THE Serie A season comes to a close this weekend and Mark O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) in the hot-seat to bring us his favourite best from Italy.
Fiorentina v Chievo | Sunday 19.45
The Stadio Artemio Franchi will host Fiorentina’s meeting with Chievo and with four straight wins having ensured La Viola will qualify for next season’s Europa League, spirits are high in one of the peninsula’s most romantic and picturesque cities.
And although 10 of Fiorentina’s past 12 home Serie A games have broken the two-goal barrier, Vincenzo Montella’s men have actually seen fewer than three goals in 12/18 (67%) of their Florence duels and I’m keen to find an angle to oppose goals again this weekend.
Choosing ‘No’ in the BTTS column has been chalked up as an 11/10 chance with BetVictor and I’d like to think that Chievo’s credentials for a low-scoring clash make this bet a distinct possibility for Sunday night and a far bigger price than I probably expected, especially when you consider the impact that Rolando Maran has made since taking over as Chievo boss in mid-October.
A former Gialloblu defender, Maran has led the Flying Donkeys to a hugely respectable W9-D12-L9 under his watch. Over a 38-game season, Chievo’s 1.3 points-per-game under the new man in the dugout would have produced a 49-point total – enough for a mid-table finish.
But incredibly, only seven of those 30 fixtures resulted in Over 2.5 Goals as the Gialloblu kept 13 clean sheets, conceding two or more goals in just six games. The BTTS bet has proven a winning selection in 11/30 (37%) including four of their last 14 outings.
And opposing Both Teams To Score has proven a successful formula in a huge 14/18 (78%) of Chievo’s road trips this season with the visitors failing to even notch a goal in eight of those games.
With bookmakers all catching up on the goal glut in Serie A this season by offering unbackable prices on goal-heavy games this weekend, it may pay to go against the grain this time around and take a value price. The Fiorentina-Chievo clash fits that bill and I’ll be involved at BetVictor’s bulbous offering of 11/10.
Torino v Cesena | Sunday 19.45
It may also pay to oppose goals in Torino’s clash with already-relegated Cesena on Sunday night. Under 2.5 Goals has been priced up as a 13/8 (Coral) chance and once again, it’s a price that should hold plenty of appeal to punters.
Three defeats in four have ended Torino’s hopes of European qualification next season but Giampiero Ventura’s charges will be hoping to sign-off with a win in front of their adoring Stadio Olimpico support in Turin.
The Granata have often struggled to bag maximum points, especially at home (W7-D7-L4), with their failure to cut loose often coming back to haunt. But the Bulls remain hugely consistent when going low on goals – a massive 14/18 (78%) of home league matches have seen Under 2.5 Goals bank.
Cesena aren’t anywhere near as routine in the low goals department but Domenico Di Carlo’s team have proven a tough assignment for Napoli, Fiorentina and Genoa in their most recent three road trips and could easily make life difficult for their hosts.
The Seahorses have returned only 7/18 (39%) of Under 2.5 Goals winners but with the visitors failing to net in seven of their last 16 outings, coupled with Torino’s overwhelming trends, it’s hard to ignore the inflated price on another low-scoring encounter.
Sampdoria v Parma | Sunday 19.45
Parma’s nightmare season comes to a close on Sunday night. Declared bankrupt in April and with players unpaid since last summer, the Ducali coach Roberto Donadoni has been full of praise for his battling visitors.
The basement club have roused themselves for big games already this season – beating Juventus and Inter as well as drawing with Roma and seeing off nine-man Fiorentina but Parma have been extraordinarily bad on their travels. The visitors have collected just six points from their 18-away days (W1-D3-L14), leaking 46 goals.
So on paper, finding a spot of value for their trip to Sampdoria shouldn’t be easy. But BetVictor’s 17/10 on the home win ‘to nil’ stands out. By my calculations, odds closer to 31/20 should be expected based on the season’s Serie A trends so I’ll happily get stuck in on the overpriced 17/10.
Sampdoria punched above their weight for the majority of the campaign but a return of W1-D4-L4 in their last nine has seen Siniša Mihajlović’s men drop out of the top-six. Still, the Blucerchiati have secured Europa League qualification for next season and so there’s still plenty to celebrate.
Samp tend to do their best business at their Marassi base (W7-D9-L2). Both losses have come in their past two outings against treble-chasing Juventus and high-flying Lazio but the hosts have returned 14 points from a possible 18 when entertaining clubs in 14th and below. The Blucerchiati have kept four clean sheets in those six fixtures.
All-in-all, the win ‘to nil’ has proven a winning selection in five of Sampdoria’s seven home league wins – that’s 28% across all 18 Marassi matches. But with nine of Parma’s 14 road defeats also coming ‘to nil’ and a 50% strike-rate on their travels, the price looks a little too generous to ignore on Sunday night.
Fiorentina v Chievo – Both Teams To Score ‘No’ (11/10 BetVictor)
Torino v Cesena – Under 2.5 Goals (13/8 Coral)
Sampdoria v Parma – Sampdoria to win ‘to nil’ (17/10 BetVictor)
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