Bookmakers know that they can afford to go a little bit out of a limb when it comes to quoting odds about draws because punters prefer to back teams to win but sometimes there are more than sufficient grounds to have a bet on a stalemate.
Sunday’s Italian Serie A game between Sassuolo and Empoli is unlikely to generate much attention other than among the two supporter groups but it is the match that interests one most out of Round 26’s 10 games because there is little to separate the mid-ranking sides on several measures.
First, there is the Italian Serie A ladder on which Sassuolo is positioned eighth with a 8-11-6 record and 35 points, one more than ninth-placed Empoli. The Italian Serie A season will enter its final third this weekend and 25 rounds is a reasonable guide in any competition. And it just so happens that one’s Italian Serie A collateral form supports the view that Sassuolo and Empoli are of roughly the same ability.
According to one’s Italian Serie A collateral form analysis, Sassuolo and Empoli are tied at 8-3-8. Moreover, October’s reverse Italian Serie A fixture was heading for a 0-0 draw until Massimo Maccarone scored for Empoli with two minutes of normal time remaining – Piotr Zielinski was sent off in the dying seconds as the Blues hung on for their lives.
One is struggling to split Sassuolo and Empoli and the fact that neither team has a recent win under its belt – both the Black and Greens and the Blues have to go back to Round 19 of Italian Serie A for the last time that they celebrated victory – means that it is fair to expect a nervy match between a couple of sides that have forgotten how to win.
Marathonbet is offering odds of +235 that Sassuolo and Empoli share the Italian Serie A spoils and that strikes one as the clear value play – one could not dive into the Black and Greens at around even money and the Blues merit being the outsiders because they have collected just one away point from their fourth road assignments at top-eight teams.
Roma is the hottest Italian Serie A favourite of the round and, in what shapes as a tough set of games, the Yellow and Reds do look the safest wager at odds of -270 with Marathonbet to beat Palermo on Sunday. Roma enjoys a 12-3-4 Italian Serie A collateral form lead over Palermo and October’s reverse fixture resulted in a 4-2 win for the Yellow and Reds – that match was all over as a contest before the half-hour mark since Roma led 3-0 inside 27 minutes.
Domestically, Roma is on a four-game winning streak whereas Palermo has not posted an Italian Serie A victory over a side ranked higher than 10th and it caught Bologna – the 10th-placed team currently – during its dark days. Palermo is 0-3-8 in its 11 Italian Serie A matches against sides positioned first to ninth and it has had the benefit of playing seven of those games in front of its own fans.
One appreciates that odds of 1.37 are not everyone’s cup of tea so, with regards to Roma, the best bet is the Yellow and Reds to defeat Palermo by more than one goal at +100 with Coral, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. Roma is Italian Serie A’s second highest scorer so one can trust it to rustle the net and Palermo has been more than one goal inferior to the division’s top four teams in each of its four matches versus Juventus, Napoli, Fiorentina and the Yellow and Reds.
Internazionale rounds out one’s Italian Serie A punting portfolio at odds of -161 with BetVictor to beat Sampdoria on Saturday. One is including Internazionale because of its 14-0-5 Italian Serie A collateral form edge over Sampdoria, although one is slightly concerned that the Black and Blues have no fewer than three regulars serving suspensions.
Finally, here are one’s Italian Serie A collateral form analysis results for every one of Round 26’s 10 games. The asterisk signifies the direct head-to-head winner.
Bologna 4-3-12* versus Juventus
Verona 5*-1-13 versus Chievo
Internazionale 14*-0-5 versus Sampdoria
Torino 12-2-5* versus Carpi
Sassuolo 8-3-8* versus Empoli
Atalanta 5-2-12* versus Fiorentina
Genoa 8*-4-7 versus Udinese
Frosinone 5-1-13* versus
Lazio Roma 12*-3-4 versus Palermo
Napoli 10*-6-3 versus Milan
Sassuolo and Empoli to Draw
Sunday 21st February, 14:00 GMT
Roma to beat Palermo
Sunday 21st February, 19:45 GMT
Inter Milan to beat Sampdoria
Saturday 20th February, 19:45 GMT
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