Lays of the Weekend: Juventus win run in rare danger

Daniele Conti could cause Antonio Conte distress on Sunday

It's go-hard-or-go-home time this weekend, with Juventus making a rare appearance on Michael Lintorn's lay-dar...

"Cagliari are Serie A’s most underrated team, undefeated in seven and having already held Fiorentina, Inter, Roma and Napoli.
Lay Juventus to win at Cagliari @ 1.4840/85

Lay Brighton to beat Birmingham @ 1.855/6
This lay combines two of our most successful festive lays - opposing Brighton at home to Bournemouth and Blackburn as hosts of Birmingham. Brighton's Championship home record of four wins in 12 is nowhere near good enough for a club with play-off ambitions and their stats read an even more disturbing one victory in seven when entertaining bottom-half sides. The longest unbeaten run of Lee Clark's Birmingham reign that this column was championing a fortnight ago is still in operation, now stretching to 10 games. Their finest results in that period have been earned on the road, where they have won four and drawn one of their last five, with Blackburn the last victims.

Lay Juventus to win at Cagliari @ 1.4840/85
This bet carries a disclaimer: Juventus have won 10 Serie A games in a row, conceding once along the way, and dropped points twice all season, both times away to top-six companions. So why Cagliari? They are Serie A's most underrated team, undefeated in seven and having already held Fiorentina, Inter, Roma and Napoli. The Isolani have lost their last three at home to Juventus, but with caveats. The latter two were played in the middle of nowhere in Cagliari's stadium-hopping days and, even then, the southerners led until the 75th minute before being sunk by two injury-time goals last term. Cagliari avenged that comeback with a draw in Turin in May, one of two in three visits. They lost midfielder Radja Nainggolan to Roma in midweek, yet retain plenty of quality in that area like Daniele Conti, Albin Ekdal and trequartista Andrea Cossu.

Lay Real Betis to beat Osasuna @ 1.855/6
West Brom's appointment of Pepe Mel will attract criticism because he was last seen being axed by lowly Betis, but Baggies fans should counter back that things have hardly improved in his absence. The Verdiblancos have won two league matches in 2013/14 and none of their 11 since September 29, their situation at the bottom exacerbated by failure to win any of their eight meetings with bottom-half rivals, six of which took place at home. Osasuna are well placed to capitalise on that as these positional head-to-heads are their speciality. They have taken seven points from nine away to bottom-halfers, winning three of their four at any venue against the five sides below them.

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