CARD king Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) is eyeing up the opening weekend of Serie A for his latest bookings bet.
Palermo v Sassuolo | Sunday 19.45
Serie A action returns this weekend and naturally most people will be focusing on events in Turin, Milan and Rome. However, I believe that the real opportunity lies in Scilly as Palermo host Sassuolo.
The main reason for this optimism is the referee, Luca Pairetto. It’s fair to say he has refereeing history on his 32-year-old shoulders.
His father, Pierluigi Pairetto, was the Italian vice chairman of the UEFA Referees Committee until the summer of 2006, when it was discovered that he had been in regular telephone contact with Juventus chief executive Luciano Moggi regarding which referees would be selected for Juventus’ UEFA Champions League fixtures.
As a result of his involvement in this scandal, he initially received a ban of two years and six months from football, although this was later increased to three-and-a-half years.
Young Luca has had to live with his father’s actions but is now carving out his own career.
Regular readers of this column might recall that we identified him last September when he was promoted to take charge of a Serie A game, ironically this one – Palermo v Sassuolo in Scilly.
He gave nine cards that day and has given an average of 7.30 cards-per-game in his limited top-flight action so far.
In 2015/16, Pairetto gave out 16 red cards in just 22 league appearances. He averaged 7.27 cards-per-game.
The last four meetings between these two teams have had second-half card totals of 4-7-3-8 at an average of 5.50 cards-per-game.
This whisteblower gave 4+ cards after the interval in 15/22 matches (68%) and he averaged 4.82 cards after the half-time oranges were shared last season.
In his three previous Serie A games this selection has won every time and so I’m confidently recommending Over 3 Second-Half Cards at 19/20 with William Hill.
Palermo v Sassuolo – Over 3 Second-Half Cards (19/20 William Hill)