Juventus v Torino
Boxing commitments mean that I won't be on duty for Saturday night's live ESPN game and I have to say that I'm disappointed. The Turin derby, or Derby Della Mole, looks set to be a fantastic watch, with Juve hoping to recover from that defeat by Milan, and Torino guaranteed to provide tough opposition.
Juve have now picked up just four points from their last four Serie A matches, and are suddenly looking a little vulnerable. I thought the Milan defeat showed just how dependent the Champions are on their excellent wing backs, and with Stephan Lichtsteiner absent and Kwaddwo Asamoah brilliantly dealt with, they looked short on ideas. Lichtsteiner is back for this game, and Paul Pogba is likely to play in midfield in place of a tired Arturo Vidal, and Torino will sniff Bianconeri blood.
Giampiero Ventura's men currently sit just four points ahead of the bottom three but they are only a win away from the top half of the table, and so they're no hopeless back marker. In fact, Torino's away form is excellent, in that they've lost only once and have a win to go along with six draws. That sums them up: they don't win enough, which is why they're in such a poor position in the table, but they will make themselves very tough to beat and, after holding Fiorentina last weekend, and picking up away draws already against both Lazio and Napoli (both 1-1 draws), they'll feel that they can deny Juve.
I don't think that it will be a particularly expansive game, and so under 2.5 goals looks attractive at [2.1], and the draw also looks overpriced at [5.1]. Of course, we could back the 1-1 Correct Score at [10.5] https://sports.betfair.com/football/market?id=1.107547651, but I like the idea of keeping 0-0 on side as well, and of course that price also gives us an insurance if I'm wrong about the "Unders" and the match ends in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Back Under 2.5 Goals in Juventus v Torino @ [2.1]
Back Draw in Juventus v Torino @ [5.1]
Inter v Palermo
One of the themes of this Serie A season seems to have already been established. Juventus will slip up on occasion, but none of their title rivals will be good enough to take advantage.
Juve have been beaten twice now, and on each occasion the heart has fluttered with the anticipation that this might be the start of something: of a challenge from Inter and Napoli, even an unlikely gauntlet thrown down by Fiorentina.
But on each occasion the chasing pack have slipped up too, and Inter were seriously guilty of that on Monday night. Juve beaten by Milan, and then the Nerazzurri slumped in Parma.
They return to San Siro to face Palermo, who themselves will feel that they can get their season going after a dramatic derby win over Catania. They'll be without Fabrizio Miccoli and Massimo Donati, and in fact there's even a doubt over Donati's central defensive partner Steve Von Bergen, which would seriously weaken the pink and black back line. Andrea Stramaccioni is without Antonio Cassano who serves the second of his two match ban.
Palermo are [8.2] to win on Sunday afternoon, and if I felt like I could trust them then I'd be very interested in that price, or at least supporting them on the Asian Handicap.
I like the way that the Palermo front three shapes up against Inter defensively, and actually feel that they'll pose more of a threat without Miccoli. He's not as mobile as he once was, and Josip Ilicic, Franco Brienza and the sensational young Argentine Paulo Dybala could really test an Inter backline that looked desperately uncomfortable against inferior players in Parma.
The worry that I have is whether Palermo can keep out Inter, and I think that the answer is no. I like the idea of Both Team to Score at [1.8], and also will be backing over 3.5 goals in the match at [2.7]. Inter do look short at [1.48] and so a lay at that price is tempting, but I think that after a scare or two they might be too strong, and could see them winning the game 3-1.
Both teams to score in Inter v Palermo @ [1.8]
Over 3.5 Goals in Inter v Palermo @ [2.7]