Serie A Betting: Cagliari continue to fly, Milan plummet in Parma and scant Sassuolo consolation
Dave Farrar predicts the Sardinians will sweep Sampdoria aside, Gervinho will enjoy the Rossoneri defence and Juventus allergic to clean sheets...
Cagliari inexplicably undervalued
Cagliari v Sampdoria Monday, 19:45 Live on Premier 1 and Betfair Live Video
A familiar path to start with, as we wonder once again why Cagliari are being overlooked and undervalued in a betting market. Rolando Maran is the coach of the season so far, and Serie A's fourth placed team hosts its 16th best, but can be backed at odds against for the win.
I know that Samp have improved under Claudio Ranieri, and that they're off the bottom and unbeaten in four. Their result against Atalanta was probably the best of the season so far, and Ranieri deserves praise for the revival, but this will be their toughest trip since they last lost, away at Bologna.
Cagliari have been outstanding so far this season, and every time you suspect that their form will fade, they surprise you. Having lost their opening two home games of the season, they've now won four of their last five in Sardinia, and were excellent in their last home game as they swept aside Fiorentina.
This is a team which is full of confidence, against one which is still finding its feet. All logic tells us that, while Samp will try and make life difficult (such is the Ranieri way), and Rafael fills in for suspended goalkeeper Robin Olsen, Cagliari will be too energetic, too confident, and ultimately too good. I expect them to make it eight wins in 12 in Serie A, and they're certainly too big to do so.
Milan tumble at the Tardini
Parma v Milan Sunday, 14:00 Live on FreeSports and Betfair Live Video
Stefano Pioli heads home to Parma this weekend, hoping to spark some life into his Milan side after winning just one of his first six games in charge. Pioli hasn't managed to provide the short-term stimulus that the Rossoneri hierarchy had hoped for and they start this Matchday in 13th place in Serie A, just four points away from the relegation zone.
Parma are four points and four places better off, and given that they've won four of their last five home games, it's surprising to see them as big as3.80 to win this. They have one or two players out, but also welcome back Gervinho to the squad, and while there have been some signs of improvement from Milan in recent weeks, Parma still look temptingly big.
I can see "yes" to both teams to score being an option here at1.90, but Milan have lost seven of their opening 13 Serie A games, and are heading to a team which beat a vastly superior Roma team here in their last home game. There's no justification at all for Parma to be significant outsiders.
Milan are better, but remain uninspiring, play at too slow a tempo, and are clearly short of a team identity as well. It seems that Krzysztof Piatek may be dropped this weekend and that's one of many signs that this is not a happy camp. They represented a touch of value last weekend against Napoli but need to be opposed at the Tardini, especially given the prices.
No clean sheet for Bianconeri
Juventus v Sassuolo Sunday, 11:30 Live on Premier 2 and Betfair Live Video
It's a weekend of slim pickings in Serie A, and Juventus are one of several short priced favourites who seem all but certain to get the job done, but who are unbackable at the prices. They beat Sassuolo 2-1 here last season, and I expect something similar, which opens up the possibility of a bet at odds against for us.
Sassuolo are only three points away from the relegation zone, but have scored only one goal fewer than Juventus in this campaign. They can be potent, but it's at the other end of the field where they let themselves down. 23 conceded, with only two teams in the League going into this weekend with worse defensive records.
All of that tells us that the League leaders are more than likely to score, but also gives us a clue that Sassuolo might trouble Juve's less than solid back line. There's no Mimmo Berardi here for Sassuolo, but his form is sketchy anyway, and Francesco Caputo has scored three in his last two, and is starting to show the form which rather rashly led me to tip him for Capocannoniere this season.
Sassuolo have scored in all but one of this season's Serie A games, while Juve have conceded in five of their last seven, and while they're more than likely to win and maintain their lead at the top, it won't all be plain sailing.