Odds Update for the 2020/21 Serie A Title – Will There Be a New Champion This Season?
As we head into Matchday 11 of the 2020/21 Serie A season, something doesn’t look quite right at the top of the table.
At this stage of the campaign, Juventus is usually miles clear of the rest of the league. The Old Lady normally has the Scudetto more or less wrapped up by now. But with over a quarter of the season already gone, it is clear that Cristian Ronaldo and co. aren’t going to have it all their own way this time around.
Frontrunner AC Milan currently leads rival Inter by a whopping five points at the top, while Napoli and Juventus are trailing six points off the pace. With Sassuolo, Roma, and Lazio all in hot pursuit, it’s safe to say that the Serie A title race is wide open.
Naturally, the question on everyone’s lips is – can anyone stop Juventus from clinching a tenth straight Scudetto?
In this post, I check out the bookmakers’ latest Serie A title odds. I also analyze what’s going on at Juventus, discuss AC Milan’s chances, and look at the other contenders.
Latest Serie A Title Odds for 2020/21
Let’s start by seeing what the bookies make of this season’s Serie A title race.
I guess the first obvious thing that stands out here is that Juventus (3.40) isn’t currently the favorite to defend their crown.
Despite sitting five points off the top, Inter Milan (3.10) is the bookmakers’ choice at this stage, although it is worth noting that the odds gaps between the two frontrunners is very tight.
AC Milan (4.00) has managed to establish a big lead already, yet their lack of recent title-race experience means the current league leaders are the bookies’ third-favorite at the moment.
Napoli (6.00) is still an expected challenge, but the prices jump up drastically when you get to Roma (19.00), Atalanta (21.00), and Lazio (41.00).
Can Juventus Make it 10 in a Row?
Let’s get one thing straight – Andrea Pirlo’s men may find themselves six points off the pace, but they are still yet to taste defeat in Serie A this term.
Of course, we have become accustomed to Juventus winning pretty much every domestic game over the past decade. But I think it is important to remember that a record of five wins and five draws is still highly commendable, especially in a league as though as the Italian top-flight.
However, when you set the bar as high as the Bianconeri has in recent years, any slight lapse in form is always going to be scrutinized.
Too Many Draws
I don’t think we need to look too far into the ties against Roma, Lazio, and Verona. The clubs from the capital are more than capable of challenging the top teams in the country on their day, while Verona is a solid side.
But the draws with newly-promoted Crotone and Benevento were shock results – there is no hiding from that.
Crotone has only managed to pick up two points from ten games this term, one of which came against Juventus. Benevento has lost half of their matches in 2020/21, yet the newcomers were able to frustrate the defending champions.
Big victories over Sampdoria (3-0) and Spezia (4-1) prove that Pirlo’s men are still a huge threat. But there is no denying that the Old Lady is looking distinctly frail this season.
Pirlo Must Prove Himself
We all know that Pirlo is one of the greatest midfielders of all time, but has he got what it takes to guide the Bianconeri to glory in his very first season as a head coach? After all, the 41-year-old’s managerial career only began a matter of months ago.
Pirlo took charge of Serie C side Juventus U23 in July, but following Maurizio Sarri’s sacking, he was appointed head coach of the first team just nine days later.
Previous managers like Antonio Conte and Max Allegri had to work extremely hard and earn the right to lead Juventus, yet Pirlo was fast-tracked into the top position at the Allianz Stadium, simply due to his status as a player.
Pirlo has shown glimpses of tactical nous and man-management skills during the early stages of the season, but he still has a lot to prove.
The Ronaldo Effect
Juventus’ title credentials have been called into question. However, you’d be foolish to write off any team that possesses Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese megastar has only made six Serie A outings this term, yet he has still managed to score eight goals. After netting against Sampdoria on the opening day of 2020/21, Ronaldo went on to bag braces against Roma, Spezia, and Cagliari, as well as punishing Lazio.
Even at 35, Ronaldo is deadly. His ability to singlehandedly decide games makes it impossible to disregard Juventus when it comes to the title race.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s month in Serie A:— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 4, 2020
Named November’s MVP ? pic.twitter.com/OvCjzSQgMm
What Makes AC Milan a Genuine Challenger?
AC Milan last won the Scudetto all the way back in 2010/11. Since then, the club has endured some of the darkest moments in its 121-year history. Indeed, a tenth-place finish in 2014/15 marked a real low point for the Rossoneri.
But under the guidance of Stefano Pioli, the fallen giant has risen to the Serie A summit once again, with many believing that Milan is ready to end Juventus’ dominance.
Strength at Both Ends of the Pitch
It is no secret that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance this season. Like Ronaldo, the enigmatic Swede has only featured in six Serie A games, yet he still finds himself at the top of the scoring charts.
Remarkably, Zlatan has already netted ten goals in 2020/21. But perhaps more impressively, he has bagged doubles against Bologna, Inter, Roma, and Napoli. The 39-year-old may be battling injuries, but he remains a match-winner.
Not only are Pioli’s men the third-highest scorers in Italy’s top division (23), they also boast the second-best defensive record in the league (9).
Young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has continued to enhance his glowing reputation, keeping four clean sheets this term. Center-backs Simon Kjaer, Alessio Romagnoli, and Matteo Gabbia have also played key roles in keeping Milan’s backline watertight.
With dynamic midfielder Franck Kessie (four goals, three assists) contributing in both defense and attack, Milan looks strong in every department.
A Winning Mentality
Milan and Juventus are the only unbeaten teams left in Serie A this season, but while the Bianconeri has picked up five wins, Pioli’s men already have eight wins to their name.
The Rossoneri kicked off the campaign with four straight victories, including a Derby Della Madonnina triumph over Inter. Draws with Roma and Verona have prevented Milan from achieving a 100% record, yet the team heads into Matchday 11 on a three-game winning streak.
Pioli’s side has only gone behind on one occasion across their ten games this term. Even when Verona raced into a two-goal lead on Matchday 7, Milan was able to fight back and snatch a draw.
Ultimately, the Rossoneri seems to have developed a knack for winning games. If you want to win a title, that is definitely a good habit to have.
It's time to take AC Milan seriously again.— FootballFunnys (@FootballFunnnys) December 6, 2020
22 Serie A games unbeaten
17 of them wins
Top of the Serie A
6 points ahead of Juventus
Best start to a season since 1954 pic.twitter.com/eP5seI7Wr3
Who Else Could Win Serie A in 2020/21?
Juventus is always expected to defend their crown, while Milan has opened up a healthy lead at the top. But who else stands a chance of winning the Serie A title this season? I assess the outsiders below.
Conte’s Inter Can Improve
Inter pushed Juventus all the way last season, finishing just a single point behind the champions. Having only lost one of their opening 23 matches, Antonio Conte’s men spent a large portion of 2019/20 at the top of the table, only for a late collapse to end the club’s title hopes.
The Nerazzurri has started the current campaign strongly, too. Many of the top online betting sites have Inter as the current Scudetto favorite. However, there are question marks over Conte’s side.
Defensively, Inter isn’t as strong as last term. The team has already let in 14 goals, conceding three to Fiorentina on the opening day, before shipping two against Benevento, Parma, and Torino.
There is no doubting the Nerazzurri’s attacking threat. Romelu Lukaku (eight goals, two assists) and Lautaro Martinez (five goals, two assists) have forged a formidable partnership over the past couple of years, while Achraf Hakimi (three goals, three assists) has given the team an interesting new dimension.
But if Inter is serious about mounting a genuine title charge, Conte must address his side’s leaky backline.
On a brighter note, Inter’s early departure from the Champions League could actually work in their favor domestically. Milan, Juventus, and Napoli will all be involved in European competitions after Christmas, yet Conte’s men will be able to focus solely on their Serie A commitments.
Don’t Write Off Napoli
It’s fair to say that Napoli has been Juventus’ closest challenger in recent times. The Partenopei secured four runner-up finishes between 2012/13 and 2018/19, ending up third on two occasions in that time.
Last season’s seventh-place ranking was the club’s worst Serie A finish in a decade, but ever since Gennaro Gattuso replaced Carlo Ancelotti in the San Paolo hot seat, Napoli has been heading in the right direction again.
Seven wins from their opening ten games have seen Gattuso’s men thrust themselves into the title conversation. Napoli currently sits above Juventus on goal difference, although they would be even further ahead of the defending champions if it wasn’t for a one-point penalty due to coronavirus issues.
After thrashing Roma 4-0 on Matchday 9, the Partenopei crushed Crotone by the same scoreline in their previous outing. If Gattuso’s men can successfully navigate tricky clashes against Inter and Lazio before the turn of the year, they will only enhance their Scudetto chances.
Roma, Atalanta, and Lazio Must Find Consistency
As things stand, sixth-place Roma sits one point ahead of seventh-place Lazio, with Atalanta three points behind the Eagles in ninth. Needless to say, none of these outsiders have made a promising start to the season.
A seven-game unbeaten streak (five wins, two draws) saw Roma climb to third on Matchday 8, yet the team’s weaknesses were exposed in a heavy defeat to Napoli at the end of November. It is difficult to imagine Paulo Fonseca’s side challenging for the title this term.
Atalanta was in the Scudetto race right up until the very end of the previous campaign. However, La Dea has only managed to win four of their nine matches in 2020/21. The goals seem to have dried up for Gian Pierro Gasperini’s men, while they are also conceding at a rapid rate.
Lazio has also struggled to establish a rhythm of late. The Eagles are the only team in the current top nine with a negative goal difference, picking up just 17 points from a possible 30 this season.
With Milan flying and Juventus bound to remain in contention for the duration campaign, it could be tough for any of the bookmakers’ outsiders to compete in the title race.
From a neutral perspective, it would be great to see a different title winner in Serie A. Italy’s top-flight hasn’t been the most exciting soccer league to watch in recent times, with Juventus winning each of the last nine Scudettos.
Thankfully, it looks as though the 2020/21 campaign is going to be the most competitive Serie A seasons in a long time. Milan has made a solid start, while Inter and Napoli both look like they can cause Juventus some problems this term.
But at the end of the day, it is difficult to overlook the defending champions. Even with an inexperienced head coach at the helm, Juventus possesses countless world-class stars, with Ronaldo spearheading the club’s charge for a tenth straight triumph
Whatever happens in Serie A this season, the title race will certainly be worth keeping an eye on.
We cover Serie A in our betting picks section, along with a wide range of other sports leagues from across the world.