In his preview of the Serie A weekend, Dave Farrar predicts odds-beating upsets in Sampdoria v Roma, Milan v Fiorentina and Napoli v Verona...
"Napoli have been unconvincing so far, they've already been beaten at home this season by Chievo, and with Verona level on points with them in the table, there's no intelligent reason why they should be such a big price to win."
Sampdoria v Roma
Saturday October 25, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 1
Roma arrive in Genoa after taking the beating of all beatings in the Champions League and we as punters have to work out just how much that may affect them as they visit one of the League's surprise teams. There'll be an emotional atmosphere at Marassi after the recent floods in Liguria, and I think that Sampdoria may just be inspired enough by the feeling inside that compact stadium to cause an upset.
Samp have been super solid, well-organised and extremely hard to beat, and while Roma have an evident edge in quality, that doesn't mean that they should be as short as 2.1211/10 to come away with a victory.
As a former Lazio and Roma player, Sinisa Mihaijlovic will be desperate to beat I Lupi, and he'll also make the point to his players that this is the game in which they can prove that they're the real thing. They're third, and if they beat Roma, then they'll believe they can stay there. With Emiliano Viviano a long-term injury absentee, it's down to Argentina's World Cup goalkeeper Sergio Romero to cover the sticks, while Fabrizio Cacciatore sits out a ban.
If you've had a tough European week, then Samp would be the last team that you'd choose to play. Dogged, in your face, maybe short on quality but very well coached. If they add belief to that tenacious cocktail, then they've every chance of maintaining their 100% home record and denting Roma's title challenge. Kostas Manolas is suspended, joining Leandro Castan, Douglas Maicon, Seydou Keita and Kevin Strootman in the stands.
It might not be a Saturday night thriller, but it may just tell us a lot about how the League will look come the end of the season. Keep an eye on set-piece specialist Manolo Gabbiadini, who has scored almost half of all Sampdoria's goals this season.
Recommended Bet: Sampdoria to beat Roma @ 4.216/5
Milan v Fiorentina
Sunday October 26, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 1
I regret not tipping Lazio to beat Fiorentina last week, and even though we profited by laying Vincenzo Montella's side, that 4.57/2 about the Lazio win haunted me all the way through my commentary on the game. Lazio were way too good and Fiorentina are yet to click, yet to rediscover their Viola mojo, yet to deliver without Mario Gomez and Giuseppe Rossi. We won't be making the same mistake again, and an in-form Milan should be too good for the men from Florence.
Fiorentina's defensive strength is a slight worry, but they started to crumble under pressure last week, and Milan's talented forwards will create space and chances. I think that they're an excellent bet at 2.1211/10 to start building some pressure on Montella.
A lack of European distraction is pushing Milan foward as a legitimate top 4 candidate, and Pippo Inzaghi's project is getting more interesting by the week. With Fiorentina, Inter and Napoli all struggling to find consistency, the Rossoneri are the ones who look likeliest to fill the gap. Fiorentina will get better once they can welcome back their multi-million Euro strikeforce, but that time isn't now, and this weekend I expect Milan to reinforce their status as the best of the rest.
Recommended Bet: Milan to beat Fiorentina @ 2.1211/10
Napoli v Verona
Sunday October 26, 17:00
Live on ESPN
After last week's punting nightmare at San Siro, when Napoli twice managed to throw away the lead and thus cost us a healthy profit, and after Rafa Benitez's team failed badly at Young Boys in the Europa League, I think that now might just be the time to oppose them.
Verona are the visitors to the San Paolo on Sunday, and with Napoli maybe a little heavy legged, I don't think that Andrea Mandorlini's side should be as big as 8.615/2 to win there this weekend. Yes, Verona were poor in defeat by Milan last week, but that game brings it's own kind of pressures, and I expect an obdurate display which may just be enough to justify backing them at a big price.
Napoli have been unconvincing so far, they've already been beaten at home this season by Chievo, and with Verona level on points with them in the table, there's no intelligent reason why they should be such a big price to win. Napoli ought to be favourites, but not prohibitive ones, and so a simple price/probability logic means that Verona are the bet.
Walter Gargano is sidelined, but Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon and Marek Hamsik were all rested on Thursday. Rafael Marquez is suspended in the Hellas defence with Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Mounir Obbadi and Jacopo Sala sidelined.
Recommended Bet: Back Verona to beat Napoli @ 8.615/2
Serie A 2014/15 P/L
Dave Farrar is a Commentator at BT Sport and author of the bestselling gambling book "The Perfect Punter". From 21 points staked on Serie A this season, Dave is currently showing a loss of 3.06 points.