Udinese escaped relegation from Italian Serie A last season by the skin of its teeth but the Little Zebras may not be so lucky in the 115th edition of Italy’s football championship.
The second half of last term’s Italian Serie A was a mess for Udinese, which accrued the lowest number of points in the final 19 rounds of the tournament. Udinese picked up just 15 points in the reverse round of Italian Serie A to finish on 39 points, only one point more than relegated Carpi. Udinese has been ever present in Italian Serie A since 1995 but its good fortune may be about to expire.
One of the reasons that one is keen to oppose Udinese is that Giampaolo Pozzo and his family may have their eyes elsewhere. Pozzo sold his controlling interest in Spanish Primera Division team Granada to a Chinese businessman a couple of months ago but he and his relatives remain up to their eyeballs in English Premier League side Watford. The riches on offer in the English Premier League dwarf those available in Italian Serie A and one fears that Udinese may not be the primary concern of Udine-born Pozzo any more.
Giuseppe Iachini is the new Udinese manager and his record does not inspire confidence. Iachini has guided four sides out of Italian Serie B into Italian Serie A but he has yet to complete a full season in the top flight, always leaving with his teams either in the relegation zone or close to it.
Several bookmakers, including 888Sport and Unibet, are offering odds of +650 about Udinese relinquishing its Italian Serie A membership. That represents the best value bet of the Italian Serie A futures because Juventus has sucked all the life out of the championship market.
Juventus made a terrible start to last term’s Italian Serie A, failing to win any of its opening three games and being victorious just once in its first six matches. But Juventus rallied magnificently to end up nine Italian Serie A points better off than Napoli and that was in spite of losing 1-2 at relegated Verona in its penultimate divisional game.
Paul Pogba has returned to Manchester United – albeit for much more money than that which changed hands when he quit the Red Devils for Juventus four years ago – but one would argue that Juventus has an even stronger squad despite the departure of the France midfielder. Juventus has acquired the services of Dani Alves, Mehdi Benatia, Gonzalo Higuain, Marko Pjaca and Miralem Pjanic, with the arrivals of Higuain and Pjanic not only boosting the Old Lady but also weakening Napoli and Roma respectively.
Juventus has taken a leaf out of Bayern Munchen’s playbook because the perennial German Bundesliga champion has been buying stars from its major domestic rivals for several seasons. Bookmakers think that the strategy will pay dividends for Juventus and one cannot make a case for anything other than an Old Lady title win.
Many bookmakers, including Betfair, Coral and Paddy Power, are quoting odds of -227 about a sixth Italian Serie A championship in a row for Juventus. If anything, those odds are over the top because surely Juventus would win this term’s Italian Serie A more than 70 per cent of the time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either backing Juventus in a single wager for a large stake or including the Old Lady in a multiple bet on various football leagues.
Udinese to be Relegated
Serie A 2016/17
Juventus to win the Title
Serie A 2016/17