MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) delivered on the European scene on Tuesday night. Next he’s hunting Serie A for Wednesday night winners.
Roma v Udinese | Wednesday 19.45 | BT Sport Europe
Roma are top of the tree in Italy thanks to a four-match winning streak that included an away success at Fiorentina last weekend. It’s been a tremendous turnaround for the Giallorossi who opened their account with only two victories from their first five and now attention has turned to having a serious crack at a first Scudetto since 2001.
Rudi Garcia’s men have been electric in front of goal too. Their 22-goal haul is comfortably the highest total in Serie A and although top scorer Mo Salah sits out the clash with Udinese on Wednesday through suspension, Roma still boast enough attacking quality in their ranks to continue a run of netting at least twice in seven of their previous eight Serie A fixtures.
The Wolves have now gone 20 consecutive league games without being blanked – their best run since 2008 – and have fired in more shots-on-target than any other side in Serie A this season. Wednesday’s hosts have suffered just three losses in 38 at their Stadio Olimpico home in league football now too and will be fancied to see off Udinese.
However, it might not be quite so straightforward. For all the eulogies surrounding Roma’s sensational offensive play, Garcia’s troops have struggled to keep the goals out at the other end. The Giallorossi have kept a solitary clean sheet in 13 league matches now and must also do without midfield general Daniele De Rossi through suspension.
De Rossi has missed 16 games since the start of last season and Roma have won just six times without him. The last five home matches he’s missed have resulted in draws against Atalanta, Sampdoria, Parma, Empoli and Sassuolo so an Udinese side that’s W2-D2-L0 in their previous four will fancy their chances.
The Zebrette picked up a decent 1-0 win at home to Frosinone at the weekend but this is a big step up in class, especially with the unavailable services of Toto Di Natale and Duvan Zapata. Stefano Colantuono is likely to switch from a 3-5-2 to 3-5-1-1 to accommodate Cyril Thereau as the lone striker but I still expect the visitors to prove a threat on the break.
Despite the absences, I still expect Roma to get the job done. Udinese have been beaten in nine of their last 12 at top-six teams with Both Teams To Score proving profitable in eight of Roma’s nine games and Over 2.5 Goals backers collecting in 14/17 Udinese trips to top-six clubs, we might be treated to a high-scoring encounter.
I’ll have a wee play on 888’s 11/5 that Roma win and Both Teams Score. BTTS has banked in 52% of each side’s 23 respective home/away fixtures since the start of last season and this bet’s been successful in five of Roma’s last seven home Serie A successes and three of Udinese’s previous six away losses.
The hosts have beaten the Zebrette in 13 of their last 19 league meetings whilst eight of the last nine head-to-heads at the Olimpico saw both sides scoring.
Atalanta v Lazio | Wednesday 19.45 | BT Sport Extra
It took Lazio a while but finally the capital club appear to be finding their feet in 2015/16. Exiting the Champions League at the qualifying stage really hit Stefano Pioli’s team hard and coupled with a long injury list; the Biancocelesti struggled in the early parts of the new campaign.
But Lazio’s weekend success over Torino has kept the club in touch with the leading pack as they made in four wins from five. There’s still plenty of work to be done if the Eagles are hoping to fly as high as last season’s third-place finish and the bulk of that improvement needs to be done on the road.
The Biancocelesti have been beaten in three of their most recent four away matches, conceding 12 goals in total. And so whilst I’m expecting that record to level out in the coming weeks as key players return, it’s just not worth entering the Match Odds market on Wednesday night with a tricky trip to Atlanta in store.
La Dea remain unbeaten on home soil this term (W3-D1-L0) and have leaked just twice across those four fixtures. But three of those four games came against sides currently occupying the bottom-four. Still, with eight of the 11 goals Edy Reja’s men have notched coming at their Bergamo base, a goals angle looks the obvious solution.
Over 2.5 Goals has proven a winning selection in 13/18 Atalanta outings at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia with Lazio following suit in 11 of their last 16 on their travels, including their most recent five. But I’m going to play it a little safer and back Both Teams To Score at 5/6 quotes with 10BET.
BTTS has banked in a huge 16/23 (70%) of La Dea’s matches in front of their home fans since the start of last season as well as 12/23 (52%) of Lazio’s away days. Between the two clubs, they’ve failed to net in just 9/46 (19%) of their respective home/away Serie A matches across the same sample, keeping a combined 12/46 (26%) shutouts.
Hellas Verona v Fiorentina | Wednesday 19.45 | BT Sport Extra
It’s 19 games without a Serie A draw for Fiorentina now (W12-D0-L7) and having won on their previous three trips to Verona, La Viola will be hoping to return to winning ways on Wednesday night following their disappointing home loss to Roma.
Paulo Sousa’s charges put in a solid display but surrendered their place at the top of the table. The Florence-based club will be looking to snap their two-match losing streak against a Hellas side that’s failed to win over the first nine match-days of a Serie A campaign for only the third occasion in their history.
Verona’s winless streak has been made all the harder thanks to a long and punishing injury list. Last season’s top Serie A goalscorer Luca Toni remains sidelined and key performers Emil Hallfredsson and Romulo are also absent. Things are so bad, Giampaolo Pazzini will be rushed into the starting XI despite not being fit.
Andrea Mandorlini's job is at risk after a lifeless display against Sampdoria and he seems unable to stop the stem of goals going in against the Gialloblu. Verona are now 16 games without a clean sheet but they have been managing to find the net themselves – Hellas have notched in six of their last seven games and in 20 of 23 at home since the start of last season (14 of which saw three goals or more).
With Fiorentina having scored in 16 consecutive outings also, we can immediately look towards the goals markets. A huge 15/19 of La Viola’s recent away days (including nine of the last 10) have featured three or more goals with 11/19 even breaking the Over 3.5 Goals barrier.
Recent head-to-heads have also been fruitful for goals-based punters – the last five have featured an average of 4.4 goals-per-game – and so Marathon’s offering of 15/16 that Over 2.5 Goals comes in again looks an excellent play. But I’ll also have a punt on Fiorentina winning and Both Teams To Score at a huge 14/5 with Boylesports.
La Viola have won 13 of their last 14 at bottom-six teams and their average 64% possession this season suggests Sousa’s visitors can dominate proceedings. The away side has won 11/23 (48%) of their road trips in Serie A since 2014/15 and recorded 15/23 (65%) of winning BTTS bets – seven of those 11 victories were bagged with BTTS winners. Hellas have been involved with 17/23 (74%) of successful Both Teams To Score plays during the same timeframe.
Napoli v Palermo | Wednesday 19.45 | BT Sport Extra
Sixteen points from a possible 18 have lifted Napoli back into the top-three and former bank manager Maurizio Sarri is beginning to win over disgruntled Partenopei supporters. The Azzurri are unbeaten since the opening day (W5-D3-L0) and have only conceded twice in their most recent six league fixtures.
Unsurprisingly, Gonzalo Higuain has been the main man for Sarri. The Argentine hitman has scored nine goals in all competitions this term and also hit nine in his last 10 Serie A games. And even if the star striker is rested at the San Paolo this midweek, I’d still expect Napoli to get the job done.
Since the start of last season, the Azzurri have W14-D6-L3 on home soil whilst Palermo have lost 10/23 (43%) of their away days. Admittedly, the Sicilians have won four of their last six games on the road but four losses from seven this season more or less wipe that return out and their road record at the San Paolo reads one win in 21 and that came back in 1951/52.
Giuseppe Iachini is likely to field the same team that got a point against Inter and won at Bologna with the Rosanero’s first attempts to try and stall the hosts. But an early goal could easily change the whole complexion of this duel and so taking a goals-based angle alongside the home win looks a decent option.
Napoli’s last 22 home fixtures in Serie A have seen 18 feature three or more goals (including the last nine) with a further 12 producing at least four goals. In all bar two of those matches the Azzurri struck at least twice themselves.
Palermo have scored in each of their last six away games and in 12 of 13 home or away. All of their trips to top-half finishers last season had at least two goals with six having three or more. Meanwhile, the Rosanero’s matches this term against Inter, Roma and Milan have all seen BTTS bank with two of the three games even breaking the Over 4.5 Goals barrier.
And finally, the last three head-to-heads have thrown up 16 goals in total with six of the previous seven resulting in winning Over 2.5 Goals plays. I’ll take Napoli to win and Over 2.5 Goals at 5/6 with Boylesports.
Roma v Udinese – Roma to win and Both Teams To Score (11/5 888)
Atalanta v Lazio – Both Teams To Score (5/6 10Bet)
Hellas Verona v Fiorentina – Over 2.5 Goals (15/16 Marathon)
Hellas Verona v Fiorentina – Fiorentina to win and Both Teams To Score (14/5 Boylesports)
Napoli v Palermo – Napoli to win and Over 2.5 Goals (5/6 Boylesports)
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