Roma to win another home match to nil

Weekend Italian Serie A matches – Saturday 18 January 2014

serie a logoSecond-from-top Roma is attractively priced at odds of 1.83 with Paddy Power Sports to beat second-from-bottom Livorno in what shapes as this weekend’s best Italian Serie A betting play.

Losing 0-3 at Juventus in its first Italian Serie A match after the Christmas break effectively ended its championship chance but Roma does not have time to feel sorry for itself, with Napoli breathing down its neck for Italy’s second automatic UEFA Champions League spot. It is pleasing that Roma has bounced back from its 0-3 loss at Juventus to beat Genoa and Sampdoria at home without conceding a single goal.

Roma has now won nine and drawn two of its 11 home matches across all competitions this term, conceding only two goals. Roma has won eight of those eight of those 11 matches to nil and it welcomes a Livorno side that looks set to return to Italian Serie B after just one season with the big boys.

Livorno’s Italian Serie A away record reads one win, one draw and seven losses, with its only victory coming against fellow promoted team Sassuolo four months ago. Livorno has failed to score a goal on the road since Leandro Rinaudo celebrated midway his side’s 1-2 loss at Verona towards the end of September 2013. As it stands, Livorno has not scored an away goal for six and a half games of football, which is 585 minutes, and it is about to play the top-flight team with the meanest defence, both at home and on the road.

With several really important Italian Serie A matches on the horizon for Livorno, including back-to-back games against Sassuolo and Catania, one could forgive for the relegation candidate going through the motions away to Roma. Losing to the likely silver medallist is not going to define Livorno’s season, whereas losing to Sassuolo and/or Catania would.

Roma beat Livorno 2-0 in the first round of Italian Serie A action, scoring two goals in three second-half minutes to post what was the first of its 10 consecutive victories.

Another side that enjoyed a comfortable win in the Italian Serie A opening round was Napoli and it is interesting at odds of 1.73 with Totesport to take care of Bologna again.

Napoli strolled to a 3-0 home victory over Bologna and, as Italian Serie A’s second best away team, it is deservedly odds on to defeat a Bologna side with a disappointing home record and only one success in last 10 games anywhere.

Admittedly, Napoli has come up short on the road versus the very best teams this term – its four defeats have occurred versus Arsenal, Dortmund, Juventus and Roma – but it has done the business against pretty much every other side, including strong home performer Verona last time out.

Bologna does not have the scoring power to go toe to toe with Napoli, even in front of its own fans. Bologna is averaging less than one goal per Italian Serie A match and it has scored just once in its last five league games. That was at home to mid-table Genoa last month, while Catania, Fiorentina, Juventus and Lazio have kept Bologna scoreless.

Finally, under two and a half goals in the Italian Serie A match between Udinese and Lazio appeals at odds of 1.67 with the UK’s Stan James sportsbook. Udinese’s 19 Italian Serie A games have featured 46 goals, only 18 of them scored by the Bianconeri. Ten of Udinese’s 19 Italian Serie A matches have gone under two and a half goals, including six of its 10 home games. Lazio’s 19 Italian Serie A matches have featured 49 goals and, as with Udinese, it has contributed fewer goals than its opponents. Eleven of Lazio’s 19 Italian Serie A games have gone under two and a half goals, including six of its 10 away matches.

The raw statistics do not support the odds of two and a half goals between Udinese and Lazio being much lower than 1.67 but most of their Italian Serie A games that have gone over the total have been because of the scoring power of their opponents. One fancies them to struggle to break down each other and that is why under two and a half goals appeals.

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