Serie A Predictions and Best Bets – March 19-21, 2021

| March 19, 2021 5:13 am PDT

Inter has now gone nine points clear in Serie A and looks like the scudetto will be making its way to the blue and black half of Milan at the end of the season. Its San Siro neighbor is falling away and the gap at the top seems too much to make up with just 11 games left of the season.

Cristiano Ronaldo is doing his best to silence his critics and give Juventus a chance to swoop in for yet another title though. The Champions League dream may be over for another year but the Old Lady will not give up on Serie A quite yet.

It has not been a good few weeks for Italian clubs in Europe – and at the time of writing it looks like it might only be Roma that progresses to a quarter final this year. But that allows the others to concentrate on the league – and there are ten more fixtures this weekend, starting with Parma vs Genoa on Friday.

I’ll be looking at all the games on match day 28 and picking out three of the best bets to consider this weekend.

Parma and Genoa to Draw

Parma ended a 17-game winless streak last weekend as it took advantage of Roma’s post-Europa League fatigue to win 2-0 at Il Tardini. It was Roberto D’Aversa’s first win as head coach but the victory could not help Parma climb the table at all. It remains in the bottom two and is four points from safety. That’s not a huge gap though, so a more confident Parma side might be able to pick up another draw on Friday.

That’s because the magic that Davide Ballardini brought to Genoa when he was appointed head coach in December has started to fade somewhat. He was able to turn around the Grifone’s season but no wins in the last six games have brought the club back into the relegation battle. It was unable to overcome an improving Udinese last week, even after scoring an early goal – and might find Parma in high spirits this week.

Bologna to Beat Crotone

It still seems highly likely that Crotone will be relegated this season but new head coach Serse Cosmi has definitely had a positive effect on the bottom-placed team. He was able to oversee a victory over an admittedly COVID-hit Torino and was six minutes from celebrating a draw against Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico last weekend.

This is still a limited squad, but at least it is going down fighting now.

Bologna will not want to allow its host this weekend to gain any more confidence though, even if the Rossoblu looks fairly comfortable in mid table. Sinisa Mihajlovic seems to have seen off the worst of an extensive injury list and will now take his team to Calabria after it comprehensively dealt with Sampdoria last weekend. Another win could be on the cards.

Cagliari to Beat Spezia

Spezia has delighted the neutrals this season by overachieving in its first ever top-flight campaign. But for all the pretty soccer, Vincenzo Italiano’s side has now not won a game in the last five and has been dragged into a relegation battle that a club the size of Spezia will find difficult. Some tough fixtures and a spate of positive COVID tests have not helped matters, but Spezia needs to pick up a few more points quickly to ease any worries.

That will be easier said than done this Saturday though, as Cagliari come to town after losing just one of its last four games under new boss Leonardo Semplici. That came against Juventus last week, where the Rossoblu had to face a disgruntled Ronaldo out to prove his critics wrong. Cagliari is still in the bottom three but a win this weekend could change that and continue what looks like being an escape from the drop.

Inter to Beat Sassuolo

Inter exited the Champions League at the group stage this season so has not been bothered by European distractions for quite a while. But Antonio Conte has been rocked by some more COVID problems this week – and will be without keeper Samir Handonovic and Danilo D’Ambrosio for this game. There may be further absentees by the time Saturday comes around, but there is still a good chance that the Nerazzurri will keep its winning streak going.

But the Sassuolo players should be fired up after the way head coach Roberto De Zerbi reacted to the 3-2 defeat to Torino in midweek. He was incensed by the way his side capitulated after leading by two goals with just a quarter of an hour to go. A win would have put the Neroverdi just four points off a European spot but now the gap is seven with Lazio enjoying a game in hand. We should see an improved effort here, but probably not enough to overcome Inter at the San Siro.

Atalanta to Beat Hellas Verona

Verona’s European hopes took a major blow last weekend, as it lost 3-2 to fellow Euro dreamers Sassuolo. Ivan Juric’s side twice came from behind but was finally outdone by a winner from the home side with just nine minutes to go. That made it back-to-back defeats for the Gialloblu ahead of what will be an incredibly tough game against Atalanta at the Bentegodi on Sunday. Verona will be hoping that its opponent will still be feeling the effect of a tough midweek Champions League encounter.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side exited European competition after failing to overcome a one-goal deficit from its first leg with Real Madrid. It is still an incredible achievement for the club to be involved again at this stage of the season though, so there shouldn’t be too many sad faces in Bergamo. Now the players will need to pick themselves up to beat a Hellas Verona side that has been difficult to break down all season. But if any side in Serie A can score goals it is Atalanta – so an away win might make things better.

Juventus to Beat Benevento

Whether it was a personal quest to quieten the Italian media, or a team effort to push Juventus back in the title race, the hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo against Cagliari last weekend showed that the Bianconeri is not quite done with the scudetto yet.

There is still a huge ten-point gap between Andre Pirlo’s side and Inter at the top, but it does look as though Juventus could be the main challenger now.

Milan has stalled and Juve will not want to relinquish its crown. Another three points at home against Benevento should be a fairly easy task.

After a good run of results just before Christmas, Le Streghe has really struggled recently and was thrashed at home by Fiorentina last weekend. There has only been one win in 2021 for Pippo Inzaghi’s side and with both Torino and Cagliari improving from earlier in the season, Benevento has now been dragged into a scrap at the foot of the table. There are only four points separating the club from the bottom three – and that could be cut after the weekend’s games.

Sampdoria and Torino to Draw

Claudio Ranieri hasn’t been overly impressed by his team’s performances in the last month or so, but the comfortable mid-table position may have something to do with the lack of urgency. The 3-1 defeat away at Bologna last weekend made it five games without a win and even the first Fabio Quagliarella goal since Valentine’s Day couldn’t lift the mood. The Blucerchiati look like seeing out the rest of the season picking up just enough points to escape any real alarm.

Torino boss Davide Nicola would probably warmly welcome a point from this game. A plethora of draws saw the Granata crawl its way to a good chance of staying up after all hope seemed lost earlier in the season – but there had been some faltering in recent weeks. COVID hasn’t helped, but the comeback against Sassuolo in the week suggests that Torino might yet escape the drop.

Udinese and Lazio to Draw

Udinese has been one of the form sides in the last few months and picked up another point last weekend as it came from falling behind to an early Genoa goal to salvage a point at the Marassi. Top goal-scorer RDP grabbed another in that draw and will be looking to test a Lazio defense that has not always been the tightest this season. Udinese has now lost just once in its last ten Serie A games – and although European qualification is not possible, it could help ruin Lazio’s chances on Sunday.

Simone Inzaghi said that he was immensely proud of the way his Lazio players performed in the Champions League this season after exiting the competition this week. The Aquile was never going to claw back a three-goal deficit from the first leg against Bayern Munich, but will now want more of the Champions League after making the last 16 for the first time in 20 years. Just a draw away at Udinese might make that dream a little more difficult though.

Fiorentina and Milan to Draw

Fiorentina games are certainly ones to watch at the moment The Viola traded six goals with Parma two weeks ago – including two in the 90th minute – and put four past a despondent Benevento on Saturday to help with its hope of staying up this year. A first-half hat-trick from Dusan Vlahovic blew away the home side and Cesare Prandelli will hope that there will be more in the tank on Sunday as it faces a Milan team that will still hold out some hope of catching Inter at the top of the league.

That aim looks to be drifting further and further away though, after the 1-0 defeat at home to Napoli last weekend.

Matteo Politano, on loan from the Nerazzurri, scored the only goal of the game just after halftime and Milan’s Ante Rebic was sent off right at the death for arguing with the referee. His absence could really affect the Rossoneri’s chances of a much-needed win here, as Stefano Pioli is already dealing with a number of injuries and will have seen his side play just days before in the second leg of the Europa League tie against Manchester United. It does look as though the title challenge is coming to a halt now.

Roma and Napoli to Draw

Roma and Napoli finish off matchday 28 in Serie A with a fixture in the Stadio Olimpico that could end up having a big say in which clubs qualify for the Champions League this season. A draw between these two would greatly enhance Atalanta’s chances of making the cut for the third successive season – and Roma’s inability to beat any of the top teams in Italy might play a part again. Roma could be the only Italian club left in Europe by the time this game is played, but Paulo Fonseca needs his players focused on the league in the coming weeks too.

Gennaro Gattuso has continued his media silence, which is a shame for any fans of the fiery Napoli head coach. But he would surely have been very happy with the way his side went to the San Siro and came away with three points last Sunday. That put the Partenopei just two points behind Atalanta in fourth – and with a game in hand. It would be a real achievement for Napoli to qualify for the Champions League, even if it seems as though Gattuso might not be around to see that happen. A draw in Rome would still be a good result.

My Top Serie A Picks for March 19-21, 2021

Here are my top three selections for the weekend’s games on matchday 28. Odds are courtesy of Betway.

Udinese and Lazio to draw3.40
Fiorentina and Milan to draw3.40
Roma and Napoli to draw3.50

I’ve gone for three draws this week, in games where the prices offered are favorable. First up is Udinese vs Lazio. Lazio comes into this game after a draining Champions League tie with Bayern and now face one of the better Italian sides in recent weeks. Ciro Immobile was rested on Tuesday but I still think the home side will take something here.

Milan is another team that is showing the effects of extensive injury and fixture lists. The Rossoneri faced Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday and has been looking fatigued in recent weeks after continental competition. Add to that the absentees – and the confidence that Fiorentina would have taken from a big win last weekend – and I can see this ending up honors even.

My final pick is for the final Serie A game on Sunday – and for Roma’s unwanted record to continue. A Champions League opportunity has been squandered by the Giallorossi not being able to beat the top clubs – and that form could well continue this weekend. Napoli will have an eye on a top-four finish after the big win against Milam last week – and a draw in Rome will suit it down to the ground.

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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