In a not-too-distorted alternate reality, both of these sides might have been in European competition this week. As it is, they will have had a week to reflect on their previous results. Napoli had to come from behind to beat lowly Chievo 2-1. They may have scored in the 89th and 92nd minutes, but their shots were worth a total of 3.2 expected goals, so they were certainly worthy winners.
But not making the most of chances has been a common theme for Maurizio Sarri’s side this season. Nine teams in Serie A have been better than Napoli when it comes to out-performing the underlying attacking statistics in 2017/18.
AC Milan also continued the trend of their season last weekend, but their issue has been at the back. Sassuolo only had eight shots worth a total of 0.3 expected goals, but headed home from the San Siro with a point. Milan have been the fifth worst team in the division when comparing goals conceded to the underlying xG figures.
So what can we expect to happen when a team which is porous at the back hosts a side who are profligate in attack? The form between the sides would suggest a bet on Napoli to win, which you can get at 5/6 with Redbet.
They have only lost one of the last six meetings in Milan, and have won three of the last four. Both home and away, Napoli have won five of the last six clashes and drew the other one, so recent history is certainly on the side of the team from Naples.
It may also be worth considering having a bet on Napoli to win to nil. Pepe Reina has kept 15 clean sheets in his 30 Serie A appearances in 2017/18, and Juventus, with 20 opposition shutouts, are the only team who have performed better on this front.
Prior to their recent 1-1 draw at Sassuolo, The Light Blues had kept six clean sheets in a row on the road, so their defence is in fine form. BetBright have odds of 2/1 that Napoli win to nil, and it definitely looks worth bearing in mind.
As we can be confident Napoli have a good chance of keeping a clean sheet, it’s worth checking out the ‘no’ bet odds in the both teams to score market. 888sport is offering 9/10 odds for at least one side to draw a blank, and that is something which has happened a lot at the San Siro this season.
In Milan’s 15 home matches to date, one or both sides have failed to score nine times, and more recently that has happened in four of the last seven. Combine that with Napoli’s defensive prowess and this looks like one bet worth taking advantage of.
If we think one team is going to fail to score, then by extension it’s reasonable to assume there won’t be many goals in total. There may have been over 2.5 goals in five of the last six meetings of these teams, but on the whole goal-heavy matches haven’t happened too often for these clubs in 2017/18.
On average, a team in Italy’s top flight has played in 20 league matches featuring at least three goals. Milan have been in 18 and Napoli 21, so neither side is far wide of the division-wide average.
However, it’s always worth paying attention to recent form when selecting your bets, and five of I Rossoneri’s last seven matches on home turf have seen under 2.5 goals. As it has also occurred in five of Napoli’s seven away games in the same period, Black Type’s odds of 3/4 for under 2.5 goals should be in your thoughts this weekend.
There will most likely be some goals though, as there hasn’t been a 0-0 between these teams since 2012. Who’s going to score them? The obvious choice would be Dries Mertens, as with 17 league goals this season he is the top scorer from either side.
The Belgian hasn’t scored in his last four Serie A appearances, and has only netted the opening goal of a match twice in 2017/18, so an ‘anytime’ scorer bet may be the more sensible option. It’s available at 4/5 with SportNation.
If you do fancy a first scorer bet, then Milan’s Patrick Cutrone may be your man. He has opened the scoring four times in the league this season, which is the most of any player on either side. Top football bookmakers are offering 31/4 that he breaks the deadlock in this match. Whoever does score first stands a large chance of winning this match, as there doesn’t look likely to be many goals here.