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Top Wagers for Serie A Matchday 19 – Previews and Picks
Italian soccer has returned, and much has remained the same since last year. Juve, Lazio, and Inter all won, while Napoli lost again, and Milan failed to score a goal. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has made a return to the San Siro in an attempt to change that last trend, but to no avail on Monday.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Genoa, Torino, and Hellas Verona in a full league program split over two days. Atalanta also backed up its 5-0 thrashing of Milan before Christmas by repeating the same score line against Parma.
There were more ugly scenes at Brescia as Lazio fans allegedly aimed racist insults at Mario Balotelli. So it does seem as though many of the aspects of Serie A, both good and bad, have made a return for 2020.
But, concentrating on the soccer, I’ll be previewing every game in Serie A for this matchday and providing my Serie A matchday 19 best bets.
Cagliari vs. Milan
Cagliari kicks off matchday 19 on Saturday with the visit of Milan and has been given some pretty attractive odds to take all three points. There are a number of reasons why this may be the case, but I still think this is a good opportunity to pick up some healthy returns. The Sardinian club was mauled by Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus on Monday in a 4-0 thrashing in Turin.
There is also the return of Ibrahimovic to take into account.
But Cagliari had looked like one of the form teams in Serie A before the winter break and still remains in the European places. The Rossoblu had not beaten Juve in a league game since 2009 and held the Bianconeri 0-0 at the half. Two goals in the final ten minutes also put the final score in a flattering light.
It was Cagliari’s third successive defeat, however, so maybe the league is catching up with Rolando Maran’s side.
But Betway making Milan the favorites for this game is still a fairly big leap, in my opinion. As mentioned, the Rossoneri ended up goalless once again on Monday. The game before that was the 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Atalanta, and there have only been three victories in the last eleven games. Zlatan may be able to improve the chances of Milan picking up points, but he is going to need some help.
Rather than seeing this game as an opportunity for Milan to really kick off 2020, I think it will be Cagliari that gets over the predicted defeat to Juventus and renews a push for European qualification this season. The odds for a home win here seem very good value.
Cagliari to Win3.10
Lazio vs. Napoli
It looks like the bookies have taken a similar approach with this game as with Milan’s supposed comeback. Although the odds for a Lazio victory are not quite as attractive as Cagliari’s, 2.05 looks good for a team playing at a very high standard at home against a misfiring Napoli.
Simone Inzaghi’s men came from behind to beat relegation-threatened Brescia on Sunday and fully deserved the points. The Biancocelesti left it late, with Ciro Immobile scoring in stoppage time to confirm the win, but that victory continued a rich vein of form. Lazio won eight consecutive Serie A games at the end of 2018, as well as beating Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana.
Meanwhile, Napoli fell to league leaders Inter on Monday evening. It was actually a better performance from Gennaro Gatusso’s side, but it was no match for the attacking talent of the Nerazzurri. The victory against Sassuolo just before Christmas had at least stopped a run in eight consecutive winless games, but it is going to be hard for the new manager to turn this side around in time for the end of season rush for European places.
Lazio is playing as if it may actually be able to challenge Inter and Juventus if the top two make any mistakes. That is a very big “if,” of course. But with Immobile leading the way with goals in Serie A this season, this is definitely a team to keep an eye on.
Lazio to Win2.05
Inter vs. Atalanta
If Inter is to slip up, then it will probably be against a team like Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta. The Bergamo club has posted back-to-back 5-0 victories either side of the winter break and looks like it could repeat last season’s feat of qualifying for the Champions League again.
Inter has also looked very impressive this season, however. It is still just the one defeat against Juventus near the start of the campaign that blots its copybook. The 3-1 win over Napoli on Monday gave Romelu Lukaku two more goals to add to his tally, and the in-demand Latauro Martinez added the other.
Even with all the attacking talent at his disposal, it is Antonio Conte’s defense that has played the biggest role in the club’s success, though. Just 15 goals conceded in Serie A is the best record in the league, and there have been just three in the last five games.
Atalanta has enjoyed its games on the road this season, however. There has been just the one defeat away from home for the Orobici, a 2-1 reverse in Bologna, so this game is perfectly set up. Juventus fans might even prefer a draw to derail both clubs’ form, and the price does look good for the spoils to be shared. But as much as Atalanta has proved that last season was not a fluke, Inter has stepped up to the challenge of taking the scudetto very impressively.
This could be a real cracker of a game, but I’m going with the home win.
Inter to Win2.00
Udinese vs. Sassuolo
The early game on Sunday pitches together two clubs looking for a win to stretch the gap between themselves and the lower reaches of the table. Udinese has already begun its escape from a relegation battle by recording back-to-back wins against Cagliari and Lecce. The Zebrette left it very late at an icy Stadio Via del Mare to take all three points, but these were the kinds of games it was drawing or even losing earlier in the season.
Sassuolo started 2020 off in less-than-impressive fashion by losing to bottom of the table Genoa. The Neraverdi were not happy with a number of refereeing and VAR decisions, but defeats like this are signs of a struggle ahead. Sassuolo is now 14th in the league, but the bottom of the table is beginning to look very congested. There is a limited squad in Reggio Emilia, and that could be a problem over the next few months.
Udinese has a two or three winnable games coming up now, so three points here to start all that off would help Luca Gotti a lot. The interim manager is still in charge at the club and would love to show that he has what it takes to take Udinese even further up the Serie A table.
Udinese to Win2.25
Fiorentina vs. SPAL
Beppe Iachini so nearly managed something in his first game in charge that former head coach Vincenzo Montella had not achieved in over two months, taking all three points in a Serie A game. But Bologna scoring deep into stoppage time last week ruined the new manager’s debut at the club. It was still a very good point for the Viola, though, and it will now need to push on from that display.
Fiorentina’s form has been pretty woeful for the majority of the season and has seen the club drop down the table at an alarming rate. It is now just four points off the relegation zone and really needs the positive effects that a new manager can sometimes bring. SPAL at home looks like a perfect fixture for Iachini as the perennial overachiever is struggling itself this season.
Leonardo Semplici has done wonders at the club but has heard calls for his dismissal this season, as SPAL has skirted around the bottom three for the entire campaign so far. Just three wins in eighteen games is relegation form, and a home defeat to Hellas Verona on Sunday was just the latest disappointment.
SPAL was just one goal down until very near the end but made its task harder by playing with ten men for the last 50 minutes.
I’m still not entirely convinced that Fiorentina can mount some kind of comeback this season, but I do feel that the change in management at this point has been the best move it could have made. Iachini should be able to lead his new team to a mid-table finish, and three points here will help with that cause.
Fiorentina to Win1.47
Sampdoria vs. Brescia
Sampdoria dealt with the return of Zlatan without too much trouble on Monday and might have even taken more than just the one point from the San Siro with a little more luck.
But that draw is another positive result for Claudio Ranieri and his side, which has definitely improved since the former Leicester boss took over in October. To be fair, Sampdoria could not have been any worse due to a woeful start to the season that returned just one win in the opening ten games.
A number of good results have meant that Samp has now jumped out of the bottom three and looks more in control of its own destiny. Brescia has also improved since Eugenio Corini returned to the club in December. But two home defeats in a row have seen the Biancazzurri fall down the table again. Mario Balotelli is starting to have an effect, but he is dealing with a lot more than opposing defenders.
There are two home games coming up straight after this trip to Genoa, and if Brescia can put together some kind of streak, then it would give the fans more belief that this won’t be a one-season trip to the top flight. This Sampdoria fixture is not as easy as it was earlier in the season, though, and a draw would seem to be the most likely result here.
Torino vs. Bologna
Andrea Belotti scored both goals in Torino’s shock win at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday and gave Granata fans renewed hope for the season. After the last campaign was so successful, there was real hope that this year could be even better, but the results have not been as positive since exiting the Europa League in the playoff round.
Bologna has also enjoyed some success in the last few months after an inconsistent season. Head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has been making as many appearances as possible, and the belief in the head coach really shows in the performances from his team. The Rossoblu left it very late against Fiorentina last week but just about dealt with the new manager bounce the visitors enjoyed.
This fixture could go either way, depending on which version of the teams turn up. With both sides enjoying a relatively good winter so far, there is the distinct possibility that they will cancel each other out and share the points. That would not be the end of the world for either club, who need to take points wherever they can get them.
Hellas Verona vs. Genoa
Due to Lazio’s involvement in the Supercoppa Italiana, Verona had not played a league game since the middle of December but was still able to get the better of SPAL last weekend and will be very confident of continuing 2020 in the same vein with the visit of Genoa.
It has been a very good season for Verona so far, and the positive results do not seem like drying up anytime soon.
Genoa comes into this one in the unusual position of being on the back of a win after Davide Nicola enjoyed his first game as head coach. That 2-1 victory over Sassuolo was the first three points picked up by the Grifone since before Halloween, and Genoa is now on its third manager of the season.
This is a tough trip for the Rossoblu, however. Hellas Verona has managed some very good results over supposedly stronger teams this season, but it has struggled against some of the sides towards the bottom of the table. Genoa will be hoping that that trend continues for this game.
I’m not so sure that will be the case, though, and a win for the home side here could catapult it up the league if other results go its way.
Hellas Verona to Win2.20
Roma vs. Juventus
Roma has enjoyed a very good season so far but was surprised by Torino last time out and will now need to lift itself for the visit of the reigning champions. The Giallorossi lost only its third game of the season but will be conscious of the fact that its bitter rival is doing even better. It may have to accept that Lazio might finish higher in the league this year.
Juventus now knows that it is in a real fight for the scudetto this season, and Lazio is beginning to look like it could be involved in a three-way scrap alongside Inter. The 4-0 drubbing of Cagliari was not quite as dominant as the score line suggests, but the end result was never really in doubt. The Bianconeri will now need to keep that form going for the trip to the Stadio Olimpico.
Any mistake from either of the top two could be disastrous, so Juve will not want to drop any points here and should be able to take all three as long Roma does not enjoy one of its wonder games again. There have been a number of times this season that Paulo Fonseca’s men have been unstoppable, and they will need to be in this one too.
Antonio Conte will be as interested in the outcome of this game as he will be about his own game against Atalanta. He does have the luxury of playing the day before, so he can sit back and see how Juve responds to his own team’s result. I think the professionalism of Juventus will be too much for its hosts, and the Old Lady will continue to push for a ninth consecutive title.
Juventus to Win2.20
Parma vs. Lecce
Parma rounds off matchday 19 with a home game against a Lecce side that sits just above the relegation zone and narrowly lost at home to Udinese last weekend. It is the home side that needs to regroup this week, however, after Atalanta recorded another 5-0 victory at its expense. That outcome was a surprise for Roberto D’Aversa’s men after a run of good results.
The defeat meant that the gap between Parma and the European positions remained four points. Cagliari’s loss to Juve at the same time could have seen the Ducati push harder for a top six spot. That would probably be an overachievement for this team, though. It is not as though Parma cannot compete in Serie A, but I would not rank it in the highest strata of Italian clubs.
Lecce was always going to be more involved at the other end of the table this season but will be relatively pleased that it has stayed out of the bottom three since the middle of October. A few bad results would change that, of course, so the Salentini will know that it needs to keep the points counter ticking over if it is not to return to Serie B at the end of the season.
Parma can be infuriatingly inconsistent, so it is difficult to confidently predict a home win here, but that is the most likely outcome.
Parma to Win1.90
There are interesting battles throughout Serie A now as even the clubs at the bottom of the league start picking up a few points.
The race for the scudetto is the main attraction, but Champions League and Europa League races and relegation scraps should keep everyone entertained over the next few months.
If you’re interested in following any of my Serie A betting picks, make sure you check out our list of the top soccer bookmakers.