MATCHDAY 10 in Serie A comes to a close on Thursday night with Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) tackling the betting angle when Sampdoria entertain Empoli.
Sampdoria v Empoli | Thursday 19.45 | BT Sport Europe
I have to admit, I raised both eyebrows when I checked the odds on this match. Sampdoria currently boast the second best Serie A home record (W4-D1-L0) and have scored 14 goals across those five fixtures. Include last season’s results and their form at their Marassi home reads W11-D11-L2.
Compare that return to the Blucerchiati’s one-point haul on the road this season and it’s easy to see where Walter Zenga's men do their best work. So to see 13/10 quotes from BetVictor on a home victory looks more than enticing.
It’s worth noting that Samp were rocked by the news that their president, Massimo Ferrero, has reportedly had assets worth over €1m seized by Italian tax authorities investigating suspected tax evasion but that shouldn't have too much of an effect on the players on the pitch.
Verona were thumped 4-1 on Sunday and with Eder scoring for fun alongside the irrepressible Luis Muriel and Roberto Soriano tucked in behind, the hosts have plenty of threats in the final third. Veteran Antonio Cassano remains benched as the thrilling front-three run opposition defences ragged.
Sampdoria have won seven of their last nine when hosting bottom-six sides and with eight victories from their previous nine when welcoming Empoli, I’m sure you’d agree, that 13/10 looks an excellent play. But knowing the Blucerchiati, a simple punt on a home win is unlikely to be straightforward.
Zenga’s troops have kept just a solitary clean sheet at the Marassi this season with 6/9 (67%) of their Serie A games resulting in winning Both Teams To Score bets. That’s a selection that’s proven profitable across the past two campaigns, despite their deadly home form – 14/24 (58%) of Marassi matches since the start of last season have also banked for BTTS backers.
Visitors Empoli overcame Genoa last time out to make it W3-D3-L0 in their last six league encounters but the Tuscans are struggling on their travels. Marco Giampaolo's side have lost five of their last six away games, conceding an average of 2.3 goals per game.
With the heart, spine and soul of the club leaving along with head coach Maurizio Sarri in the summer, Giampaolo's performed well to galvanise the group of youngsters this term and intriguingly, three of the 10 youngest goalscorers in this Serie A season play for Empoli: Leandro Paredes, Piotr Zielinski and Rade Krunic.
The Azzurri are also boosted by the return from suspension of their best individual performer Riccardo Saponara. Saponara’s scored three goals and created two in his six starts but as a team they did pretty well without him – winning two out of three games during his absence, compared with one out of six before that.
Empoli have W3-D10-L10 on the road since promotion back to Serie A at the start of 2014/15, keeping just three clean sheets. Their four away days this term have seen opponents strike eight times and they’ve been beaten in five of their previous eight trips to top-half clubs. So seeing them shutout and stop Sampdoria in the Marassi looks a tall order.
But as we’ve already heard, the Tuscans look well equipped to pinch a goal having scored in 17 of those 23 Serie A matches on their travels with a huge 15/23 (65%) also collecting for Both Teams To Score punters. So rather than playing the straight home win at 13/10, I’m going to boost the odds to 15/4 and back Sampdoria to win with BTTS with Bet365.
Sampdoria v Empoli – Sampdoria to win and Both Teams To Score (15/4 Bet365)
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