As the start of the Serie A season approaches, bettors may look to the outright market to find potential value. Juventus have dominated Italian soccer and look set to continue to do so. Can a credible challenger emerge? Read on for some expert insight.
Juventus are overwhelming favourites (1.40*) to capture their eighth successive Serie A title and with good reason. They had the second best attacking record and best defensive record last season, winning 30 out of a possible 38 games.
Juve’s relentless spirit and determination to be at the summit of Italian soccer is unwavering – now add to that the arrival of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo to an already lethal strike-force and you really do wonder if anyone is capable of keeping up with the old lady. Ronaldo is 1.86* to be top goal-scorer and at 2.15* to score over 28.5 goals
The only hope the rest of the league has could be Juve’s obsession with capturing their first Champions League trophy since 1996 which could result in them putting less focus on their league form.
Perhaps the loss of veteran skipper and long-time club captain Gianluigi Buffon could result in periods of instability. However, Wojciech Szczesny has already demonstrated that he is a more than capable replacement and should make the goalkeeping transition in Turin seamless.
Their closest Serie A rivals last season Napoli and Roma have lost significant players this summer, which only goes onto strengthen Juventus’ position as the most dominant force in Italian soccer.
Napoli broke their record points total for a league season for the second year running, finishing runner-up with 91 points – the highest tally in Serie A history that hasn’t resulted in championship glory.
Under Maurizio Sarri, they were playing some of the most attractive, attacking soccer in Europe, gaining admirers each passing week. Pep Guardiola in particular as well as a host of other managers praised the way Sarri’s team built from the back and kept possession under intense pressure.
- Napoli are 2.33* to reach over 81.5 points
Napoli mounted a serious title challenge last season, leading the league table for long periods. Their dramatic stoppage time winner away to Juventus in late April indicated that 27 years of hurt was coming to an end. Unforunately for Gli Azzurri, they went onto lose to Fiorentina and Torino in successive weeks and handed the advantage back over to Juve who then went onto claim the title.
Juve's closest Serie A rivals last season, Napoli and Roma, have lost significant players this summer which only goes onto strengthen thier position as the most dominant force in Italian soccer.
Having lost both their manager and their midfield pass master Jorginho (who completed the most passes in Europe’s top five leagues) to Chelsea there will be a lot of pressure on their replacements. Carlo Ancelotti and €33m rated midfielder Fabian Ruiz face a tough challenge to improve the team and push Juventus as hard as they did last season.
Goal-scoring responsibilities will likely be shared around Napoli’s three-pronged attack of Insigne, Mertens and Callejon (they scored 36 goals between them last season). In towering defender Kalidou Koulibaly, they have one of the best centre backs in world soccer and his five-goal contribution last season (including the winner away to Juventus) shows his effectiveness at both ends of the pitch.
Inter’s achilles heel last season was drawing matches, with 12 in total – only SPAL (14) and Torino (15) had more. They dramatically pipped Lazio to fourth place on the final day of the season and will be looking to build on that this time around.
I Nerazzurri have had a very impressive transfer window thus far, strengthening in key areas that could see them rise above Napoli and Roma as Juventus’ closest challengers next season.
- Inter are at 1.55* to reach over 74.5 points
In defence, Inter have pulled off a double coup by acquiring the services of versatile left back Kwadado Asamoah and ball-playing centre back Stefan de Vrij (who chipped in with six goals last season for Lazio), both on free transfers which significantly strengthens their once shaky back-line.
Perhaps the biggest coup was the signing of tenacious box-to-box midfielder Radja Nainggolan for a reported €41m from title rivals Roma, strengthening the Nerazzurri and severely weakening the Giallorossi simultaneously. There is now depth in wide areas with the signing of Marco Politano to provide competition for Candreva and World Cup finalist Ivan Perisic
Above all, the fitness of Inter’s captain, talisman and chief goal threat Mauro Icardi will be imperative to their success next season. Icardi notched 29 goals in 34 appearances last season and was joint top scorer with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile.
If Inter are able to convert all those draws last season into victories and ease the goalscoring burden off Icardi then they have a great opportunity of giving Juventus something to think about this year.
Roma secured another top three finish for the fifth year in succession and had a fantastic European run where they reached the semi-final of the Champions League. They have had a large squad overhaul this summer with no less than ten new signings, with creative midfielder Javier Pastore (€24m) and tricky winger Justin Kluivert (€18m) being the two notable additions. However, its those that have left the capital that could have a massive impact on Roma’s form this season.
Losing world class keeper Allison to Liverpool and dynamic midfielder Nainggolan to direct rivals Inter will be a big blow to their Scudetto chances and could put them at risk of finishing outside the top three this year.
The form of target man Edin Dzeko will have a big say on Roma’s league position, as he was the only player to reach double figures for goals last season scoring 16 goals in 37. His understudy Patrick Schick could only manage two goals in 22 appearances last term and will need to drastically pick up his game if he is to help ease Dzeko’s burden up top.
Lazio are certainly outsiders for the Scudetto but have been constantly improving under manager Simone Inzaghi, narrowly missing out on a Champions League place on the final day of last season.
The form of last season’s joint Capocannoniere Ciro Immobile was a joy to behold, as he amassed 29 goals and nine assists in 33 appearances for the Biancocelesti and will no doubt be the focal point of their attack this term. The highly sought after Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was also integral to Lazio’s good form, as he contributed 12 goals and four assists from midfield last season.
Former Liverpool man Luis Alberto reached double figures for both goals and assists last season (11 goals, 16 assists) making him a key cog in the Lazio machine.
Having already lost important centre back De Vrij to Inter on a free and Felipe Anderson to West Ham (€52m) Lazio will desperately hope they can keep a hold of Milinkovic-Savic for at least another year as they look to build on last season, with their sights firmly set on pushing for a Champions League place.
Pinnacle offers the best odds and the highest margins. Get the best Serie A outright odds ahead of the new season.