Dave Farrar predicts more victories for Hellas Verona against Cagliari and Parma in Torino, while Atalanta and Sassuolo enter a shootout...
“Only Lazio have earned more Serie A points than Verona’s 16 in 2020 so far, while only Brescia have picked up fewer than Cagliari’s 3, and that makes the home team, the form team, a simple bet at odds against.”
Verona still under-valued
Hellas Verona v Cagliari
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Let's start with Verona, and the latest instalment in Cagliari's 2020 disintegration. It's been sad to watch, and has been mirrored by the rise of this weekend's opponents.
Only Lazio have earned more Serie A points than Verona's 16 in 2020 so far, while only Brescia have picked up fewer than Cagliari's 3, and that makes the home team, the form team, a simple bet at odds against.
Verona have won their last four home games against Cagliari, making it 7 in 10 here, and Ivan Juric's team are now unbeaten since December 7th. Their last home game was that remarkable 2-1 win against Juventus, and they'll bring plenty of happy memories from that win into this more routine game.
Cagliari have lost 6 of their last 9, haven't won since December 5th, and look short of confidence and ideas at the moment. This could end up feeling like a long journey from Sardinia, and Verona have to be the bet of the week.
Parma add to Toro troubles
Torino v Parma
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Torino have now lost five Serie A games in a row, and even though they have a relatively new man in charge in the shape of Moreno Longo, the team looks as insipid as it has done for much of the season, and Longo has a big rebuild in front of him.
Turin has always been a refuge for the Granata, in recent years at least, but their home form has deserted them lately, losing three of their last four here, and giving the impression that they have become a poor team, regardless of where they are playing. Andrea Belotti has now gone eight home games without a goal, a symptom of the dispirited team he has around him.
Parma are eight points better off than Torino in the Serie A table, and are a better and more consistent side. They won at Sassuolo last weekend, and their style is suited to playing away. They counter-attack, defend well, and while they're not Atalanta style risk takers, they're pretty easy on the eye.
That win at Sassuolo was Parma's fourth on their travels this season, and they'll be confident of making it a quick fire five. They've won nine of their last 15 Serie A games against Torino, losing only twice in that period. This is a place with happy memories for them, and I think they look a shade too big to come away with a win.
Inevitable Atalanta Overs
Atalanta v Sassuolo
Live on Premier Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video
Atalanta have enjoyed a stellar week, and this small squad will hope to drag themselves back to reality and keep up their advantage in fourth place, after a dramatic win against Roma was followed by that thrashing of Valencia. A Champions League quarter final place is within touching distance, if they can only keep their nerve.
This is far from an ideal fixture for Gian Piero Gasperini's side. Sassuolo play a similar style of football, and will come to play. Whereas you'd normally expect Sassuolo to be outgunned, you wonder about Atalanta's fitness levels and you look at the 9.28/1 available about an away win and you wonder just how big that price might look come Monday morning.
I won't be tipping Sassuolo, but I do think that they'll make a dent in Gasperini's side. Atalanta won the return 4-1, and I can see Roberto De Zerbi's team scoring here. Atalanta, though, have statistically done pretty well on the weekends following Champions League games. They may be running on fumes, but they've done so effectively, losing only 1 of their 6 post UCL League games so far this season.
Could they run out of gas? Might they be a little less slick than usual? Possibly, but Atalanta have their eyes set firmly on a couple of prizes now, and I can't see them wavering, either in terms of results, or style of play. Duvan Zapata's freshness is a big plus too, as I can see them winning in style, 3-1 or 4-1, thus making Over 3.5 Goals a slightly predictable bet.
Staked: 65 Points
Return: 60.03 points
P/L: -4.97 points
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Back Verona to beat Cagliari @ 2.0621/20
Back Parma to beat Torino @ 3.613/5
Back Over 3.5 Goals in Atalanta v Sassuolo @ 2.111/10