Serie A Predictions and Best Bets – December 11-13, 2020
Juventus triumphed once again in the Derby della Mole last weekend, but it still sits five points behind Milan at the top of Serie A. The Rossoneri continued its unbeaten start to the season by winning away against Sampdoria.
The top of the table looks pretty interesting at the moment, with a whole bunch of clubs waiting for Milan to trip up and really get a title race going. This weekend sees ten matchday 11 fixtures, and I’m going to preview every last one – as well as pick out three bets to go for.
Sassuolo to Beat Benevento
Both these clubs have favored an adventurous style of play this season but had to make do with goalless draws last weekend. In truth, both Sassuolo and Benevento have reined in the cavalier approach recently – with contrasting results. The Neroverdi picked up a useful point in its draw with Roma on Sunday but would have expected to do better – even if it was the capital city club that enjoyed more of the goal chances.
Benevento, on the other hand, will be quite happy that its more conservative tactics in the last few games have brought some good results. The 0-0 draw away at Parma last weekend came after the win at Fiorentina and the surprising draw with Juve – and has helped the club climb into mid-table. This is still a limited squad, though – and I feel as though Sassuolo may look to attack more this Friday.
Spezia to Beat Crotone
This fixture would have been marked down by Crotone manager Giovanni Stroppa as a must-win. But he may end up disappointed on Saturday as his side is yet to get going in Serie A this season – and may struggle for a while yet. Crotone was soundly beaten by Napoli at home last weekend and was never really in the game at all. The somewhat harsh sending off of Jacopo Petriccione just after the break didn’t help, but I’m not sure having 11 on the pitch would have made any difference to the final score.
Spezia also lost on matchday 10 but looked far more competitive in its game against Lazio. Two goals for the visiting team within the first half an hour probably ended any real hopes for the promoted club to earn some points. But Vincenzo Italiano’s men never gave up and were rewarded with a fantastic goal from M’Bala Nzola to give it some hope in the last 20 minutes. Spezia looks to have adapted to Serie A far better than Crotone and could win another valuable three points on Saturday.
Udinese to Beat Torino
Torino gave everything in the Turin derby – and even scored the opening goal after just nine minutes – but could not end up with a rare victory over Juventus. Not many would have given the Granata a chance before the game, but it took a last-minute winner from The Old Lady to break Torino hearts. That blow could be long lasting as Marco Giampaolo’s side continues to find life hard this season. It is in the bottom three already and could remain there after the weekend.
Udinese had not started the season too brightly itself. But the Friulani is now three games unbeaten, and there seems to be more of a spark to the team. There was no game at all last weekend, though, as rain put paid to Udinese’s home match up with Atalanta. That extra rest could work in Luca Gotti’s favor, though, as he looks to continue his team’s fine form after struggling with COVID in recent weeks.
Lazio and Hellas Verona to Draw
This should be a very good game on Saturday as Verona travel to the capital to take on a Lazio side that has not quite reached the heights of last season as yet. The Biancocelesti was able to overcome a spirited Spezia team last weekend but had to rely on the familiar goal scorers of Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to earn the three points. Manager Simone Inzaghi will be hoping that that win can kick off another positive run of results.
But he might have to make do with a draw on Saturday, as Hellas Verona has been able to compete with just about every team it has met this season. But, if anything, the draw at home in the Bentegodi with Cagliari would probably be regarded as a disappointing result by head coach Ivan Juric. After the win against Atalanta, he might have expected a better display from his team. There is a steeliness in his squad, though – and a draw with Lazio would be a good result.
Cagliari and Inter to Draw
Most bookmakers will have this one down as an away win, but Cagliari has surprised a few teams this season and will be up against an Inter side that had to play a Champions League fixture in the week as well. The Sardinians played very well in their draw in Verona last weekend and benefitted from some very good attacking play from Razvan Marin, who scored his first goal for the club after joining on loan from Ajax.
Inter will do well to keep check of the Romanian winger and could still be annoyed after not managing to progress in the Champions League this week. Antonio Conte’s team will not even take part in the Europa League after finishing bottom of its group. That might end up being a positive for Inter’s scudetto aspirations, but the squad looks a little tired at the moment – and that could end up with this game finishing as a draw on Sunday.
Napoli to Beat Sampdoria
Napoli scored four for the second consecutive weekend on matchday 10, as it easily saw off Crotone away from home. Gennaro Gattuso’s side wore its new Argentina-style kit once again in commemoration of Diego Maradona’s passing – and looked by far the better team throughout the game. There has been a real improvement in its play recently, and that victory pushed the club back into the top three. Only Inter has scored more goals – and there could be even more on Sunday.
Samp continued its woeful run of results last weekend as it fell to the league leaders at home. It was a better performance from the team, though, with Antonio Candreva at the heart of nearly every attacking move for Sampdoria. He would have liked his fellow players to be able to head a ball, though – as chance after chance went missing. This is going to be a tough season for the Blucerchiati, and it will need to pick up points when it is given the opportunity.
Atalanta to Beat Fiorentina
Atalanta progressed to the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the second successive season this week, as it finished second in its group. The Bergamo club probably benefitted from the rest it received last weekend as its game with Udinese was postponed because of rain. It might have also given the team a chance to regroup after some less than positive results in the league in recent weeks. Three points here will be very welcome.
Those three points will probably stay in Bergamo as well, as Fiorentina is really starting to look as though it could be in trouble again this season. The Viola has only won two games all season – and none in November at all. It did manage to win a point last weekend, but as the opposition was fellow strugglers Genoa, that should be regarded as two lost rather than one gained. It took an equalizer deep in stoppage time even to gain that, so not much can be expected this week against this Atalanta side.
Bologna and Roma to Draw
Bologna didn’t get much of the game against Inter last Saturday, but it kept on going all the way through and should take some credit, even though it ended up losing 3-1. Head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic urged his players to continue to attack, and that could have a more desired result against Roma this weekend. A few more goals would be welcomed by the Serbian boss – and he might well be happier on Sunday.
I’m still unsure how Roma was unable to score against Sassuolo last weekend as it carried on its own fine attacking play. VAR played its part in denying the Giallorossi in that game, but there have been some excellent performances this season. But Paulo Fonseca is not getting everything his own way, and Edin Dzeko is yet to score since his return to action. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has ended up being the main provider of goals but could also find things tough going at Bologna.
Juventus to Beat Genoa
Genoa’s first win since the opening day of the season was cruelly snatched away from it last week as Fiorentina scored in the eighth minute of stoppage time to salvage a point in Florence. That just about sums up how this season is going for the Griffone, who now finds itself in the bottom three, having only scored more goals than bottom team Crotone. Getting anything from a game against Juventus would be one of the surprises of the season.
It is not as though Juventus has been all-conquering this season. But the Old Lady weathered an early storm to overcome Torino in last week’s Derby della Mole and then registered a famous victory in the Camp Nou as it beat Barcelona in the Champions League in the week. Andrea Pirlo had said that his team was over-reliant on Ronaldo to win games, but the rest of the squad is beginning to pull its weight now and should be able to beat Genoa quite convincingly on Sunday.
Milan to Beat Parma
We have to wait for the final game of the weekend in Serie A to see if Milan can extend its lead at the top of the table. There is no fear of the Rossoneri dropping down a place or two, of course, as there is already an imposing five-point gap above city rivals Inter. There is still the feeling that Stefano Pioli’s men will be caught soon, but it was able to beat Sampdoria quite easily last weekend and kept up its impressive unbeaten record. That record could quite easily continue this week.
That’s because Parma made very heavy weather of its draw with Benevento last weekend, even though it had the majority of the play and the goal-scoring chances. It is not as if Parma doesn’t need the points. Fabio Liverani’s side has only won two games this season and sits just above the relegation places. Another defeat this Sunday seems the most likely outcome.
My Top Serie A Picks for December 11-13, 2020
Serie A is looking more open than ever at the top and bottom of the table – and that can make for some interesting odds. These are from Betway and are my three to look out for.
- Lazio and Hellas Verona to draw – 4.20
- Cagliari and Inter to draw – 5.25
- Bologna and Roma to draw – 3.80
Lazio hasn’t quite started to look like the team it was last season yet, and I think Verona is exactly the type of opposition that Simone Inzaghi’s men will find difficulty overcoming.
I was very impressed with the way Cagliari went about its game last weekend away at Verona and could see it frustrating Antonio Conte this Sunday as it manages a draw with Inter.
My final pick is another draw – this time between Bologna and Roma. The home side is another that I thought did very well last week against stronger opposition, and I feel that it can do enough against a misfiring Roma team to earn a point.