an unmotivated Juventus in their Italian Serie A clash given what it is at stake for Rafa Benitez’s side.

Napoli trails Lazio by three points on the Italian Serie A ladder and Napoli’s penultimate divisional game will take place the day before Lazio’s derby versus Roma. Napoli’s final Italian Serie A assignment is at home to Lazio and, because Napoli boasts a head-to-head advantage over Lazio, it will be able to secure a top-three finish and a place in the UEFA Champions League if it goes into the 38th round no more than three points adrift of its rival. Napoli’s UEFA Champions League destiny is in its own control – it will qualify if it wins each of its last two Italian Serie A matches, irrespective of what happens in other games.

Juventus is 16 points clear at the top of the Italian Serie A ladder, it will entertain Napoli fewer than 72 hours after its Italian Coppa Italia final engagement with Lazio (We tipped Juve at +350 for the Coppa Italia)  and it has the small matter of a UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona for which to prepare in due course.

Coral and Ladbrokes are offering odds of +200 about Napoli upsetting Italian Serie A champion Juventus and one thinks that those odds are worth a nibble in the circumstances.

Tips Summary

Chievo to beat Atalanta
24th May 14:00 GMT
Odds:  +150
Where to Bet: Betfred, Totesport

Cesena to beat Cagliari
24th May 14:00 GMT
Odds:  +188
Where to Bet: Coral

Napoli to beat Juventus
23rd May 17:00 GMT
Odds:  +200
Where to Bet: CoralLadbrokes

Carlos Carmona
Edoardo Reja
German Denis
Giulio Migliaccio
Italian Coppa Italia final
Mauricio Pinilla
UEFA Champions League final

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