Saturday 19 August. We’ve been counting down the days until Serie A returns to our screens, and we’re now just over a week away.
With a superb set of opening day fixtures to feast your eyes on, the Ladbrokes News team have taken a look at the big storylines and best bets as last season’s nine-goal thriller returns, Juve look to make it 15 not out against their opponents, and much more…
Will Euro hopefuls produce another cracker?
It’s not every day you score four goals away from home and lose, but that’s exactly what happened to Inter Milan when they visited Fiorentina in April, with the Viola turning around a half-time deficit to produce an incredible 5-4 victory.
Mauro Icardi netted a hat-trick for Inter on the day, taking his career tally to seven goals in this fixture. There could be value in backing him to score, but we’re most tempted by the prospect of another high-scoring clash, with 11/1 on offer for Over 4.5 Goals, while another haul of Over 8.5 is available at a whopping 150/1.
Can Old Lady continue stellar Cagliari streak?
Juventus boss Max Allegri couldn’t have wished for a kinder start to this campaign – on paper at least. Juve have won 11 of their last 14 games against Cagliari, drawing the other three. So this one should be a banker for the Old Lady, especially on home soil.
However, the plucky visitors did record a memorable win away at Inter Milan last term, and will be looking to recapture the spirit of 2009, a year in which they beat Juventus home and away. A win for Allegri’s men is 2/13, while the Cagliari or Draw Double Chance bet is 19/5.
Gasparini’s guys look to punch above their weight again
Few expected Atalanta to finish in Serie A’s top four last season, but Gian Piero Gasparini’s men recorded their highest ever league finish to do just that.
So, can they continue their rise by getting off to a flyer against Roma, or will Edin Dzeko and co. bring them crashing back down to earth?
This was a fixture La Dea took four points from last term, including a 2-1 win in Bergamo. On home soil again in this tussle, they’re 11/5 to beat I Lupi, while 10/1 says it’s another 2-1 victory for the men in blue and black.
Lazio host S.P.A.L 2013 as the Ferrara club return to Serie A for the first time since 1968. It’s a tough test for the visitors, with Lazio winning 12 of their 19 home league games last term – and Le Aquile are 2/7 to kick off the campaign with a victory.
Fellow newboys – and top-tier first-timers – Benevento begin life in the big time with a visit to Sampdoria. And there’s 4/1 about the upwardly mobile visitors taking all three points.
Meanwhile, Napoli travel to Hellas Verona looking to end their poor opening-day record. Maurizio Sarri’s men have taken a solitary point from their last two Serie A openers combined, so we like Verona or Draw in the Double Chance market at 17/10.
Sassuolo beat Genoa home and away last season without conceding a goal. Will they do so again? It’s 3/1 for I Neroverdi to Win to Nil on Sunday.
Udinese and Chievo both ended last season well out of form, so there’s a chance for both to revive their fortunes at the Dacia Arena, with the Udine club 6/5 favourites for victory.
Elsewhere, Torino striker Andrea Belotti will be looking to shine against Bologna once again. He grabbed a hat-trick against Roberto Donadoni’s strugglers last term, and the prolific striker could fire the 6/4 shots to victory once again.
In Crotone, visiting AC Milan will be keen to shake off their habit of frustrating draws on the road. The 18-time Serie A winners drew more away games than anyone else last season (seven), and there’s 29/10 on offer for honours even at Stadio Ezio Scida.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing