Serie A Predictions and Best Bets – November 28-30, 2020
It was an emotional week for the world of soccer as it learned of the passing of Diego Maradona, possibly the greatest ever player of the sport.
Napoli paid its own tribute for the Argentinian maestro at its Europa League game while the funeral was taking place in Buenos Aires. Head coach Gennaro Gattuso will now need to raise his players once again on Sunday as they face Roma in Serie A.
There is another full schedule of fixtures in the Italian top flight this weekend and there are some intriguing match ups in store. For my Serie A predictions and picks for this weekend, I’m going to take a look at every game in the ninth round of fixtures.
Sassuolo and Inter to Draw
Sassuolo has taken Serie A by storm this season and is still unbeaten after eight games of the season. The fixtures have been relatively kind to the Neraverdi but there have been some impressive victories at Napoli – and Hellas Verona last week. Domenico Beradi has been the star of the show but the whole team has raised its game. This is another tough test for Sassuolo, but there is a very good spirit in this squad.
That might not be the case at Inter, as the Nerazzurri comes into this one after losing to Real Madrid in the week. That result makes progress from the group stage almost impossible – and Inter’s form in the competition may see it finish bottom of the group and miss out on a transfer to the Europa League as well. That might actually help Antonio Conte’s side with its quest to win the scudetto though.
The lack of distraction would focus the players on winning the league for the first time since 2010. A draw at the Mapei Stadium should probably be seen as a good result.
Juventus to Beat Benevento
The Old Lady enjoyed a much better week and assured itself a place in the knock out rounds of the Champions League with two games to spare in the group stage. That will allow Andrea Pirlo’s side to concentrate on bridging the gap at the top of the league. Juve is four points behind Milan, largely due to the squad getting used to the new head coach. Pirlo will have to shift his defense around because of injuries, but Juventus should still be able to deal with a limited Benevento side.
That’s not to say that Benevento will not cause a few upsets this season. The Streghe were relegated after their one and only Serie A season two years ago, but managed to come away from Florence with three points last weekend as Fiorentina was beaten by a second half goal. That win helped Benevento climb above the Viola in the table but another victory over Juventus this weekend would seem to be more unlikely.
Atalanta to Beat Hellas Verona
Atalanta goes into this game on Saturday in the best possible frame of mind after beating Liverpool at Anfield in the week to give it some real hope of progressing in the Champions League. Gian Piero Gasperini went for a formation without any recognized strikers for that game and still managed to win 2-0. Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel could both be back for the game against Hellas Verona, so more goals should be expected.
Hellas Verona boss Ivan Juric should enjoy playing in Bergamo on Saturday, as he will be meeting up with his former manager at Genoa – a relationship that carried on when he became Gasperini’s assistant at the club. Juric has been putting together a very impressive squad of his own in Verona, but it couldn’t beat Sassuolo last week – and has now won just one of its last six games. Better form will return for the Gialloblu, but perhaps not this weekend.
Lazio to Beat Udinese
Ciro Immobile got back to his very best after returning to the Lazio starting line up last week by scoring in both the Serie A game against Crotone and the Champions League clash with Zenit St Petersburg. That puts him on seven for the season and he looks like he wants to reclaim his top goal scorer status this season. The Biancocelesti is four games unbeaten now and should be able to overcome a stubborn but limited Udinese.
The Friulani has picked up a bit of form in the last two match days, managing an excellent goalless draw with Sassuolo followed by the win over Genoa last time out. That has helped Luca Gotti’s side to climb out of the relegation spots, but there is little doubt that it will be another tough campaign for the club. Lazio will be big favorites for this one – and it should be noted that Udinese has not even scored a goal in the Stadio Olimpico since 2014.
Bologna to Beat Crotone
I suppose Crotone has to win a game eventually. But I don’t think it will be this weekend. The Calabrian club has only managed to draw two of the eight games this season – and was also winless in the final three rounds of fixtures it last played in the top flight in 2018. Scoring goals continues to be a problem and it is not a controversial statement to predict this early that Crotone will be making a swift return to Serie B at the end of this season.
Bologna might have an anxious campaign of its own if it doesn’t start winning a few more games. Three points on Sunday seems perfectly winnable, but the Rossoblu has struggled for form so far, winning just three games. An own goal and a second half goal from Riccardo Orsolini claimed the points away at Sampdoria last weekend, but Bologna did concede a goal for the 41st consecutive Serie A game. Keeper Lukasz Skorupski will be looking forward to the possibility of a long-awaited clean sheet on Sunday.
Milan to Beat Fiorentina
Milan kept up its unbeaten form last weekend by beating Napoli in the Stadio San Paolo. The Rossoneri had just conceded a goal when Bakayoko was sent off for the home side and was able to hang on until Norwegian striker Jens Petter Hauge confirmed the victory with his first Serie A goal deep into stoppage time. He may get his first league start against Fiorentina now, as Milan will be without a number of players because of injury – including Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Rossoneri may struggle over the next few weeks without its talismanic Swedish striker but it should still be able to deal with a floundering Fiorentina at the San Siro on Sunday. Cesare Prandelli was making his return as head coach at the club last week but saw realized what a big job he has on his hands, as his new team was beaten 1-0 at home by Benevento. There was more bad news as Franck Ribery limped off with another injury. Prandelli will need to come up with something to alleviate Fiorentina’s situation soon to avoid battling relegation later in the season.
Cagliari and Spezia to Draw
Cagliari was unable to exploit a weakened Juventus back line last week as it fell to two quick first-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin. The Old Lady allowed Cagliari to play in the second half, seemingly happy to attack on the counter, but the Sardinian side was unable to find the net – apart from a headed effort that was then called back for an offside. It was the first time since the second game of the season that Cagliari had not scored a goal – and the defeat kept the club securely in mid-table.
Spezia enjoyed a very good week in the Coppa Italia, as it won a six-goal thriller with Bologna after extra time on Wednesday. That followed a good goalless draw with Atalanta last weekend – and a win at Benevento in the last game before the international break. All these results are making it a season to remember so far for the Serie A new boys – and will give the players and head coach Vincenzo Italiano more confidence to compete at this level. Another point this weekend could see the club climb into the top half of the table.
Roma to Beat Napoli
Roma has been dealing with a squad depleted by positive COVID tests but has still put on some incredible displays to pick up some points in recent games. The latest win was against Parma last weekend when Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored another two goals to go along with the hat-trick he managed in the previous victory away at Genoa. Edin Dzeko should also be available for the trip south on Sunday – and he will be raring to go after missing the last few weeks.
Napoli will be desperate to come up with another win this weekend to pay tribute to Diego Maradona – and Gennaro Gattuso will be hoping that his players will be able to raise themselves to do the great man justice. But it was a poor performance against Milan last week, with rumors of heated scenes in the changing room after the game between management and players. The focus should be back on the three points this weekend but Roma is on a very good run of form and could snatch them in Naples.
Torino and Sampdoria to Draw
Torino was yet another Serie A side depleted by positive COVID tests after the international break. But it still went two goals up against Inter last weekend, before the now seemingly customary second half collapse gifted the Milan club the win and the points. That loss dropped Torino back in the bottom three and a Coppa Italia win the week will have done little to improve head coach Marco Giampaolo’s mood. He needs some more points quickly.
The Granata may be able to get at least one this weekend though, as Sampdoria is enduring a very similar campaign so far. There was a flurry of wins at the beginning of October but there has now been back-to-back defeats either side of the international break. Samp actually took the lead at home against Bologna last weekend but then gifted the visitors an equalizer before capitulating in the second half. A lot seems to be on the shoulders of veteran striker Fabio Quagliarella once again, but he will need the rest of the team to step up if Samp is going to do well this season.
Genoa to Beat Parma
It is another early season relegation battle to round out the match day nine fixtures, as Genoa welcome Parma to town with neither club having celebrated a win in the league since the start of October. Genoa and Parma have only won one game each this season and look to have already found a disappointingly familiar place near the bottom of the table. Genoa has, at least, managed to score a few more goals recently – and it is really only the home field advantage that swings this game in its favor.
Parma had actually managed to draw three games in a row before the international break but was convincingly beaten by a weakened Roma in the Stadio Olimpico last weekend. Parma was completely overwhelmed by the host team as it fell to its fourth defeat of the season. Another loss in Genoa would see Parma drop into the bottom three. A narrow Coppa Italia win over Serie B team Cosenza in the week might have lifted the spirits slightly, but there needs to be a huge improvement in the league now from Fabio Liverani’s side.
Top Serie A Betting Picks for November 28-30
Now for the all-important picks.
- Sassuolo and Inter to draw – 4.20
- Cagliari and Spezia to draw – 3.40
- Roma to beat Napoli – 3.75
There are some interesting looking odds for a number of Serie A games this weekend. These are my pick of the bunch. The bookmakers seem to think that Inter is better than its recent results, but I’ve been very impressed with the way Sassuolo has been playing and I think the Neraverdi can pick up at least a point this weekend.
Spezia has also been overachieving this year – and Cagliari is not the force it was at home any more. Another draw would suit Spezia in particular. My final pick is for Roma to ruin Napoli’s special day on Sunday. The game will, no doubt, be an emotional affair. But when it comes down to the soccer on the pitch, I feel that Paulo Fonseca’s side has the momentum to gain another three points.