MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) has analysed Serie A’s two Monday night matches to bring us his best bets.
Genoa v Roma | Monday 18.00 | BT Sport Europe
The chase for a top-two finish in Serie A (and subsequent automatic qualification into the Champions League group phase) continues on Monday night as Roma bid to extend their 14-match unbeaten streak (W11-D3-L0) at the Marassi.
Luciano Spaletti’s side travel without Alessandro Florenzi and Miralem Pjanic with Maicon and Daniele De Rossi expected to plug the gaps here but it’s reason enough – alongside Genoa’s excellent home record – to swerve a punt on the Giallorossi.
The visitors have beaten the hosts in seven of their last eight meetings but haven’t completely convinced in victories over Napoli and Torino as well as draws against Bologna and Atalanta in recent weeks. So instead, I’ll happily take the goals option.
The capital club have seen both sides score in 11 of their unbeaten 14-match streak whilst seven of their most recent 11 have broken the Over 3.5 Goals barrier. When playing away, Roma have delivered four winning Over 3.5 Goals bets in five with all five featuring at least three goals.
The Giallorossi will need to chuck the kitchen sink at Genoa as they look to chase down the two-point deficit and although they’ve scored at least twice in each of their last six, the guests have kept their sheets clean just twice in 14 trips away.
Genoa are unbeaten in eight as hosts now, recording six shutouts in that spell. Gian Piero Gasperini’s troops have churned out five successive home triumphs and are never an easy nut to crack at the Marassi.
The home side can also welcome back Tomas Rincon to midfield but the oddly inconsistent Genoese have little left to play for bar pride and the expectant home crowd will be demanding the Rossoblu play their part in what’s expected to be an entertaining encounter.
Genoa may have seen all bar one of their last 16 home encounters with top-six teams fall below the 2.5 Goals line but I’ll overrule that trend to back Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score at odds-against quotes of 21/20 (Stan James).
The Rossoblu have netted in seven of their last eight and seen four of their most recent seven produce at least four goals.
Napoli v Atalanta | Monday 20.00 | BT Sport Europe
As already alluded to, the chase for second-place has really gotten interesting following Napoli’s loss in Rome last time out but the Partenopei can bounce back in style by brushing Atalanta aside with ease here.
Maurizio Sarri boasts a fully fit squad and having picked up 14 victories from their last 16 San Paolo outings – only Roma and AC Milan escaped with draws in that time – it would be a major surprise to see a depleted Atalanta side stop the Neapolitans here.
The Bergamo-based visitors picked up five points from their last three fixtures – most notably crossing the 40-point line to achieve safety – thanks to a 1-0 win over Chievo courtesy of a Marco Borriello volley. But with survival assured, Edy Reja’s charges could easily see a drop in intensity here.
La Dea are normally poor on their travels (W3-D11-L9) under Reja and that includes (W1-D5-L8) in their most recent 14. But Atalanta have failed to score in eight of those games, as well as in four of their five trips to the current top-six.
The guests are missing their two top scorers and their best centre-half for this journey and in the15 away days that Alejandro Gomez has missed, La Dea have W1-D7-L7, netting just six goals and losing six of those matches ‘to nil’.
Mauricio Pinilla, Carlos Carmona and Guglielmo Stendardo are all injured and Gabriel Paletta joins Gomez on the suspension list, leaving Reja without three of his most integral components.
Considering Napoli have won six of their 14 home wins ‘to nil’, plus the fact the Partenopei have shipped no more than one goal in the remaining 12 during their 16-match home streak, I’m happy to back the hosts to win ‘to nil’ at evens with Paddy Power.
Sarri’s side have seen off five of their last seven bottom-half visitors ‘to nil’ and scored at least twice in 29 of their previous 35 San Paolo encounters.
Veteran forward Marco Borriello is a threat for the visitors with four goals in three games but Atalanta’s absentees should come back to haunt them here.
Genoa v Roma – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (21/20 Stan James)
Napoli v Atalanta – Napoli to win ‘to nil’ (1/1 Paddy Power)