Serie A Betting: Battle of the Hitmen in Bergamo, Inter and Napoli in trouble
Dave Farrar predicts Atalanta and Milan will provide fireworks on Saturday night when Duvan Zapata and Krzysztof Piatek go toe-to-toe. Elsewhere Inter are in crisis and Torino can trip up Napoli...
"It was 2-2 when the two met at San Siro earlier in the season, and four goals is the least that we can expect in this one, although I'm not going to be greedy, and Over 3.5 goals has to be the bet"
Hitman v Hitman
Atalanta v Milan
Live on Betfair Live Video, Eleven Sports 2 and Premier 2
I'm aware that AC Milan have the joint best defensive record in Europe since the beginning of December, but I can't help feel that there'll be goals in Bergamo when they head to Atalanta on Saturday.
Gian Piero Gasperini's team are the top scorers in Serie A, managing 50 goals so far this season, and they're sure to go for Milan, but with Krzysztof Piatek in terrific form since he joined the Rossoneri, this should be a fun watch.
Milan are vastly improved, but I still don't feel that they're good enough to keep out Papu Gomez and Duvan Zapata, and the way that Atalanta play is conducive to goals at either end. They take risks, they ask questions, and even though Milan are defensively minded, they'll get drawn into a different kind of contest here.
It was 2-2 when the two met at San Siro earlier in the season, and four goals is the least that we can expect in this one, although I'm not going to be greedy, and Over 3.5 goals has to be the bet. That would have been successful in five of Atlanta's last seven Serie A games, and even though their last two League games have gone under that mark, I'm not worried at the prices with Piatek and co in town.
Inter v Sampdoria
Live on Betfair Live Video, Eleven Sports 2 and Premier 1
If ever there was a time to play Inter Milan, it's now. The controversy surrounding Mauro Icardi has exploded this week, and even if an unpopular player has been replaced as captain, his shadow looms large as Inter take on the team where the Argentine made his name.
Icardi will more than likely miss this game, with a scarcely believable ankle injury, and that weakens Inter yet further. Given the fact that they have failed to score in their last two Serie A home games, and looked stolid and uninspired, that's less than encouraging.
I know that Lautaro Martinez scored the winner against Parma last time (Inter's first Serie A goal in 2019), but he's an unconvincing replacement for Icardi, and Sampdoria must travel to San Siro with confidence, as Luciano Spalletti struggles to maintain a fading reputation.
The Inter Coach has been told that next season's Champions League is his bare minimum, but the truth is that he hasn't looked good enough since joining the Nerazzurri, and it might be time for another new direction.
It's obviously a worry that Samp lost at home last time against Frosinone, and that they've won only one of their last five in the League, but two of those games were at Juventus and Napoli, and it was only in Naples that they let themselves down.
If we can put last week down to a one-off bad display, and trust that Samp are a very good side, then they head to San Siro with a major chance of becoming the latest team to frustrate Inter here, and add to Spalletti's considerable problems.
Don't bet against Toro
Napoli v Torino
Live on Betfair Live Video and Premier 2
A Serie A era ended this week, as Marek Hamsik, the last of the three tenors, left Napoli for China and memories of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani's time in Italian football faded into the distant past.
Napoli's form has wavered a little of late, and they must beat Torino to keep up any semblance of a chase for the title. Their draw with Fiorentina last week was frustrating and disappointing. They're struggling in front of goal at just the wrong time.
For their part, Torino got the job done for us against Udinese last week, and did so in typically attritional fashion. That defensive strength will serve them well at the San Paolo, and I think that Walter Mazzarri's team can get something from a tricky looking trip.
They have now kept three consecutive clean sheets, and with Napoli also defensively solid, 0-0 has to be a big runner here. Andrea Belotti, though, has a better goalscoring record against Napoli than any other Serie A team, and that will give the visitors hope of a little more.
The fact that Napoli had a midweek Europa League trip to Zurich, and are starting to be affected by injuries (Raul Albiol is a significant miss) further tips the scales in favour of Torino, and given the price they are with a goal start on the Asian Handicap, I think that they're worth supporting here. [3.1] is definitely too big.
Staked: 69 points
Returned: 66.82 points
P/L: - 2.18 points
Back Over 3.5 Goals in Atalanta v Milan @ [3.5]
Back Sampdoria +1 on Asian Handicap v Inter Milan @ [2.7]
Back Torino +1 on Asian Handicap v Napoli @ [3.1]