It is the opening weekend of the Italian Serie A season and one thinks that the best bet on the program is under two and a half goals in Saturday’s game between Lazio and Bologna.
On paper, Lazio has a kind first Italian Serie A assignment because the fixture computer issued it with a home match versus promoted Bologna but life is much more complicated than that for Stefano Pioli’s side because of the small matter of a midweek away game that is worth millions of euros.
Lazio was somewhat fortunate to beat Leverkusen 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday but its home win and its non-concession of an away goal means that it is in pole position to qualify for the lucrative group stage. Lazio played 34 Italian Serie A matches for the right to compete in the UEFA Champions League and one can see it prioritising the continental competition over the domestic tournament.
What does that mean? Well, one thinks that Bologna will run out with defence on its mind and that Lazio’s mind may be elsewhere – Leverkusen to be precise – which may result in an Italian Serie A game in which the favourite struggles for fluency and the underdog demonstrates limited ambition.
BetVictor is offering odds of +100 that Lazio and Bologna combine for fewer than two and a half goals and one would match rather back that option at odds against than the home team to collect three Italian Serie A points at odds on. A few more astute bookmakers have got under two and a half goals vying with over two and a half goals for favouritism.
Juventus remains the Italian Serie A side to beat because, while the Old Lady have waved goodbye to several of last season’s championship-winning squad, they have recruited well and, perhaps most importantly of all, they have done enough to keep Paul Pogba in their black and white kit.
Another Italian Serie A side that wears black and white, Udinese, faces the unenviable task of tackling Juventus in the first round and one can be sure that the Old Lady will want to bank three home points before its tricky second-up fixture versus fellow title contender Roma on the road.
Juventus beat Lazio 2-0 in the Italian Supercoppa Italiana to show that everything is fine within its camp and there was no shame in the Old Lady’s losses to Barcelona and Marseille during its pre-season program. Udinese lost to Bastia and Granada, results that were much more alarming.
Udinese has not scored a goal in any of its last five games against Juventus, all of them in Italian Serie A. Juventus has won each of its last four home matches versus Udinese, including last term’s corresponding league fixture 2-0.
Several bookmakers, including Bwin and William Hill, are offering odds of -333 about Juventus kicking off its Italian Serie A title defence in the ideal fashion and one thinks that those odds would not be so big if it was not the opening weekend. Odds of around -500 would be fair.
Finally, there is a considerable amount of hype surrounding the two San Siro sides – Internazionale and Milan – and one cannot help feeling that the latter is too short in the betting for its Italian Serie A opener at Fiorentina.
Milan finished last season’s Italian Serie A competition 12 points behind Fiorentina and the corresponding league game resulted in a 2-1 home win. The market on Sunday’s Italian Serie A is such that bookmakers rate Milan almost equal to Fiorentina and that is a view with which one disagrees.
One always likes to have the draw on one’s side in Italian Serie A matches so the bet that appeals is Fiorentina draw no bet at odds of -175 with 888Sport and Unibet. It is the same as backing Fiorentina on the Asian handicap with zero.
Lazio v Bologna Under 2.5 goals
22nd August 19:45 GMT
Juventus to beat Udinese
23rd August 17:00 GMT
Fiorentina to beat Milan DNB
23rd August 19:45 GMT
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