THE European season continues its relentless quest for conclusion on Thursday and Jack Wright (@bet_shop_boys ) is on-hand to preview his favourite fancies.
Two games remain this week to complete Round 35 in Serie A. Cagliari visit Lazio in a game I find impossible to call – the home team looking safe in fourth but without a win in five, welcome Walter Zenga’s mid-table team whose winless run stretches one further to six, but including four draws.
Lazio games produce goals – 74% in total and seven of the last eight cross the Over 2.5 line, but the guests’ games are generally low scoring with 17 of their 34 league games so far and five of their last six, seeing two goals or fewer.
Sometimes no bet is the best bet…
The other fixture on Thursday I really like the look of is champions-elect Juventus aiming to take a giant stride towards clinching another Scudetto as they visit a Udinese side who know a shock win will effectively end their fears of relegation.
This is the game I will put my focus on.
Udinese v Juventus | Thursday 23rd July 2020, 18:30 | Premier Sports
This time last week the home side may have really fancied their chances of taking the biggest scalp in Italian football after a clean sheet and valuable point at home to Champions League-chasing Lazio, while the league leaders had just completed their third match without victory, wobbling to a 3-3 draw at Sassuolo.
But with games coming thick and fast, the Old Lady steadied their ship at the weekend claiming maximum points from their own battle with the side from Rome as Le Zebrette threw away a lead and fell to a 94th minute 2-1 defeat at the hands of Napoli.
Maurizio Sarri’s side go in to this clash six points clear of second-placed Atalanta and it looks a case of when, not if, they will claim a ninth successive title. The veteran manager will want to clinch top honours as soon as possible so he can turn his attentions to overturning a 1-0 deficit as Lyon visit the Allianz Stadium for their Champions League fixture early next month.
The men from Turin are of course red-hot favourites at a best priced 4/7, visiting a side who have yet to win in their own stadium since the restart, extending their winless run to seven since a 3-0 victory over Sassuolo back in January.
Despite losing the last six to Thursday’s opponents in all competitions having fallen behind in the first half, curiously, considering that poor run of form and precarious league position, Luca Gotti’s hosts have only been losing at half-time on one occasion when playing at home this season, which is enough to put me off Juventus/Juventus in the Half Time/Full Time market.
After their opening game upon returning to league action, a 2-0 away win at Bologna, the Bianconeri have seen the Over 2.5 Goals line crossed in every one of their seven matches, a run thta may not be as certain to continue as you would necessarily think.
The hosts have the division’s lowest goals per-game average with just seven of their 17 matches at their Stadio Friuli seeing the net bulge on three or more occasions, failing to score themselves seven times. Personally, I feel given both sides recent inconsistencies, there is enough doubt in predicting many of the main markets, so I am instead going to focus on two individuals.
The irrepressible Cristiano Ronaldo notched his 30th league goal of the season in that aforementioned victory over Lazio. Emphasising still further, as if it was necessary, that he is showing no signs of diminishing powers – that’s actually the first time he has reached that particular goalscoring milestone since the 2015/16 season when he smashed 35 La Liga strikes for Real Madrid.
The 35-year-old is an odds-on (4/6) shot to find a way past Juan Musso, 12/5 to be the man to break the deadlock or 12/1 to claim just his second match ball of the season.
Looking at his recent output it is no wonder the goals are continuing to flow at a remarkable rate – the Portuguese superstar has found the net in seven of his sides eight post-lockdown league games, scoring nine times from a staggering 55 attempts at goal.
Looking at the odds available with Poker Stars I saw we could get better than evens for CR7 to chance his arm on six or more occasions – considering he has hit double figures in his last two outings my eyes lit up – in fact go back further and in the last 11 league games Ronaldo has covered that line nine times (82%), also having seven attempts in the reverse fixture – so the 11/10 is, for me, a great price.
De Paul to put Juve under pressure
Now, the Friulani have their own talisman and for those of you with a good memory you will be able to recall a winning bet I posted on him at the start of the month. I really can’t wait to see Rodrigo de Paul attempt to outperform the oppositions number seven – for I am sure he will try.
Having opened the scoring for his side last time out at Napoli, and with goals in two of his last four games, the Argentine comes into this match up in good form.
In my opinion Udinese’s key man, having Juventus dominate the ball could play to one of his strengths as he poses a strong counter-attacking threat and loves to strike from distance, this is highlighted by his two home games against the other members of the top four.
Five shots against third-placed Inter, three outside the box, one on target and six strikes against fourth-placed Lazio only eight days ago, four outside the area, two making the keeper work, with one hitting the woodwork.
With Thursday’s visitors not at their rock steady best, I’m expecting the 26-year-old to have chances to do what he enjoys best, after all Sassuolo were allowed to rain in 22 shots at Wojciech Szczesny’s goal in Juve’s last away game.
Three or more shots is well within reach for de Paul and is a line he has covered in three of his last four games – we can play this with Poker Stars at 4/5 although for those of you loving to live on the wild side the same firm offer 12/1 he repeats the feat of hitting the woodwork!
SkyBet have a combined shots multiple that given all I have written above I had to add to this piece, both the featured players to have 5+ shots on target between them – we should get a run for this at odds of 11/4 and also if either player takes no part in the match the bet is void.
Udinese v Juventus – Cristiano Ronaldo 6+ Shots (11/10 Poker Stars)
Udinese v Juventus – Rodrigo de Paul 3+ Shots (4/5 Poker Stars)
Udinese v Juventus – Rodrigo de Paul and Cristiano Ronaldo to have 5+ shots on-target between them (11/4 Sky Bet)