Weekend Football Tips: Red peril will sway Milan derby

Mario Balotelli is as likely to be sent off as score in the Milan derby
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Two derbies - one in London and one in Milan - and the Coppa Italia Final, are scrutinised for in-play opportunities...

"There have been ten red cards in the last 11 Milan derbies, yet eight came in the second half, including the last five, and three came in the 90th minute, so wait until half time at least in hope of bigger odds than 2.89/5."

Saturday 12:45, West Ham v Tottenham, BT Sport 1

Gareth Bale won't be putting in a match-winning performance this time round, but the structure of last season's gripping Boleyn Ground clash between West Ham and Tottenham, in which the hosts led only to be overcome in the final 15 minutes, could be replicated. In fact, Spurs' last six visits to a stadium that they allegedly sought to buy have involved them coming from behind to triumph on three occasions and draw on another. This is also a collision between the Premier League team that have spilled the most points from winning positions (20) and lost the most games (six) - West Ham - and the side that have gained the most from losing positions (17) and won most having trailed (five) - Spurs. Home fans evidently shouldn't celebrate too boisterously if they lead, while punters should pile into the Lilywhites, who would be a far plumper price by then than their pre-match 1.9310/11 billing.

Saturday 20:00, Fiorentina v Napoli, Sky Sports 1

Whereas Napoli won the Coppa Italia two years ago, Fiorentina haven't held major silverware since prevailing in the competition in 2001, and many neutrals will feel that the 3.65 outsiders deserve a trophy to reward two seasons of sizable progress under Vincenzo Montella. Their problems are that they rarely beat Napoli, their 1-0 San Paolo victory against ten men in March being their first in eight showdowns, and opposition coach Rafael Benitez is a cup-collecting king eager to add to a haul that includes a Champions League, UEFA Cup, Europa League, FA Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. Since the final reverted to a one-off encounter in 2008, the first goal has meant everything. The six teams that scored it all lifted the Coppa, three of the last four didn't concede and two of those fixtures ended 1-0. So back the deadlock breakers to win, and potentially punt on a win to nil and 1-0 scoreline too.

Sunday 19:45, AC Milan v Inter, BT Sport 1

There won't be a Milanese club in the 2014/15 edition of the Champions League, though there could yet be two in the Europa League. Inter have a five-point grip on their qualifying berth, while a second successive post-Christmas surge from AC Milan, claiming ten wins in 18 (five in their last six), has left them a point off sixth place having been miles back - and that despite Mario Balotelli's perceived ineptitude. While the Europa League is clearly a consolation prize, it is one that could keep coaches Clarence Seedorf and Walter Mazzarri - whose futures are subject to much speculation - employed, so there is far more than bragging rights on the line. The last five Derby della Madonnina epics have passed without an Inter defeat, but the ripest punting soil is in the sending off market. There have been ten in the last 11 meetings, yet eight came in the second half, including the last five, and three came in the 90th minute, so wait until half time at least in hope of bigger odds than the present 2.89/5.

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