Serie A Preview: Juventus to finally lose?

Are Juve being over-reliant on Andrea Pirlo?

Dave Farrar previews this weekend's Italian action and believes that Juve could be vulnerable at home to Roma, and Fiorentina are a good bet to win at the San Siro...

"The Champions League is taking its toll, as is their reliance on Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal."

Lay Juventus against Roma @ 1.684/6 & Back Roma to beat Juventus @ 5.79/2

Juventus v Roma

Saturday night's big game is seen as a home win, and I can understand why Juventus are trading at 1.684/6, but that looks too short for me. Juventus were poor at home against Chievo last weekend, and then lucky to get away with a draw in Florence in midweek, and I wouldn't be surprised if an erratic Roma team became the first side to beat Juve in 44 matchdays.

Backing Roma at 5.79/2 represents a risk, of course it does. But while the lack of strength elsewhere in Serie A means that the Old Lady are worthy 1.625/8 favourites to win the division, that doesn't mean that they're going to go unbeaten for another season.

The Champions League is taking its toll, as is their reliance on Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal. With Pirlo a doubt for Saturday night, and Vidal still struggling with the effects of an ankle knock, the supply line to Juve's strikers is weakened, and anyone who has seen Juventus lately will know that their forward players need plenty of opportunities to score.

There are no natural goalscorers in the side, and if anything is going to cost them another Scudetto or a decent crack at the Champions League, it will be the failure to sign Fernando Llorente or Stefan Jovetic in the summer.

Roma are anything but solid, but they won't be phased by playing Juve, and will have the self belief to think that they can win in Turin. I don't mind ignoring a couple of ordinary results for Zdenek Zeman's team, as they have proven already this season that their tradition of playing better in big games is very much intact.

Their best performance of the season so far came away at Inter when they won 3-1, and even though this is a much tougher task, they could well be up to it, particularly with the return to their squad of Pablo Osvaldo.

They are far too big at 5.79/2 and I'm happy to get with them. This is also likely to be a game which features goals, but Over 2.5 Goals are a little short for me at 1.558/15 and so that's a market that I'm prepared to leave a play on the goals alone.

Recommended Bets: Lay Juventus against Roma @ 1.684/6 & Back Roma to beat Juventus @ 5.79/2

Inter v Fiorentina

Before the season started, I felt that Inter would be the team who would emerge as the closest challengers to Juventus, and, while that might still be the case, it's looking unlikely. Inter were poor in their home defeat by Siena last weekend, but then recovered well at Chievo in midweek, and that may prove to be the pattern of their season.

Inter have played five home games so far in all competitions, and their results read as follows: defeats by Hajduk Split, Roma, and Siena, and draws against Rubin Kazan and FC Vaslui. They've won five times away, and I wonder if the pressure of an expectant San Siro crowd has been getting to them.

Fiorentina are probably the toughest home test that they've faced, and La Viola look a team that can make a serious challenge for a Champions League place. They were brilliant against Juve on Tuesday night, and their extra day's recovery this week will also help them as they travel to Milan.

I can see Fiorentina's ability to keep the ball, and to defend solidly, frustrate the Inter fans and see the team from Florence to a counter attacking win. It would be just like Inter to lose this, and then win the Derby next week. Their season will be topsy turvy, and we can take advantage here, with Fiorentina attractively priced at 3.8514/5.

Recommended Bet: Back Fiorentina to beat Inter @ 3.8514/5

In terms of the other matches in Serie A this weekend, I'll be having a Betfair Multiple on a few teams who I simply think are wrongly priced.

As well as taking Fiorentina and Roma, I'm also keen to be with Parma at home to Milan, as I don't think that Milan's sketchy home win against Cagliari proves anything, and Parma are more than capable of producing an "upset" at 3.39/4.

Bologna also look a fair price at 2.56/4 to beat Catania at home. Stefano Pioli's team have been unlucky so far this season, never more so than in their midweek defeat by Siena, and they look solid favourites to beat a pretty average Catania. Elsewhere, I was keen to be with Napoli for their visit to a slightly overrated Sampdoria, but at 2.186/5 for the win, I'll leave them alone.

Recommended Bet: Multiple on Roma, Fiorentina, Bologna and Parma, all to win.

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