THE European season continues its relentless quest for conclusion on Tuesday and Jack Wright (@bet_shop_boys ) is on-hand to preview his favourite fancies.
Lecce vs Lazio | Tuesday 7th July 2020, 18:30 | Premier Sports
Lazio’s hopes of becoming the Campioni, Serie A champions, took a massive and probably decisive blow in their 3-0 home defeat to AC Milan on Saturday, however they could not have asked for a better fixture to keep that tiny flame of hope flickering.
Lecce have lost all four games since the restart making it six consecutive league defeats in total, with their 4-2 thumping at Sassuolo meaning the hosts have now conceded 70 goals in the competition, including 4+ in five of their last six, seeing the Apulia outfit slip into the relegation zone as a result.
The last thing a side in this kind of terrible form would want to face is the top scorer in the league, but the return from suspension of 29-goal Ciro Immobile means that is exactly what happens here, a situation magnified by the fact his partner in crime Felipe Caicedo should also return after his own enforced one game absence.
Serie A has been the go-to place for entertainment, without a single 0-0 since its resumption and an incredible 32 of the 44 games played at time of writing having seen Over 2.5 Goals, a whopping 73%!
These two sides do not buck that particular trend, with all of the Giallorossi’s last 10 league games featuring three or more goals while 14 out of the last 17 of their visitors’ road trips have also had crossed that market – the odds reflect that though at around 4/9 so too skinny to feature here, the addition of an away win does increase that figure to a slightly more appealing 4/5.
We have to go right back to 2011 for the last meeting between these two here – a 3-2 away win – so recent clashes are scarce although having won the reverse fixture in their own Stadio Olimpico 4-2, with Immobile inevitably on-target, Simone Inzaghi’s title-chasers are firm favourites to claim all three points.
So with this in mind, I cast my eye towards markets to reflect that. Lazio/Lazio in the Half Time/Full Time market at 21/20 appealed on face value so I dug a little deeper only to be surprised at what I found.
From 14 away games the Biancocelesti have won three times when taking a lead in to the interval and although Lecce have been trailing on both the half-time and full-time whistle at their Stadio Via del Mare on four occasions not once has that been against the other members of the current top-five. League-leaders Juventus, Inter in third and fifth-placed Roma all went in at the break goalless while Atalanta currently in fourth, despite winning here 7-2 were tied 2-2 after 45 minutes.
Although we could be in for a fast start here as there has been a goal inside 10 minutes in each of Le Aquile’s last three road trips – Bet365 offer odds of 5/2 of another– those three 0-0 half-time scores against the best Serie A has to offer has put me off Lazio/Lazio despite their fine record of scoring in 11/14 (79%) before the interval.
I simply can’t ignore Lecce’s atrocious current form though and with a fresh Immobile in opposition I very much like the look of taking the away side on the Asian Handicap. Having scored two or more goals in nine of the last 11 away games Inzaghi’s side should have a field day here against the worst home defence in the league – a team who have now shipped a total of 32 goals in front of their own fans (you know what I mean!) and an incredible 13 in the last three. Lazio -1.5 is almost evens with Bet365.
How will the current league runners up find a way to goal? It could well be from the spot, as after 30 games, they top the league in penalties won with 15. However, Tuesday’s opponents, despite their lowly position, aren’t far behind sitting third in that particular table having been given the opportunity to score from 12 yards on no fewer than 12 occasions, although they have also given 12 penalties away, seven more than their opponents.
Fresh from pointing to the spot in Juventus’s 4-1 dismissal of Torino on Saturday, Fabio Maresca is the man in charge for this battle in southern Italy. Maresca is responsible for giving one of those aforementioned five penalties Lazio have conceded and has awarded a further four from his 14 Serie A appointments this season – an average of 0.36 per-game.
With a total of 27 penalties from a combined 60 matches we are looking at a 45% implied probability so the bookies odds of 7/4 (Unibet) implying a 36% chance gives us a little in our favour.
Those of you with a more aggressive nature may like to side with the favourites given their expected dominance here and odds of 2/1 (33%) may appeal for a side that have a 50% implied chance of being awarded another spot kick here – their last one was three games ago at home to Fiorentina. For me and this piece, I will settle for either side to be given a penalty at 7/4 with Unibet.