The meeting of six-time-in-a-row winners Juventus and Maurizio Sarri’s Serie A upstarts Napoli at the Allianz Stadium this Sunday night should prove crucial to deciding which side claims the Scudetto after a topsy-turvy season on the peninsula.
Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve made a sluggish start to the season domestically and had to use all their collective experience to scrape their way back to the summit over the last couple of months, where they sit with a four point cushion underneath them.
They come into this one off the back of a devastating, Michael Oliver-inspired exit from the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid. Gianluigi Buffon’s histrionics at the tail of that tie serve as an example of how hard that course of events was to take for them and they followed it up with an underwhelming 1-1 draw away to Crotone.
There might never be a better time, then, for Sarri’s Napoli to travel to Turin. The long-time table-toppers have been in free-scoring form this season, only losing twice in the league in what’s been a fine campaign for the Gli Azzurri. They haven’t been beaten since a defeat to a Roma six weeks ago and come into this in buoyant form.
The result of this one will, of course, have massive ramifications for the title race and a point would see Juve in a near-unassailable position ahead of the final four games. Napoli need a win to keep them in contention and, with a massive gap between them and third-placed Roma, they have little to lose in throwing caution to the wind and going out to win this one.
888Sport rate the hosts as a 11/10 shot, with the same bookies pricing Napoli up at 13/5. The draw is on offer at 23/10 with Bet365. With the wealth of experience that the hosts have in their ranks, it’s difficult to see them not grinding out a draw to get the solitary point they need to get their mitts half-wrapped around their seventh straight Scudetto.
That said, a Napoli team with nothing to gain from a cautious approach is a dangerous animal and they might find it a battle to get more than that. We’ll take the draw, then, which appeals at a seemingly lofty 23/10.
Top-of-the-table ties in Italy are usually cagey affairs and, with so much at stake ahead of this one, it’s forecasted that things could be kept tight for long periods in Turin. The over/under 2.5 market is the most simplistic way of looking to turn a profit out of predicting the nature of the scoreline here and there looks to be a blatant rick in one bookie’s line.
Unibet make the over 2.5 option an 11/10 shot and that’s generally replicated across the boards. The same firm make the under 2.5 option a 13/8 chance and that’s a bold move on their part indeed. Most of their competitors are well odds-on and they’ve stuck their head on the block somewhat here.
With a cagey, classical Italian eye in the offing, any quotes available at odds against on the unders are worth snapping up, with the aforementioned price of 13/8 offering a sublime little bit of value. That’s our wager of the tie and it’s advised that you adjust your own staking plan accordingly if you’re getting involved.
With a cagey, low-scoring, drawn game on the peninsula forecasted, there might be some worth to taking an interest in the correct score markets. A scoreless encounter (0-0) is priced up at 8/1 with 888sport, with the a goal apiece (1-1) rating as a 6/1 shot with William Hill.
These are the two correct scores that correlate with our previous two selections and, should the final scoreline end as either of them, we’re in clover. Not content to rest on our laurels, we’ll take a speculative little investment in this market in the aim of hitting the bullseye on the in-play markets.
While dutching two stakes between the two options and holding tight was considered, we’re going to go with a slightly more adventurous option. Taking a small interest in the two options with a top football bookie of your choice and then - hopefully - greening out on a betting exchange like Matchbook, could prove a more attraction move here.
Should the opening period of the game pass by with the game still scoreless, as is thought to be likely, we can green out on the 0-0 option. Our attention can then turn to the 1-1 option which, depending on how the game progresses, we can either look to green out once more, or see it out till the end. This is just a little in-play aside, of course, and our main interest will be in the previously outlined plays.