Serie A Tips: Another Atalanta annihilation, Inter and Juve face tough tests

Dave Farrar predicts La Dea will run riot again with Cagliari, goals will flow in Lazio-Inter and Napoli provide the most difficult exam yet for Pirlo's Juventus...

Unstoppable Atalanta

Atalanta v Cagliari
Sunday, 11.30
Live on Premier Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video

This early season is proving a little harder to work out than usual, possibly because of the absence of fans and the fluid nature of one or two squads. I think that we have learned some general lessons, but finding specific themes to exploit has been tougher than normal, and we currently have a P/L which reflects that.

One theme which really shouldn't surprise us is that a fresh and firing Atalanta once more look full of goals and endeavour, and after they destroyed both Torino and Lazio, they've now been backed into 5.80 to win this season's Serie A title.

I can understand that, but I do feel that a combination of the Champions League and the depth of their squad may find them out, but there's no reason at all to believe that Cagliari will provide any barrier to them this weekend.

Eusebio Di Francesco may just be in the last chance saloon in terms of significant Serie A jobs, and his new team has one point from six so far, an opening day draw against Sassuolo. Cagliari have won their last three Serie A away games in Bergamo, but that strikes me as an anomaly rather than a trend, and it's not something of too much concern.

I know that Cagliari will come to defend, but that still doesn't seem a good reason not to presume that Atalanta will be amongst the goals once again, and I could see them dishing out another hammering, for all that the Sardinians may take a while to break down.

I like the idea of Atalanta -2 on the Asian Handicap at better than even money, and that's my Bergamo bet for the weekend.


Overs guaranteed

Lazio v Inter
Sunday, 14:00
Live on Premier Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video

After being thrashed by Atalanta in midweek, Lazio have to dust themselves down and prepare themselves straight away for the visit of an Inter Milan side who have won both of their games so far in eccentric fashion, scoring 9 times and conceding 5. It's not the way that Antonio Conte will want to win the Scudetto, but it makes Inter the most watchable team in the division, Atalanta aside.

Lazio started sensibly enough, with a 2-0 win against Cagliari, but they fell into every trap that Atalanta set, and now they need to regroup quickly. I would make Inter favourites here, as it seems to me that Lazio are feeling the effects of last season (they've now lost seven of their last 14 in Serie A), but Inter look short at 2.30.

Sometimes the best bet is the most obvious one, and steering clear of overthinking things is the most sensible play. Inter's games have been full of goals so far, Lazio were involved in five in midweek, and both still have defensive issues to work on.

With two sides that are so good going forward, and so vulnerable at the back, it looks fairly simple to me: Over 3.5 Goals at 2.60 has to be the play. An early goal and this could develop into another ridiculously high-scoring game. Ciro Immobile has a poor record against Inter, and Romelu Lukaku likewise against Lazio, but that could be set to change this weekend.

Never rule out Juventus

Juventus v Napoli
Sunday, 19:45
Live on Premier Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video

What to make of Juventus? Were they simply flattered by that opening day win against Sampdoria, in which they started well but plateaued a little, and then close to being undone against Roma? Or were they excellent against Samp, and subsequently full of guts and determination to get a draw in Rome?

They remain favourites to win Serie A for the 10th consecutive year, but there are cracks, especially defensive ones, and I can't see how they're not exploited by a Napoli team who are full of confidence and goals after a brilliant start to the season.

A 2-0 win at Parma was followed by a 6-0 thumping of Genoa, and now that Gennaro Gattuso has managed to imprint his style on them, Napoli look like they're set for the long haul.

Since Juve's first title win in this current sequence, only Roma have won more than Napoli against them, and seeing as they beat Juventus at the San Paolo in January, they look awfully big at 4.00 to come away with another win here.

Maybe I'm a little gun shy after a difficult start to the season, or maybe it's the sensible thing to do, but I'm going to keep the draw on side here, and back Napoli +0.5 on the Asian Handicap, especially with Lorenzo Insigne injured. I looked longingly at that 4.00 for a while, and wouldn't dissuade you from it, but I want the draw on my side.

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