CARD king Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) is back in Italy on Sunday for his next dollop of bookings value.
Atalanta v Fiorentina | Sunday 11:30 | BT Sport
Surprise outfit Atalanta host Fiorentina in Sunday morning action in Serie A.
The hosts are currently fourth in the table having won four consecutive league games. Fiorentina's form is altogether patchier with W2-D2-L2 in their last six Serie A matches.
What interests me here is the appointment of Marco Guida as the match referee.
Time of first card
The 35 year-old from Pompei loves an early card. In 2015/16, he typically issued his first card in the 21st minute of matches. That is well below average.
This season in Italy's top flight his average time of first card is 27 minutes but that is inflated by a couple of late first cards such as 58th minute in last week’s routine Roma win over lacklustre Torino.
The average time of first card in Atalanta's last five matches is 27.4 minutes and for Fiorentina it is 27.2 minutes.
The last meeting between these two teams in October saw Atalanta's Mattia Caldara collect the first card in the eighth minute. The past five head-to-head meetings in the league have seen average time of 18.6 minutes for the first card to be shown.
The betting angle
An early kick-off can be a slight worry in this market but leopards rarely change their spots and Guida does tend to reach for his cards earlier than most other referees. Therefore, I'm recommending ‘A Card Before 24.00' at 5/6 with Bet365.
Another interesting footnote is since booking Lazio's Stefan Radu first against Juventus at the start of the season, Guida has incredibly carded a player from the away team first in eight straight matches.
If you fancy it, he is 7/10 with William Hill to continue that trend this weekend by carding Fiorentina first.
Atalanta v Fiorentina – A Card Before 24.00 (5/6 Bet365)