Back Roma for title now with win train unlikely to derail

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Despite equalling the best ever winning start to a Serie A season and conceding a solitary goal to Parma’s Jonathan Biabiany in their opening nine games, Roma are not favourites to win the Italian title for the first time since 2001.

After all, doubts remain over the strength of their squad, given that only 18 players have featured for Roma this season, with defender Marquinhos one of these and he is no longer at the club.

Meanwhile, they would not be the first team to start a new season in flying form, only to run out of energy bars and suffer a significant drop in pace before the duration of the marathon.

Throw in that Francesco Totti has been virtuoso in dragging defenders out of position in the lone striker role, but may struggle to maintain such a high standard at the age of 37.

Although these doubts have a degree of justification about them, there are still clear reasons as to why Roma are worth backing at 15/8 to win Serie A this season, with Ladbrokes offering the industry top price.

The latest victory over Udinese should not be downplayed in the slightest.

Not only did they score a winner late on, despite playing virtually the final half-hour with 10 men, but this was Udinese’s first league defeat at home since September 2012.

Roma’s defensive record has also improved at a similar rate to the development of Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, who posted some astronomical personal best times during the 2012 Olympics.

Having conceded 56 goals last season – the most of any club to finish in the top eight – Rudi Garcia’s team have only been breached once in the current campaign, with new goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis and defender Mehdi Benatia looking especially influential.

In fact for Benatia, he has now won 16 successive Serie A games from spells at Udinese and Roma and there is no real reason to believe that the Roma train will slow down in the coming weeks.

The fixture list does look particularly kind. Next is a home game with bottom club Chievo and then comes three further fixtures with bottom-half opposition in Torino, Sassuolo and Cagliari.

Should the winning streak continue for another four games, it is almost certain that Roma will have to go odds-on for the title.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.