Serie A Predictions and Best Bets – March 6-8, 2021

| March 5, 2021 8:00 am PDT

After a full round of midweek fixtures in Serie A, Inter has opened up a six-point gap at the top of the table after Milan could only draw with Udinese. Most of the other sides challenging for the Champions League places managed to win, but the Nerazzurri have inched closer to the scudetto now.

Down the bottom, the new manager bounce continued at Cagliari but failed spectacularly for basement dwellers Crotone. While Torino dropped down into the bottom three after its game against Lazio was postponed due to an outbreak of positive COVID tests at the Turin club.

This weekend should see every side in action once again, and I’ll be looking at all ten games, as well as picking out three of the best bets to consider for matchday 26.

Spezia to Beat Benevento

Two of the smaller clubs kick off this round of fixtures as Spezia entertains Benevento on Friday. Both clubs lost by three goals to nil in their midweek fixtures, but whoever wins this one will feel as though it has just about escaped the relegation battle at the bottom of the league. Spezia actually held Juventus until the hour mark on Tuesday before yielding to a predicable onslaught.

Benevento will be more disappointed by its three-goal defeat on Wednesday, as it might have thought there was an outside chance of a draw at home to Hellas Verona. The game was over by halftime, though – and it has now been three games without a goal for La Streghe. Only the bottom two have scored fewer than Benevento – and that will be a big problem in the closing months of the season.

Udinese and Sassuolo to Draw

Last-minute penalties dominated games featuring both of these teams in the week, with them ending up with a point to consolidate their comfortable mid-table positions. Udinese did Inter a massive favor by holding Milan at the San Siro, but it could have even better for the blue and black half of the city if Franck Kessie hadn’t put away a stoppage-time penalty to snatch the draw right at the end. It was a compact performance from the Friulani, who have picked up well recently.

There was even more drama at the Mapei as Sassuolo played out a six-goal thriller with Napoli. The visitors came out to play aggressively, but the Neroverdi took the lead in the first half and was heading for a 2-2 draw at the end before Napoli was awarded a penalty in the 90th minute. Lorenzo Insigne scored that one, but Sassuolo went straight down the other end and won a soft penalty of its own. Francesco Caputo dispatched the spot-kick to help ease head coach Roberto De Zerbi’s nerves. A goalless draw is surely on the cards for this weekend’s game.

Juventus to Beat Lazio

Juve’s outside chance of a title bid was delivered a crushing blow last weekend when it was held to a 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona. But the Old Lady kept itself in the race on Tuesday by beating a stubborn Spezia 3-0 at home. Juventus does have a game in hand on both Milan clubs but is now a full ten points behind the leaders. That would seem like too big a gap to bridge for Andrea Pirlo’s side – but a win on Saturday against Lazio would keep the pressure on Inter, who doesn’t play until Monday.

Lazio’s game against Torino on Tuesday was postponed and, although the health and safety of the players are obviously paramount, Simone Inzaghi would probably rather have had the opportunity to pick up three morale-boosting points at home, after suffering two defeats in the last two games. At the moment, a European place is probably safe, but Lazio could do with a few more wins to gain momentum and possibly break into the top four. Beating Juventus away from home might be beyond the Aquile, though.

Roma to Beat Genoa

Roma’s Champions League ambitions had taken a knock last week when it could only draw with Benevento and then lost at home to Milan at the weekend. A victory over Fiorentina in midweek was absolutely necessary – and fortunately for Paulo Fonseca, his side was able to deliver. It needed a very late goal from Amadou Diawara to confirm the points – but that could be enough to reclaim the belief that will be needed to beat a confident Genoa.

The Grifone had gone into the midweek Derby della Lanterna in the strange position of being the form team – and might have thought it could win a first ‘home’ derby in ten years. But a predictably tense affair ended all square, meaning that David Ballardini is still to lose a Genoa derby. That’s three draws in the last four games now, though. Another in the Stadio Olimpico would be a good result, but the home side should be too strong.

Torino to Beat Crotone

This is another game that may well not go ahead as scheduled due to the current COVID situation at Torino. The Granata’s game against Lazio was called off in the week, and there are still travel restrictions in place in Italy that may stop the team from traveling south. If the game is played, the Torino players may well be a little ring rusty but should still have enough to beat bottom of the table, Crotone.

The Calabrian club brought in Serse Cosmi after the home defeat to Cagliari last weekend. But his tenure started off in the worst way possible, as Atalanta scored five times to take all three points on Wednesday. Crotone actually leveled the score in the first half after Atalanta had found the net early on. But a barrage of goals in the quarter of an hour after the break ended the game as a contest. Crotone is now nine points from safety and surely doomed to Serie B soccer next season.

Fiorentina and Parma to Draw

It was another poor performance from Fiorentina on Wednesday, as it lost 2-1 at home to Roma. The late nature of the winning goal should not take away from the fact that the Viola was still very much second best, even for all the effort of Franck Ribery. There has been just one win in the last six games now for Cesare Prandelli’s side, and a relegation scrap is looming on the horizon.

Parma should be the kind of team that Fiorentina is able to beat. But, even though Roberto D’Aversa’s side lost again on Thursday – and hasn’t actually won a game since the end of November – there has been a slight improvement recently. Parma has blown two-goal leads in two of the last three and only lost narrowly to league leaders Inter this week. A draw on Sunday could actually be regarded as a good result, but it will do little to help either club’s problems at the bottom of the league.

Hellas Verona and Milan to Draw

Hellas Verona might be able to do Inter a huge favor on Sunday, as it gets ready to take on Milan at the Bentegodi. Ivan Juric’s side has been one of the hardest to beat in Serie A this season and has found a new level of energy and determination in the last few weeks. A very straightforward 3-0 win at Benevento on Wednesday continued a four-game unbeaten streak – and it would not be a huge surprise if the Gialloblu held Milan on Sunday either.

The Rossoneri could only draw away at Udinese in midweek – and that was only thanks to a very late Franck Kessie penalty. Stefano Pioli had to do without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was away for personal business reasons, and the injuries in the squad meant that Milan found it difficult to impose itself. With Inter not playing until Monday, this game gives Milan a good chance of momentarily narrowing the points gap – but I’m not sure it will take the chance to do that.

Sampdoria and Cagliari to Draw

A 77th minute Lorenzo Tonelli goal saved Sampdoria’s pride in the Derby della Lanterna on Wednesday, as it salvaged a point for the Blucerchiati against a Genoa that has really come on in the last month or so. But that did make it three games without a win for Claudio Ranieri’s side – and the head coach has publically questioned the desire of some of his players in the last few weeks. With no real hopes of Europe or fears about relegation, expect Sampdoria’s season to fizzle out from now on.

Cagliari, on the other hand, is just beginning the mission to save its season and sustain its Serie A status. The Rossoblu hadn’t won a game since the beginning of November when Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked at the end of last month. But now, Leonardo Semplici has managed to oversee back-to-back victories, including a 1-0 win over Bologna on Wednesday. Daniele Rugani scored that goal, and Semplici may well rely on the loan signings to keep the club out of the bottom three.

Napoli to Beat Bologna

Things are never calm and quiet for Gennaro Gattuso. A famously emotional character, he lives every game as his last and endured the ups and downs of soccer on Wednesday as his Napoli side drew 3-3 away at Sassuolo. The game was thrilling, but Napoli thought that it had won the game when it scored a 90th-minute penalty – only for the home side to score one of its own with the final kick of the game. Hopefully, for Gattuso’s blood pressure, Bologna will be an easier opponent on Sunday.

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side has actually been playing much better in the last month and went into Wednesday’s game against Cagliari on the back of a four-game unbeaten run. But the Rossoblu fell to the new manager bounce at the Sardinian club and lost by a single goal. Recent results have just about afforded Bologna to lose the odd game now, as relegation should not really be a problem this season.

Inter and Atalanta to Draw

After beating Parma away from home on Thursday, Antonio Conte and his Inter team have the luxury of seeing how all of their rivals get on this weekend before taking on Atalanta at the San Siro on Monday. The Nerazzurri may well find that its lead at the top of Serie A is not reduced as much as the likes of Milan and Juventus would like, though. Inter will need to keep the concentration up to overcome Atalanta, however. The league leaders are playing incredibly well at the moment, but the frequency of games might mean that this one ends in a draw.

Atalanta comes into Monday’s big clash on the back of a very impressive 5-1 mauling of Crotone. The win might have come against the club at the bottom of the league, but Gian Piero Gasperini’s players really stepped up in the second half when it was clear that Crotone was not going to make life easy for the Bergamo side. There have been four consecutive wins for Atalanta now – but a draw at the San Siro against Inter will still be celebrated like a victory.

My Top Serie A Picks for March 6-8, 2021

Here are my top three selections for the weekend’s games on matchday 26.

  • Udinese and Sassuolo to draw – 3.30
  • Fiorentina and Parma to draw – 3.50
  • Hellas Verona and Milan to draw – 3.40

I’ve gone for three draws this week, as the Serie A clubs play another game in quick succession after the midweek match day. First up is Udinese and Sassuolo to cancel each other out. The home side has vastly improved in recent months but will come up against a spirited Sassuolo. This draw might not be as exciting as the Neroverdi’s against Napoli, though.

Next are Fiorentina and Parma to pick up a point that will do little to ease the relegation fears of either club. Parma has actually looked a little better in the last few weeks, without managing to record any urgently needed victories. That might be beyond it this weekend too – and a point will have to do.

My final pick for matchday 26 is for Hellas Verona to suddenly become every Inter fan’s second favorite team. Milan seems to be stuttering at exactly the wrong time of the season – and Verona is not the kind of team you want to play if you are not on your best form. A well-fought draw could be the outcome here.

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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