As Serie A sides pause for the winter break, a look at the table at this halfway point shows that Juventus are once again on course to win the title.
Still unbeaten after 19 league matches, the Bianconeri have accumulated 53 points, with Napoli nine behind them on 44.
Therefore, there is no betting value to be gained through backing this pair to reach the Champions League once again this term, with Juve a whopping 22 points ahead of AC Milan in fifth and Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli 13 points in front of his former side.
What is very interesting however, is the race to finish 3rd and 4th place in the table, a few sides in the hunt with a maximum of 57 points still left to play for.
Below, we look at the contenders and assess their value in the betting on Serie A’s top four finish market.
Reaching the Champions League places on the final day of last season, Inter are ahead of the chasing pack, currently sitting in 3rd place. They undoubtedly have the squad to get the job done, and the goals of Mauro Icardi will help them to achieve this.
Under Coach Simone Inzaghi, Lazio have been consistently inconsistent, sometimes looking like world-beaters and other times simply awful.
A look at the teams below them suggests that they are unlikely to be able to put a good enough run together to reach the Champions League, especially due to their involvement in the gruelling schedule that the Europa League brings.
Once a regular feature in the Champions League, Milan have publicly stated their aim of returning to the competition since their last outing in 2013/14. Despite doubts over boss Gennaro Gattuso, this season represents a real chance for the Rossoneri to overcome this obstacle, especially if they resolve their striker problem.
Gonzalo Higuain suffered from poor form in the first half of the season, but rumours suggest that there could be a swap deal with Chelsea on the cards which could see Alvaro Morata move in the opposite direction. Either way, at 2/1 with 888Sport, this represents a sound bet on a club with proven pedigree returning to its natural habitat.
They may have reached the Champions League semi-final against all the odds last term, but Roma are struggling to adjust to a new regime under former Sevilla transfer wizard Monchi.
The Giallorossi have made a number of high-value player sales since the arrival of the Spaniard, but so far Coach Eusebio Di Francesco has struggled to make the cut-price replacements work as a unit.
Varying results in the league has led many supporters to call for some replacements in the January window, but the sporting director has confirmed that their wishes won’t be granted at least until the summer.
It would be a surprise to see Roma fail to reach the Champions League places, however it seems like they will struggle to find the necessary consistency, and a 9/4 punt with 10Bet may not be the best option.
All of the above sides have shown great form at times this season, and each has a decent outside chance of reaching the top four, exploiting the uncertainty at many of the clubs above them.
Torino (28 points) are listed at 66/1 with Paddy Power, however they lack the strength in depth necessary to get the job done.
Meanwhile, Sampdoria (29 points) have an intelligent boss in Marco Giampaolo and an on-fire Fabio Quagliarella, with only Juventus and Napoli earning more points than them in the last six league outings.
A bet on the Blucerchiati to reach the top four is a great outside option at 40/1 with 888Sport as is 11/2 on Atalanta (27 points) with Bet365. The latter side are used to defying expectations, and where so many teams are fearful, La Dea play with aggression and a carefree attitude under boss Gian Piero Gasperini.
Last on the list is Fiorentina (26 points), who have a solid defence but have struggled for goals this term. However, they have just signed Luis Muriel from Sevilla, making them another great outside option at 40/1 with 888Sport.
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