Dave Farrar - over 13 points up for the Serie A season so far - predicts a thriller at the Stadio San Paolo, SPAL to at least dent Milan's defence and the Asian Handicap for Sampdoria...
“Napoli are trading at a very skinny [1.67] for the win, and given that their home games against teams that come with an attacking philosophy are full of goals, I’ll tip Over 3.5 Goals at [2.8].”
Napoli maintain their one-point lead at the top of the Serie A table, and they face a major hurdle this weekend. The Partenopei will already know whether Juventus overcame the challenge of Fiorentina on Friday night (I expect them to) and the pressure will be on at the San Paolo.
For all Napoli's attacking potential, it's their defence which has kept them in the title race. They now have four clean sheets in their last five Serie A games, and know that keeping another on Saturday evening will be a major challenge.
Lazio have now both scored and conceded in eight of their last nine Serie A away games, and that's a likely outcome here, provided that they have quickly banished the memory of their late capitulation against Genoa on Monday night. I still can't quite believe that Diego Laxalt's late winner happened, and I'm sure that Simone Inzaghi feels the same.
Is that a sign that Lazio are tiring and there for the taking, or can we write it off as a bump on the road, one from which they can quickly recover? Either way, I think that they're set to give Napoli a game on Saturday evening. The Neapolitans have scored an average of 2.6 goals per game in their last 12 Serie A meetings with Lazio, and I think that the home team will just prove too strong.
Napoli are trading at a very skinny [1.67] for the win, and given that they won 4-1 at Lazio earlier in the season, and that their home games against teams that come with an attacking philosophy are full of goals, I'll tip Over 3.5 Goals at [2.8].
Back Over 3.5 Goals in Napoli v Lazio @ [2.8]
It looks as if Leonardo Semplici could soon be out of the door at SPAL, after their mini rally proved to be a false dawn, with the club slipping back into the Serie A relegation zone. If they don't correct their form slump soon, then they'll be doomed along with the other promoted sides.
Last week's defeat by Cagliari was especially damaging for Semplici, and those in positions of power at the club will be hoping for an improved performance, rather than a win, against a Milan side which is now unbeaten in six matches under Gennaro Gattuso, seemingly improving by the week.
Milan have lost only one of their last 33 Serie A meetings against SPAL, and they're [1.9] to extend that run here. That seems a little big to me, but Milan still don't entirely convince, as they draw too many games, and SPAL still carry a goal threat.
I was banking on SPAL managing a goal against Cagliari last week, and they let me down, but they have scored and conceded in each of their last five League games before that, and with Milan having done the same in their last three Serie A games, and still looking vulnerable at the back, I'll bank on a similar outcome here.
Back Both Teams to Score in SPAL v Milan @ [1.9]
Sampdoria have been all-powerful at home in Serie A this season, with only Juventus earning more domestic points, and I expect them to sweep aside an awful Verona team this weekend.
Samp were held to a 0-0 draw at the Bentegodi earlier in the campaign, but that doesn't seem overly relevant given what has happened since.
Verona have now lost five of their last six Serie A games, have failed to score in four of those, and look ripe for the picking here by a Samp side who'll be frustrated after they were held to a 1-1 draw here last time by 10-man Torino.
Verona have lost six of their last eight games by two goals or more, and they've got into the habit of allowing matches to get away from them in the last half hour. No team in Serie A has conceded more than them in that period, while only Juve and Lazio have registered more than Samp in the same timeframe.
Back Sampdoria -1.5 on Asian Handicap @ [2.2]
Staked: 66 points
Returned: 79.66 points
P/L: + 13.66 points