Regular Serie A previewer Dave Farrar takes a look at this weekend's action and feels that goals in the Turin derby are virtually guaranteed...
"The Turin derby seems guaranteed to produce goals, and, given Torino's recent displays, over 2.5 seems like a conservative recommendation."
The 136th Turin derby in Serie A could be particularly decisive: if Napoli fail to beat Pescara on Saturday night, then Juve could be crowned champions with a victory. If results don't go the Old Lady's way, though, it will simply be a delay of the inevitable. Juve WILL hold onto the Scudetto, and will be strong favourites next season to make it three in a row.
Torino were involved in yet another thriller last weekend against Fiorentina, showing immense spirit to come back from three goals down, only to throw away a 3-3 draw in the dying embers of the game. That result did well for this column and it reinforced the idea that Torino are determined to entertain us right until the end of the season. Their last four games have now produced 22 goals, and yet we are able to back Over 2.5 Goals in this one at [2.1]. I can see a bit of the reasoning for that, but still find it an astonishing price.
The theory will go that Juve will strangle Torino and that we won't see the kind of buccaneering end-to-end games that Torino were involved in at the Artemio Franchi, but look at Torino's results against the rest of the top four when they played them at home. Milan (2-4), Fiorentina (2-2) and Napoli (3-5) all ended up involved in free-flowing games and I don't see why Juve should be any similar.
I could throw in the fact that Juve won 3-0 in the reverse fixture just to cement the case, but I hardly need to. The Turin derby seems guaranteed to produce goals, and, given Torino's recent displays, over 2.5 seems like a conservative recommendation.
Recommendation: Back Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.1]
Fiorentina's march to fourth place in Serie A has proved to be something of a rollercoaster ride and that continued last weekend when they seemed set to throw away a certain three points against Torino, only for Romulo to rescue them late on. La Viola head to Genoa next, where they face a Sampdoria side who haven't won in six in Serie A, and have lost their last two at home.
Fiorentina are [2.08] for the win, and after winning five of their last seven, that seems a justifiable price.
Fiorentina have now scored in each of their last nine Serie A fixtures, and no one has scored more goals in the first half of games than Vincenzo Montella's team. They often start matches well, although nerves can take over as they did last week. Stefan Jovetic seems certain to start on Sunday, which takes the goalscoring burden off Adem Llajic.
With Sampdoria seemingly cruising to a mid-table finish, and not overly bothered by results, the only thing standing in the way of a Fiorentina victory would seem to be the presence of Delio Rossi in the Samp dugout. It will be a chance for Rossi to throw his former employers a curveball, and plenty of animosity lingers between Rossi and La Viola (Rossi was, you may remember, sacked by Fiorentina for punching Adem Llajic, a marvellous incident that you can see again here).
I respect (and slightly fear) Rossi enough to swerve Fiorentina here, and focus instead on the Both Teams to Score market. That outcome has occurred in Samp's last three, and in four of Fiorentina's last five. I think that a price of [1.9] for Both Teams to Score here is generous, and that is the bet.
Recommendation: Back Both Teams to Score @ [1.9]
Elsewhere, it isn't the most attractive betting weekend. I wanted to support Palermo to beat Inter, but given their position in the table, the Sicilian side are too short at [2.36].
For all that Pescara did amazingly well to get a 1-1 draw against Roma last week, I can't see them doing likewise in the live Saturday night game against Napoli, even though the second placed team are without the suspended Edinson Cavani. Napoli are [1.38] for the win, and that price accurately reflects their chance of winning, so again, it's one to swerve.
Before looking at the prices, I also wanted to support Udinese at Cagliari, as the Zebrette are finishing the season well, but they are [2.28] to win in Sardinia, and that looks short enough. Lazio are fading fast, and will find things tough at the Tardini against Parma, but again I can't support Parma at [2.46] given their recent form.
That leaves just tips from Turin and Genoa, with hopefully a full house returning next week as the end of the season approaches.