Serie A Predictions and Best Bets – November 21-22, 2020
With Andrea Pirlo finding his feet as the new head coach at Juventus, the early weeks of the Serie A season have suggested that we may get a closer race for the title this year. Lazio and Inter pushed the Bianconeri last season, but others may be challenging for the scudetto this time around.
This weekend sees the league program’s return after an international break in which Italy firmly announced itself back at the top table of European soccer by winning its Nations League group and qualifying for the finals.
Many of that squad will be back representing their club teams this weekend and will be keen to continue the success experienced on the international stage. I’m going to take a look at every game in the eighth round of fixtures in Serie A – and pick out a few of the best bets to look out for this weekend.
Lazio to Beat Crotone
The good news for Lazio is that last season’s top goal scorer Ciro Immobile has finally received the all-clear and has resumed training, with a view to playing in this fixture on Saturday. Positive COVID tests had forced his absence, although the Biancocelesti did fine without him against Juventus. An injury-time equalizer from Felipe Caicedo earning a share of the points.
But Immobile proved himself to be a level above last season when he scored an incredible 36 goals in the league alone. Crotone will have to figure out a way to deal with him – as well as all the other attacking options at Simone Inzaghi’s disposal. The Calabrian club is predictably struggling in its return to the top flight and will more than likely remain bottom of the table after the weekend.
Atalanta to Beat Spezia
Spezia has seemingly adapted much better to live in Serie A and have managed to find the net in all but one of its games so far. Results have not been quite as positive, so that’s why the 3-0 win away at Benevento just before the break was so important. Spezia will be hoping that Atalanta’s international contingent will be fatigued after the quick turnaround of games – and use its free-flowing style of soccer to gain what would be an outstanding win.
But even with Gian Piero Gasperini welcoming his players back from all corners of the globe, he will expect his team to come away from Spezia with the points on Saturday. After shipping seven goals in two games against Napoli and Sampdoria, Atalanta recovered to beat Crotone and then draw at home to Inter last time out. A win here could push the Bergamo club back into the top four.
Juventus and Cagliari to Draw
Juventus do not drop many points at home, but Cagliari might be able to benefit from a slew of injuries and a head coach that is getting used to his players and system this weekend. It is probably a little early for Matthijs de Ligt to return from injury. Still, Pirlo may be forced to include the Dutchman as both Chiellini and Bonucci came back from international duty with injuries. That could make for an unfamiliar starting eleven and Juve picking up a fifth draw of the season.
Even with all its personnel problems, Juventus would be considered favorites if the opposition wasn’t enjoying a good start to its campaign. Head coach Eusebio Di Francesco is doing very well at the Sardinian club and has seen his team win three of the last four. Cagliari has also scored the most goals of any club currently in the bottom half of the table, and it could find itself climbing the table after a rocky start to the season.
Fiorentina to Beat Benevento
The Viola is definitely missing the skill and goals of Federico Chiesa after his move on loan to Juventus in the summer. Beppe Iachini was predictably let go as head coach after the goalless draw with Parma. Now, club favorite Cesare Prandelli has been put in charge to get the team going before the season goes any further. Goals had not been a particular problem, but there haven’t been any in the last two games, and the visit of Benevento must provide a good opportunity to rectify that.
That’s because Benevento has conceded more goals than any other club this season on its return to Serie A. After looking competitive in the first two or three games of the season, results have gotten much worse, and now the Stregoni has let in 13 goals in the last four games. A 3-0 home defeat to Serie A newcomers Spezia was the latest reverse, and now Pippo Inzaghi will need to inspire his strikers to start doing their jobs – and possibly save his.
Sampdoria to Beat Bologna
Sampdoria will be hoping that it can keep eleven men on the field this week as it faces Bologna at the Marassi, as the sending off in the last game against Cagliari definitely changed the way it was going. Samp actually competed even after the red card, but was always going to find things tough going and ended up losing 2-0.
Bologna has no such excuses for its defeat at home to Napoli before the international break. But it didn’t really get going until far too late into the game – and well after Victor Osimhen had headed what turned out to be the only goal. If Bologna can take the game to Sampdoria right from the start this weekend, this could be a more even game. But Samp should still prevail at home.
Roma to Beat Parma
This should be a relatively one-sided game on Sunday as Roma strives to continue a seven-game unbeaten run in Serie A, while Parma searches for just its second win of the season. Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca will be hoping that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will continue his fine run of form. He scored a hat-trick last time out against Genoa and has been an ever-present this season.
Parma will be wondering how it can turn draws into wins, as it has picked up just three points in the last three games. Two of those fixtures were at home against teams it would have expected to beat as well, so manager Fabio Liverani will be anxious to get something from this trip to the capital. Scoring goals has been a problem, however, so he may leave the Stadio Olimpico an unhappy man on Sunday.
Hellas Verona and Sassuolo to Draw
It is usually Sassuolo head coach Roberto De Zerbi who adapts his side to match his opponents. Still, Hellas Verona will need to find a way through the Neraverdi if it wants to do something that no other team has done this season so far – and pick up a win on Sunday. Hellas really should have beaten Milan last time out but gave Ibrahimovic too many chances to ruin the day for the Gialloblu.
Now it faces a Sassuolo side that has been receiving rave reviews for its performances this season. The away team goes into this game just two points off Milan at the top of Serie A. But Napoli is the only really big team that it has faced so far, and Hellas Verona will provide a tough opponent as ever this weekend. Sassuolo may not get quite as many chances to score, so this could end up being a well-fought draw.
Inter to Beat Torino
The Nerazzurri had slowed down slightly just before the international break – with back-to-back draws with Parma and Atalanta – but should have far too much for Torino this weekend. Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have carried on from last season and are scoring most of the goals that are helping Inter look like a title challenger once again.
The results for Inter may not have been quite as Antonio Conte would have wanted, but he is having a better time of it than his Torino counterpart, Marco Giampaolo. The former Samp boss endured five games without a win at the start of the season and had to make do with a goalless draw with Crotone in the Granata’s most recent outing. It looks like it is going to be another tough season for Torino – and that will continue on Sunday when Inter wins in the San Siro.
Udinese and Genoa to Draw
It may be very early in the season to call any game a ‘real six-pointer,’ but the outcome of this fixture is huge to both these teams as they look to escape the bottom three. Udinese did manage a draw away at Sassuolo in its last game – and has started scoring goals now at least – but it is games like this that it absolutely needs to win.
That is the same case for Genoa – a club that can consider itself lucky that it wasn’t relegated last season and needs to do much better if it doesn’t suffer the drop in 2021. A 4-1 win against Crotone has been the only victory so far, and although the fans will be glad that Genoa earned a point in the Derby Della Lanterna, results have not been good this season. A draw away from home against Udinese isn’t the best result in the world – but at least it will be another point.
Milan to Beat Napoli
Serie A saves its best until last on matchday eight as Napoli welcomes Milan to the Stadio San Paolo on Sunday. The Partenopei has struggled with injury and positive COVID tests all season and will be without summer signing Victor Osimhen this weekend after the Nigerian dislocated his shoulder during the international break. That leaves head coach Gennaro Gattuso with some tactical headaches ahead of this game.
Stefano Pioli has less to worry about with his Milan squad, as his own defensive crisis seems to have abated now. He will miss the game in Naples, though, because of his own positive COVID test. Another that may miss out is winger Rafael Leao, who picked up a knock playing for Portugal. That could mean that Ante Rebic will start as he has recovered from his own injury that has kept him out since September. With the slightly fitter squad, this could be another good day for the Rossoneri.
My Top Serie A Betting Picks for This Weekend
Serie A has some seemingly more predictable fixtures this weekend. But there is still some value to be found in the odds from Betway. Here are three picks I think you should take a look at for matchday eight.
- Hellas Verona and Sassuolo to draw – 3.75
- Udinese and Genoa to draw – 3.75
- Milan to beat Napoli – 2.90
Hellas Verona is a side that can give anyone a good game on its day, and I think it could match the tactical nous of Roberto De Zerbi and his Sassuolo team. Both sides will probably look at a draw as a good result. That’s not the case with Udinese and Genoa, but with both teams desperate to win a few games at the bottom of the league, a frustrating draw is more likely.
My last pick is probably more noteworthy. Milan has started the season incredibly well – and even if it can’t keep up this level of form for the whole campaign, Stefan Pioli’s men are giving themselves a great chance of Champions League qualification. Napoli is looking good as well but is dealing with many injuries and COVID-related issues at the moment. I don’t think it will be able to handle Milan in such a weakened state.