Italian football expert (@marchCF96) provides us with an in-depth betting preview of the 2018/2019 Serie A season with a focus on the market leaders, European Football hopefuls and relegation candidates.
2018/2019 Serie A Season Betting Preview & Tips
Last season, Maurizio Sarri's Napoli managed to push Juventus all the way in the race for the title. Will we see another closely fought battle this season?
Juventus – Predicted finish: 1st
Italian football has now been dominated by Juventus for seven seasons in a row, with the Old Lady winning their seventh consecutive title in the season just gone. They start as favourites at 8/13 but that price is probably a bit bigger than in previous seasons given how they were pushed all the way to the final few games of the season by Napoli. Before the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, Juve’s odds to win an eighth title in a row were probably bigger but the addition of the best player in the world makes Juve the firm favourites. The addition of Emre Can adds some youth into an aging midfield and the signing of left-back Joao Cancelo sorts out their issues in that position. An attacking front three of Douglas Costa, Paulo Dybala, and Cristiano Ronaldo looks like a possible multiple-title winning attack.
Inter – Predicted finish: 2nd
Inter look the best equipped to challenge Juve this season and at 10/1, could be good value each way. They started the last campaign well and were title contenders until Christmas but managed a top four place to secure Champions League football this season. In Mauro Icardi, they have what Argentina needed at the World Cup (goals) and Ivan Perisic was one of the players of the tournament and will return to Inter full of confidence. They have added Radja Nainggolan to an already strong midfield and signed Lazio’s Stefan De Vrij, who was wanted by a number of Europe’s top clubs. He will most likely join Milan Skriniar and Miranda in a back three, with new signing from Juventus Kwadwo Asamoah a good addition at wing-back. They have strengthened in defence and midfield and with the attack of Icardi, Perisic and Antonio Candreva, they will be a real force this season. The best looking bet involving Inter certainly looks to be in the ‘Without Juventus’ market, where Inter are 2/1 to win the league.
Milan – Predicted finish: 3rd
Milan have had their off-field issues this summer but things look on the up after they were reinstated to compete in the Europa League this season and look to be under new ownership by the start of the season. The first half of last season was a disappointing one, winning just seven of their opening 19 games but post-Christmas, Gennaro Gattuso, who was appointed at the end of November, started to turn things around and ended up losing just twice between the start of 2018 and the end of the season. That form would suggest they come into this season with ambitions of returning to the Champions League and given they now have a proven clinical goal scorer in this league in Gonzalo Higuain and young centre-half, Mattia Caldara, they look like a side who have quality all over the pitch. At 20/1 for the title, they are probably unlikely to push the likes of Inter and Juve, but a top 3 finish could certainly be possible. The best bet here is for Milan to make the top 4 at EVENS.
Napoli – Predicted finish: 4th
Napoli have had a quiet summer in terms of incomings, but it is their departures that will affect them the most. Losing their manager, Maurizio Sarri, to Chelsea, is a big loss as he revolutionised Napoli as a club and made them one of the best sides in the league. Carlo Ancelotti is obviously a strong replacement and his success will be key in keeping this side together. Their key man in midfield, Jorginho, also left with Sarri to Chelsea and how he has started there shows what Napoli will miss this campaign. They have not replaced him and the likes of Marek Hamsik and Dries Mertens are starting to age and it is difficult to see them winning the title this year and actually, they could be in a fight to keep their top 4 place.
Top 4 Candidates
Roma – Predicted finish: 5th
Roma will have ended last season thinking a title push this season was a realistic goal and with the additions of Justin Kluivert and Javier Pastore, their chances are certainly enhanced. In terms of the title, they are fancied as third favourites at 8/1 but at that price, they are not worth a punt in terms of the title. The likes of Inter and Milan probably have more quality than them and Juve certainly do. Another top 4 finish would be a success for them but the loss of their linchpin in midfield, Radja Nainggolan, to rivals Inter, will certainly leave a big hole. They will be in the mix for the title early on but I think top 4 is their realistic aim for the season and I expect them and Napoli to fight for that fourth spot. Napoli have a little too much quality and Roma might have to settle with Europa League.
Lazio – Predicted finish: 6th
Lazio may have lost their star defender, Stefan De Vrij, to Inter at the end of last season and forward Felipe Anderson to West Ham but they have managed to hold onto Ciro Immobile, which is defintely their best bit of business this summer. They have added to their squad with winger Joaquin Correa from Sevilla, who looks to be Anderson’s replacement and central midfielders, Milan Badelj from Sampdoria and Valon Berisha from RB Salzburg. Luis Alberto was another player who excelled last term and his link-up with Immobile is one of the best in the league. They may have fallen behind the top five slightly with the business they have all done but you still expect them to be in at least a Europa League place.
Serie B promoted sides, traditionally, do not have a great record of staying in the league the season after, so of the three sides to come into Serie A this season, both Frosinone and Parma are favourites to go back down at 4/6 and 10/11 respectively. Empoli have had just one season back in the second division and won the league comfortably by 12 points to bounce straight back so they are better suited to avoid relegation and are 9/4. The Italian league is slightly difficult to call as there are genuinely about eight sides who could go down and last season, only eight points separated 11th and 18th. SPAL came desperately close to going down last season and are favoured as the third side to be relegated a long side the two promoted sides at 6/5.
Looking at it a little more closely, Frosinone are probably the side you would suggest will be the most likely to go down as they did have to come through the play-off to get to Serie A. In four of the past five seasons, the team to come up through the play off has been relegated the following season, which makes for worrying reading for Frosinone. At 4/6 it isn’t a big price but could be decent value in the circumstances if it goes to form.