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Two weeks ago
Dec 1, 2017

Serie A preview: Napoli vs. Juventus

Will Napoli’s streak come to an end?

What’s going wrong for Juventus?

What do the stats suggest?

Serie A preview: Napoli vs. Juventus

League leaders Napoli host third-placed Juventus in the highlight fixture from Serie A this weekend. We’re less than halfway through the season and this match is already being billed as a potential title-decider. Is there value on offer in the Napoli vs. Juventus odds? Read on and find out.

Live Napoli vs. Juventus odds

Will Napoli’s streak come to an end?

Napoli have been breaking plenty of records this season - the 12 consecutive wins stretching from the end of 2016/17 into this year (and the seven at the start of the season) is a new club record, while the current 26-game unbeaten run is the longest in their history.

Napoli an average of 2.5 goals per game in the Serie A this season - only Manchester City (3.2), PSG (3.2), Juventus (2.9), Lyon (2.6) and Barcelona (2.6) have a better average in the top five leagues in European soccer.

There may be a long way to go until they reach the Serie A record of 58 games unbeaten (AC Milan 1990/91 - 1992/93) but Napoli have certainly made a good start to the current campaign. Wins against Lazio and Roma and a draw against Inter Milan shows that Napoli can cope with elite level opposition, but Friday’s fixture against Juventus will be their biggest challenge yet.

Juventus will certainly take confidence from the fact that although Napoli is enjoying a good run of form in the league, they have been beaten in other competitions and showed some signs of weakness.

The Old Lady beat Napoli in the semi-final of the Coppa Italia last season before Napoli went on to lose both legs of their Champions League Round of 16 tie against Real Madrid. During this year’s Champions League, Napoli have already lost to Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester City (twice) and look like they’ll fail to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition.

What’s going wrong for Juventus?

After winning their sixth consecutive Serie A title (and the 33rd in the club’s history) Juventus’ dominant reign looked set to continue heading into the start of this season. However, a closer inspection of their recent title wins shows that other teams have slowly been narrowing the gap - the 17 point winning margin from 2014/15 was cut to nine in 2015/16 and it shortened again to just four last season.

While much has been made of the reigning champions start to the season, they are actually one point better off now than they were last year. The problem for Massimiliano Allegri’s side isn’t necessarily that they are underperforming, it is that their title rivals are over-performing.

Napoli's current 26-game unbeaten run is the longest in the club's history.

Much like Juventus had to contend with Roma making their best start to a Serie A season last year, they will be hopeful that consistency will help them catch both Napoli and Inter Milan this time around. However, with an away trip to Napoli this Friday and a home match against Inter Milan next weekend, this part of the season really is “make or break” for the Old Lady. 

Why it’s not all about attack

Napoli have drawn plenty of plaudits for their attacking style of play thanks to an average of 2.5 goals per game in the Serie A this season - only Manchester City (3.2), PSG (3.2), Juvenuts (2.9), Lyon (2.6) and Barcelona (2.6) have a better average in the top five leagues in European soccer. However, the performance of their defence is rarely mentioned.

In the last ten league meetings between the two, Napoli have only won twice, with six wins for Juventus and two draws.

Napoli has the best defensive record in the league (conceding an average of 0.64 goals per game) and only Barcelona (0.38), Atletico Madrid (0.46), Manchester United (0.46) and Manchester City (0.62) can boast a better record across the top five leagues in European soccer. 

When you compare Napoli’s defensive record in the fixtures they have played this season against the same ones they played last season (omitting the three matches they have played against newly promoted teams) it is clear to see that they have worked on their defence - improving their average of 0.90 goals conceded per game to just 0.54. 

Napoli vs. Juventus betting: What do the stats suggest?

Friday’s match between Napoli and Juventus could go either way - Napoli perhaps just edge out the away side with home field advantage. A loss for the Old Lady would do some real damage to their title aspirations while avoiding defeat would keep Napoli on track to win the league for the first time since 1989/90.

The head to head record doesn’t look good for Maurizio Sarri’s side. In the last ten league meetings between the two, Napoli have only won twice, with six wins for Juventus and two draws. The positive for Napoli is that both of those wins came at home and the last time they met, they won 3-2 (the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final that they ultimately lost 5-4 on aggregate).

We are yet to reach the halfway point in the Serie A season and already it feels as though this game could decide who wins the title. With so much at stake both sides will be cautious early on - under one goal in the first half is available at 1.980* and the draw already seems to be a popular choice. 

Alternatively, if bettors are looking for value away from the traditional markets corners betting could be a good option. Both Napoli (9.36) and Juventus (7.43) are below the league average of 9.92 corners per game and given that both sides will prioritise defence over attack, if the corners are posted around 10.5 it could be the best bet to make.

Odds subject to change

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