MUST HAVE SERIE A PLAYS
Serie A is back after all the teams took a break due to the Nations League and we have a full slate of games this weekend. Here are my favorite bets for what should be a great weekend of soccer.
Napoli V Atalanta
Napoli surrendered a “loss” versus Juventus in their last match which wasn’t even played because health officials would not let them leave the city due to positive tests, so both of these teams will technically come into this match undefeated. Atalanta has looked like the best team in Serie A to start the season and it’s not very close. They have scored at least four goals in every match including a 4-1 thrashing of Lazio, a team that will be partaking in this year's champions league. Led by Papu Gomez, the most underrated player in Serie A and Duvan Zapata, this team can score goals with ease against basically everyone in the league and I expect them to do the same versus a short handed Napoli squad. Atalanta’s defense is very shaky but will benefit from Napoli’s inactives. They will be missing three very important players, Lorenzo Insigne, Piotr Zieliński and Eljif Elmas. Insigne suffered an injury during Napoli’s 6-0 win versus Genoa and is one of their most important players coming off a 8 goal, 6 assist season last year. Missing him will weaken their attack greatly, however it is not the end of the world as they still have strong players like Dries Mertens and Victor Osimhen to lead them. As for the other two players, they are not as valuable as Insigne but both see valuable playing time and missing them weakens their depth. I see Atalanta running all over this depleted Napoli squad and taking this match 3-1.
The Play: Atalanta PK -110
Sassuolo V Bologna
Sassuolo is one of the most underrated teams in Europe and a big time sleeper to possibly crack the top six in Serie A this season. They finished last year very strong and have looked great to start this season as they have outscored their opponents 8-2 in their last two games. They have a very strong attack led by Ciccio Caputo and Domenico Berardi, two of Italy’s most underrated players and a strong midfield led by Manuel Locatelli. Their defense is suspect but Bologna’s attack is mediocre at best, so Sassuolo should not have any problems. Bologna’s defense is very weak as they have now played 37 straight matches without a clean sheet and against one of the best attacking teams in Serie A this match will not turn out well for Bologna. Expect Sassuolo to continue their hot start to the season and win this one easily versus a struggling Bologna side. 4-1 Sassuolo.
The Play: Sassuolo PK -135
Benevento V Roma
Benevento was one of the three teams to be promoted to Serie A and were the only team that I thought had a chance to stay in Serie A and avoid relegation. They have come into this season beating everyone's expectations already, as they have won two out of their first three with their one loss coming at the hands of Inter, one of the favorites to win the league. Roma on the other hand has a record of 1-1-1 but were forced to forfeit their tie versus Verona in the first match of the season so technically they are still unbeaten. I am not sure how this team finished in fifth last year but I do not expect to reach that level this year especially with what I have seen from them in their first three matches. They earned their first win in their last match where they won 1-0 versus a very weak opponent in Udinese in a match where they were not impressive at all and got extremely lucky to escape with a win. Roma’s attack basically relies on Edin Dzeko, when he is on, they are a quality team but when he is off they look as bad as anyone. He has not looked good to start this season to say the least and I personally can’t see this Roma team scoring more than one goal versus anyone in Serie A, especially after their performances against Verona and Udinese. Benevento’s defense has not been good to start the year but they did not allow a goal in their 1-0 win last week versus Bologna who granted, is not good at all but not giving up a goal in a match, regardless of the opponent is always something to be proud of. Benevento’s attack has looked very solid and they proved themselves to be a squad who can score in a hurry as they scored three second half goals in their comeback win versus Sampdoria. I see Benevento riding their momentum against a Roma team that has not looked good to start the year and tying them 1-1.
The Play: Benevento +1.5 -115