Serie A Predictions and Best Bets – March 12-14, 2021

| March 12, 2021 5:42 am PDT

Inter kept up its healthy lead at the top of Serie A last weekend but, with most of the main challengers all winning as well, the race for the European places continues in Italy.

European competition has taken up much of the attention during the week, with Juventus unable to overcome its first leg deficit against Porto. Can the Old Lady make a remarkable comeback in the league now and save the season to justify its massive transfer outlay? Juve’s exit leaves Atalanta and Lazio facing tricky second leg ties in Europe’s premier competition.

But it is Serie A where the attention falls this weekend – and the ten fixtures on match day 27 that kick off on Friday with Crotone’s trip to the Stadio Olimpico to take on Lazio. I’ll be looking at every game in the Italian top-flight this weekend, as well as picking out three of the best bets to consider.

Lazio to Beat Crotone

Lazio faces an uphill task to come back from the 4-1 thrashing it was handed by Bayern Munich in its Champions League tie, so Serie A would seem the only chance of success this season now. Recent results against some of the top sides have been disappointing and resulted in a drop down the table though. Three points from this early game on Friday are now vital for Simone Inzaghi and his players.

There would not seem to be much chance of Crotone coming away from the capital with anything. But the introduction of new head coach Serse Cosmi had an effect last week as he saw his side beat Torino in an action-packed game that finished 4-2 to the Calabrian club. That result ended a run of seven successive defeats, so maybe Cosmi is making a difference. He will need to influence from the stands on Friday though, as he has already picked up a touchline ban.

Atalanta to Beat Spezia

It is lining up to be a very important week for Atalanta, as the Bergamo club aims to get back to winning ways in the league and then attempts to claw back a goal against Real Madrid in the Champions League next Tuesday. Gian Piero Gasperini will have one eye on that European fixture and may well rest some players on Friday.

That shouldn’t be a problem for the home team though, as three points will still be expected here.

Spezia will be doing its very best to stop that happening, of course. But it has been a tough time of late for the Serie A minnow. It could only manage a 1-1 draw at home with Benevento last week and hasn’t won a game in four attempts now. Manager Vincenzo Italiano does have his squad back to full strength now but he will do very well to mastermind a victory on Friday.

Hellas Verona to Beat Sassuolo

Defeat for either of these two clubs would probably mean the end of the European dream as far as this season goes. Both sit just below the qualification places and Sassuolo would probably be ten points off Lazio if it was to lose on Saturday.

A leaky defense has been the main reason for that drop off the pace, but with Domenic Berardi available again, there is always a chance for the Neroverdi.

Unfortunately for him – and the rest of the Sassuolo team – they are coming up against one of the most solid and dependable sides in Serie A this Saturday. Hellas Verona has the best defensive record outside the top three this season and has been able to beat the very best this year. Ivan Juric was unable to figure out how to beat Milan last weekend though – and a lack of a proven goal scorer has been a problem for Verona. Maybe Kevin Lasagna will be able to get off the mark this weekend?

Benevento to Beat Fiorentina

Results have not been kind to either of these two recently, so a much-needed victory will be demanded from both Pippo Inzaghi and Cesare Prandelli. Benevento took the lead away at Spezia last weekend but had to make do with just a point at the end after conceding a second half equalizer. That made it ten games without a win for Le Streghe and the prospect of facing a struggling Fiorentina side on Saturday must be cheering for the home team.

The Viola will just be glad it was able to take a point form its home game with fellow strugglers Parma last Sunday. A last minute goal from Valentin Mihaila looked as though it was going to break Fiorentina hearts before an own goal deep into stoppage time salvaged a point for the home side. With the clubs so close down at the foot of the table, that point could be crucial as we enter the final stage of the season. Defeat to Benevento here would cause a lot of trouble in Florence though.

Udinese to Beat Genoa

Genoa has been one of the success stories of Serie A since Davide Ballardini took over just before Christmas. A string of good results saw the Grifone climb away from the bottom of the table and now it looks as though relegation worries are receding.

But there is an extensive injury list for Ballardini to deal with now and his side was unable to win for a fifth straight game last weekend against Roma. A resurgent Udinese might make that six on Saturday.

Udinese didn’t need a new head coach to turn its season around but the Friulani has enjoyed life since the turn of the year and is on a four-game unbeaten streak coming into this game. Last week saw a very good win against Sassuolo and another victory this weekend could see the club climb back into the top half of the league for the first time since it briefly flirted with the top ten back at the start of December.

Bologna and Sampdoria to Draw

If this game was to take place in a few weeks time we might expect a very languid affair between two sides keen not to try too hard in seeing out their seasons. With 12 games still to be played, it might be a slightly more energetic game but it does bring together two very evenly balanced teams. Bologna enjoyed more of the ball in its game against Napoli last weekend but still ended up losing by three goals to one – and head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic would probably like to win a few more points just to make the season run in a little more stress-free.

Claudio Ranieri will be feeling exactly the same about Sampdoria’s prospects over the next month. After finishing all square in the Derby della Lanterna the week before, it looked as if Samp might have managed a successful comeback against Cagliari on Sunday. But Radja Nainggolan popped up in the sixth minute of stoppage time to earn a point for his side and left the Blucerchiati with a fourth straight game without a win. It could be five on Sunday.

Roma to Beat Parma

The good news for Parma boss Roberto D’Aversa is that his team is scoring a lot of goals at the moment. The bad news is that it is not able to stop opponents from scoring down at the other end – especially right at the end of games. Fiorentina salvaged a point thanks to a Simone Iacoponi own goal in stoppage time last Sunday and Parma had to make do with just a point once again.

There hasn’t been a win for the club since November – and if things don’t change soon, it will be in Serie B next season.

Roma can feel quietly confident of coming away from Il Tardini with all three points on Sunday, as Parma is nowhere near the top of the table. Paulo Fonseca’s side has had a real problem beating any of its closest rivals in the top six or seven in the league this season, so will be glad to be coming up against a club in the bottom three. A solitary goal was enough to beat a much-improved Genoa last weekend and another win here would keep the Champions League dream alive.

Inter to Beat Torino

It is going to be a big week for Torino. Davide Nicola has done wonders for the club since taking over in January, but most games have ended in draws that have not been enough to pull the Granata away from the drop zone. A spate of positive COVID tests have made things even harder in recent weeks and now there is going to be a glut of fixtures to fulfill. There shouldn’t really be much chance against Inter on Sunday, so expect to see some players rested before the game against Sassuolo in the week.

The way that the Inter players celebrated the 1-0 win over Atalanta last weekend showed how important the game was in the race for the scudetto. Antonio Conte is banned from the touchline once again after comments were made to the referee, but the Nerazzurri’s victory kept the lead at the top to a healthy six points with just 12 games to go. It has been confirmed that Arturo Vidal will undergo knee surgery, so will be unavailable – but this is a squad that is looking like it expects to win the league now.

Juventus to Beat Cagliari

Leonardo Semplici remains unbeaten as Cagliari head coach after a deflected shot from Radja Nainggolan with the last kick of the game salvaged a point last weekend against Sampdoria. That followed back-to-back victories over Crotone and Bologna that might just have secured the Rossoblu’s top-flight status for another year.

Cagliari will be hoping to extend Juve’s misery on Sunday after the champions were knocked out of the Champions League in the week – but anything from this game would be seen as a good result.

Juve’s inability to overcome Porto on Tuesday means that the plan to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to Turin to win the Champions League has failed for another year. Worryingly, the domestic dominance that Juventus has enjoyed in Italy for a decade also looks to be ending. Club officials have been reported to have met with Ronaldo to discuss the future and see how the playing squad will develop. But at this point, more victories are needed to ensure that it is at least competing in the Champions League next season. A win against Cagliari on Sunday will help with that.

Milan to Beat Napoli

Milan welcomes Napoli to the San Siro on Sunday evening as match day 27 draws to a close in Serie A. Stefano Pioli’s side looked very good at the Bentegodi last week as it overcame Hellas Verona to remain in second behind its city rival. There was a whole host of absentees from the Rossoneri team for that game – including a well-publicized Zlatan Ibrahimovic week off – so three points against a tough team was warmly welcomed.

Napoli was able to welcome back big summer signing Victor Osimhen for its game against Bologna. The Nigeria international scored his first goal since November in the victory and kept Napoli in the Europa League places. It has been a frustrating season for Osimhen, who has missed a lot of games through injury and the coronavirus. If he can stay healthy until the end of the season, Napoli might even snatch a Champions League place. But a win at the San Siro on Sunday seems unlikely.

My Top Serie A Picks for March 12-14, 2021

Here are my top three selections for the weekend’s games on match day 27. Odds are courtesy of Betway.

  • Hellas Verona to beat Sassuolo – 3.10
  • Benevento to beat Fiorentina – 3.50
  • Milan to beat Napoli – 2.60

With some Serie A clubs playing in Europe over the next two weeks there may be some strange results caused by tired players. But my first pick this week is for a game between two clubs hoping to break into the qualification places. Both Verona and Sassuolo have looked good this season, but there is a steely determination about Hellas and I think it will take this crucial encounter.

Next up I think that Fiorentina’s problems will continue as it faces a Benevento side that seems to play differently from week to week. The Viola just seem like a club lurching from one crisis to the next though – and another defeat on Saturday could see it drawn deeper into the relegation battle.

My final pick for match day 27 is for Milan to beat Napoli in possibly the most anticipated game of the weekend. The Rossoneri looked formidable in the win at Verona last weekend and showed that it does not need to rely on its star players to get results. It does look like Inter will probably end up winning the scudetto, but Milan will push its bitter rival all the way.

Dan Roberts
Dan Roberts

Dan Roberts is an experienced freelance writer specialising in sports and sports betting. He is particularly knowledgeable about world soccer, but also writes about football, basketball and cricket.

As a fan of Nottingham Forest, New York Knicks, Minnesota Vikings and New York Mets, Dan has not had much to celebrate recently.

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