MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) highlights the best betting opportunities in Bank Holiday’s Rome derby from Serie A.
Lazio v Roma | Monday 17.00 | BT Sport 1
One of the great dates in Italian football is the Rome derby and there’s a strong argument to be had that Monday’s duel in the eternal city could well be one of the biggest Serie A battles between the capital giants in recent memory.
There’s Champions League qualification at stake. Visitors Roma know a point should be enough to secure a top-three finish, what with woeful travellers Palermo arriving in town next weekend.
But for Lazio, things aren’t quite so straightforward. Should the Biancocelesti lose out on Monday evening, their place in third will be particularly vulnerable. Nearest challengers Napoli are waiting in the wings and host Stefano Pioli’s men on the final day of the season in what’s likely to be a straight shootout for the Champions League, if Lazio fail to record maximum points against Roma.
It’s been a draining and morale-sapping week for the Eagles. Having impressively put Sampdoria away last weekend, Lazio toe-to-toe with Juventus in Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final only to end up on with a runners-up medal after 120 minutes of effort. Can they lift themselves for this crucial derby?
It would be a surprise if the Biancocelesti were unable to get up for this meeting but Stefan Radu’s been added to the ‘home’ side’s injury list along with Lucas Biglia and the eight-game winning streak from February through to April has given way to a run of just two wins from six in Serie A. During that streak, Pioli’s troops have only once scored more than one goal and that came at home to bankrupt Parma.
Opponents Roma have endured a mixed campaign. Rudi Garcia’s charges were on Juventus’ tail until December with the French coach boldly claiming the Giallorossi would finish top of the tree. But a run of W5-D12-L2 left the Wolves perilously close to dropping out of contention for a Champions League qualification place.
However, Roma have impressively picked their points-per-game average back up and their return of W5-D2-L2 has again put last season’s runners-up back in pole position for silver. The Giallorossi have won three of their last four and managed to find the back of the net in all bar three of their previous 20 Serie A outings.
The ‘away’ side also have the added advantage of enjoying a full week to rest and prepare for this showdown and I think there’s just enough juice in the prices to find a pro-Roma bet to cheer on for Monday night. BetVictor have made the Wolves a 5/6 shot off a +0.25 Asian Handicap start and that holds plenty of appeal.
Taking this selection means we’ll bag maximum profit should Roma come out on top but if the match ends in a draw, we’ll see half of our stake deemed a winner with the second half returned. The only way in which we’ll end up empty-handed is if Lazio pinch the points at the Stadio Olimpico.
With Roma coming out on top in just one visit to the top-12 (W1-D5-L4), things don't look too rosy for the visitors but it's also worth pointing out that Lazio have returned W2-D0-L4 at home to the top-eight this campaign with the three season prior to this record at home against the top four finishers has been just W2-D5-L4. The Asian Handicap bet gives us the insurance of having the draw onside.
I’m also going to have a small stab at Under 2.5 Goals. William Hill have chalked up the Unders bet at 10/11 and as already mentioned, Lazio have found scoring goals difficult of late and that’s led to four of their past six league matches featuring fewer than three goals.
As for Roma, they’ve managed more than one goal in just three of their most recent 15 road trips – at struggling Sassuolo, Atalanta and Cagliari. It’s also worth noting that five of the Giallorossi’s last six trips to top-six teams have seen fewer than three goals plundered with four games returning one or zero goals.
In terms of recent derby meetings, Roma are unbeaten in four league head-to-heads (W1-D3-L0) with four of the last showdowns in all competitions producing Under 2.5 Goals, meaning both our proposed bets fit in nicely. It's also worth mentioning that the past 10 meetings have produced 10 red cards – a repeat is available to back at 11/10 with 888 Sport.
Lazio v Roma – Roma +0.25 (5/6 BetVictor)
Lazio v Roma – Under 2.5 Goals (10/11 William Hill)
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