MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his betting thoughts ahead of Monday night’s double-header from Serie A.
Fiorentina v Parma | Monday 18.00 | BT Sport 1
Fiorentina were booed off the pitch by supporters following their 2-0 defeat at home to Sevilla on Thursday, ending their dreams of a place in the Europa League final. But La Viola boss Vincenzo Montella launched a firm defensive in his post-match press conference, claiming his side deserve more respect for their achievements this season.
After a really encouraging start to 2015, the Florence club have suffered elimination in the Coppa Italia semi-finals as well as in the Europa League whilst four successive Serie A losses in April put paid to their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League via a top-three finish.
Still, back-to-back wins over Empoli and Cesena in league action mean a place in next season’s Europa should be assured. And with in-form Slovenian international Josip Ilicic leading the line, La Viola will expect to record their third straight Serie A success for the first time this campaign when Parma visit the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Monday night.
Parma, who were condemned to relegation earlier this month, managed a creditable and deserved 2-2 draw with Napoli on home soil last weekend and are looking to end a bleak season on a high note. Declared bankrupt in April and with players unpaid since last summer, the Ducali coach Roberto Donadoni has been full of praise for his battling visitors.
The basement club have roused themselves for big games already this season – beating Juventus and Inter as well as drawing with Roma and seeing off nine-man Fiorentina in the reverse fixture but Parma have been extraordinarily bad on their travels. The visitors have collected just six points from their 17-away days (W1-D3-L13), leaking 43 goals.
So finding a slice of value from Monday night’s meeting isn’t easy. The Tuscan hosts have won without conceding in three of their last four when welcoming Parma but with eight of their previous 10 at the Franchi rewarding Both Teams To Score punters, I’m happy to look elsewhere for my best bet.
I’m going to plump for the 6/10 from Boylesports that Fiorentina win with Over 2.5 Goals in the game. The home side have seen Overs bank in 12/18 Serie A outings since January, including eight of their last 10 with an average of 3.5 goals-per-game plundered across those 10 fixtures.
Parma have broken both the 2.5 and 3.5 goals barriers in six of their last nine with their 17 away matches averaging 3.24 goals-per-game. The Ducali have conceded at least three goals in 7/17 road trips already this term.
Napoli v Cesena | Monday 20.00 | BT Sport 1
Rafael Benitez’s cup-winning formula didn’t rub off on his Napoli side last week. The Italians were dumped out of the Europa League following their loss in Dnipro putting extra emphasis and pressure on Monday night’s battle with already-relegated Cesena. T
he Naples outfit missed out on their first European final since 1988-89 and must now focus solely on a top-three finish if they’re to achieve their aims of Champions League football next season. Only a victory at the San Paolo will be tolerated.
Last weekend the Partenopei’s claims were dealt a major blow by a terrible performance away to Parma. Defensively they remain a muddle which could potentially pose problems against a Cesena side that do offer a threat in attacking areas.
The Seahorses may have suffered 18 defeats already this season and won just four games but Domenico Di Carlo’s charges have impressed when going forward, especially Franco Brienza and Gregoire Defrel. The visitors have netted in their last four and although they’ve failed to notch in Napoli since 1982, I fancy them to get on the scoresheet.
Both Teams To Score can be snapped up at 23/20 with Betfair and that looks far too big. With both Napoli and Cesena seeing BTTS bank in 11/17 (65%) of their home/away fixtures this term, we should be looking at odds closer to 8/15 than 23/20 based solely on those stats.
But I’m also going to put my faith in Napoli winning a high-scoring game. The hosts are unbeaten in eight at home in Serie A (W6-D2-L0) since Juventus visited on 11 January and having netted 17 goals in their last six league games, they should be able to out-score their doomed opponents.
We can back the home win with Both Teams To Score at 19/10 with 888 Sport.
Fiorentina v Parma – Fiorentina to win and Over 2.5 Goals (6/10 Boylesports)
Napoli v Cesena – Both Teams To Score (23/20 Betfair)
Napoli v Cesena – Napoli to win and Both Teams To Score (19/10 888 Sport)
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