by Zack Lambert (@bigbird8224)
December 4th, 2020
Cagliari (LWLWD); 12th at Hellas Verona (WDLLW); 7th
Spread: Verona (-0.5); O/U: 3
Moneyline: Cagliari +275, Verona -105, Draw +270
Time/Location: 5:30 AM ET, Stadio Marcantonio Bentagodi, Verona, Italy
Analysis and Pick
Sassuolo and Hellas are two of the surprise teams who are atop Lazio and Atalanta in the race for a European position in Serie A, Sassuolo by scoring goals and Hellas by keeping them out. The club have allowed a league-low seven goals this season and though they’re not scoring much, they’re earning points and staying ahead. Cagliari is meddling in 12th but their lack of world class talent won’t allow them to rise much higher. The club are heavily dependent on Giovanne Simeone and João Pedro for scoring with the duo putting in 11 of the 16 goals on the season. The defense, headed by Diego Godín and Seb Walukiewicz, has allowed a massive 19 goals already, a number that indicates their struggles.
This started as something of a tough call for me but after a bit of thought I’m confident in my bet. Cagliari allow a lot of goals and while that doesn’t help my pick, what Verona does will. Hellas simply doesn’t allow goals and they’re not a team who like to score them either. I expect this to be a slow paced game with Verona commanding the tempo and bending Cagliari to their will. I figure upon a low scoring shutout for I Gialloblu. Take the under three goals in this match.
Benevento (LLLWD); 15th at Parma Calcio 1913 (WDDLW); 16th
Spread: Parma (0, -0.5); O/U: 2.5
Moneyline: Benevento +240, Parma +110, Draw +265
Time/Location: 9:00 AM ET, Stadio Ennio Tardini, Parma, Italy
Analysis and Pick
I wouldn’t blame anyone on the planet for not really knowing much about either of these teams, but they’re actually both pretty fun this year and their positions don’t tell the whole story. Parma is much better than a 16th ranked team in Italy, but a tough run of early fixtures in addition to adjusting to life without Kulusevski is keeping them down early. The attack has struggled to put together great performances to date but the defending has shown bursts of skill that inspire confidence. Benevento is in a decent position for a newly promoted team. They’re losing a lot of games, yes, but they’re scoring a good amount, enough to fight with Napoli, beat Fiorentina, and draw with Juventus. The Gianluca pairing of Caprari and Lapadula are scoring and assisting regularly and are keys to the Stregoni coming away with points.
Based on looking at the table you might assume that Parma is the worse team, but as I’ve explained, they’re probably a bit more talented than their opponents. The defense is much better and the attack, while not giving us great showings yet, is more than capable of doing damage against the best teams in the league. I expect the Parma players to want the winning ways to continue and I believe they will. Take Parma to win the match.
Napoli (WLWWD); 5th at Crotone (LLDLL); 20th
Spread: Crotone (+1.5); O/U: 3
Moneyline: Napoli -275 Crotone +700, Draw +425
Time/Location: 12:00 ET, Stadio Ezio Scida, Crotone, Italy
Analysis and Pick
Crotone are one of the newly promoted sides in Serie A and clearly, their time at the top isn’t going as planned. They’ve just earned two points this season, most recently taking a point from a 0-0 draw with Torino. When you’re this far down in the table it generally means you’re not doing anything well, and that applies for Crotone. They own the worst scoring record and third worst defensive record in Italy. Napoli are closer to the other end of the spectrum. The Neoploitans have scored 20 goals this season, a good number considering Victor Osimhen hasn’t even hit his stride. Kalidou Koulibaly is back in form after a long layoff and leading a decent defense. 10 goals could be much better but for an offensive-minded club with great passing and international responsibilities, Napoli will take the points they can get.
This match is going to be won by Napoli, the question is simply by how much. I already explained the issues with Crotone and their inability to score or defend, so can Napoli make this a boat race? Napoli are a point off second place in Serie A and with Inter, Sassuolo, and AC Milan all facing tough weekend fixtures, there’s ground to gain. Take Napoli to cover the spread in a game that should get out of hand.
Genoa (LLLWL); 19th at Fiorentina (LDLWL); 17th
Spread: Fiorentina (-0.5, -1); O/U: 2.5
Moneyline: Genoa +345, Fiorentina -130, Draw +280
Time/Location: 2:45 ET, Artemio Franchi Stadium, Florence, Italy
Analysis and Pick
This is a pretty grim matchup to bet but even the bottom of the Italian table can win us some money. Genoa is an old team and that shows not only in their play style, but also in their scoring record. They’re not a club who can rely on athleticism to win matches and with just eight goals, they’re only better than Crotone. Gianluca Scamacca is showing he can be an impact player with a pair of goals and an assist, but there’s no one to help him on this team. Fiorentina isn’t much better, though. With Franck Ribery as the main attraction alongside Gaetano Castrovilli, this team also plays an aging style of football, though they are younger and produce a much better defensive record. This club can be much better but poor business decisions have them teetering on the brink of disaster.
So what’s our angle? There’s not much goal production with these teams, but they’re also not capable scorers, so we don’t really want to trust the total with this event. Instead I want to hit a moneyline. The Florence club are better and have far better producers than the Genoa club. Tack on the home advantage and you have a winner. Take the Fiorentina moneyline in this match.