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Nov 16, 2017
Nov 16, 2017

Serie A preview: Roma vs. Lazio

Serie A preview: Roma vs. Lazio

After a two-week international break, Serie A action returns this weekend. The highlight fixture sees Roma face Lazio in a crucial game at the top of the table. What factors should you consider when analysing the Roma vs. Lazio odds? Read on for some expert Roma vs. Lazio betting insight.

Live Roma vs. Lazio odds

In a derby weekend where bettors will already be thinking about the Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur odds and the Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid odds, the Rome derby is another intriguing contest to try and evaluate. It is often claimed that form goes out the window in a derby match, but bettors can still find statistics that will inform their betting.

Roma vs. Lazio betting: Dzeko vs. Immobile 

In a league dominated by big names like Higuain, Dybala, Mertens and Icardi, it is Circo Immobile that has emerged as the real standout player so far this season. Immobile has amassed 14 Serie A goals in just 11 league appearances as well as setting up six goals for his teammates; he leads the league in both goals and assists.

Roma attempt far more shots per game than their local rivals (16.7 compared to Lazio’s 13.5) with Simone Inzaghi’s side looking to create more clear-cut opportunities before taking a shot at goal.

Having scored 23 goals last term, Immobile is by no means a breakthrough talent but his performances have certainly helped his side maintain a good start to the season - his total goal contribution (scored or assist) of 65% is by far the highest of any in the league.

Immobile’s opposing centre-forward on Saturday is Roma’s Edin Dzeko - someone who knows what it’s like to lead the goal scoring charts after finishing as the top scorer in Serie A last season with 29 goals. Dzeko hasn’t started badly this season but his seven goals in 11 appearances still put him some way behind the Lazio striker.

It goes without saying that both sides will hope their talisman is firing on all cylinders on Saturday but as with any team, they will also be ensuring they aren’t over-reliant on one player’s performance.

The importance of set pieces

One of the two big differences between Roma and Lazio is how they score their goals - Lazio have scored 10 more goals than Saturday’s opponents but they’ve only scored three more from open play. In fact, Lazio have scored the most goals from set pieces in the league (seven) and the second most penalties (five)

These stats highlight some of the key tactical differences between the two sides. Lazio have seen far less of the ball in their matches this season (averaging just 50.1% compared to Roma’s 54.6%) but they seem to do a lot more with it (scoring 31 to Roma’s 21).

Additionally, Lazio tend to keep the ball on the floor in open play and attempt just 4.9 long balls per game - the third lowest in the league. In contrast, Roma attempt the most long balls per game of any side in the top six (5.72).

While Roma look to utilise the aerial threat of their players (namely Dzeko) through crosses and long balls in open play, Lazio keep it simple and instead pick their moments from set-pieces. I Giallorossi also attempt far more shots per game than their local rivals (16.7 compared to Lazio’s 13.5) with Simone Inzaghi’s side looking to create more clear-cut opportunities before taking a shot at goal. 

Is the title still up for grabs?

Both Roma and Lazio have a game in hand on the other Serie A title challengers. Lazio sit in fourth in the league and are just four points off Napoli in first, with Roma only a further point behind Lazio in fifth-place. In a league that is often dominated by Juventus, it certainly looks like a new team could win the league for the first time in seven years

However, the games between now and the next two-week break in January will be crucial - starting with the Rome derby on Saturday. If Roma lose they would have lost all three of their games against teams in the top five this season and will have to win all of the reverse fixtures if they are to stand a chance.

Lazio, on the other hand, have beaten defending champions Juventus twice already this season (once in the Supercoppa Italiana). Their only loss this season has come against league leaders Napoli so a win on Saturday would give them a real chance of mounting a serious challenge for the title.

Roma vs. Lazio odds: What do the stats suggest?

It’s not surprising to see Roma head into Saturday’s clash as favourites (albeit only just) given thier slight home advantage even though the two teams share the Stadio Olimpico. Bettors will be expecting a close contest and the draw option will certainly generate some interest.

Despite Lazio’s impressive goal scoring record this season (the only game they haven’t scored in was the opening day draw against SPAL), they will have their work cut out trying to break down a defence that has conceded just 0.63 goals per game (the best in the league) - the under 3 goals is available at 1.952* and could offer bettors potential value.

While there have been an average of 8.1 cards per game in the last ten league meetings between the two sides, it seems Eusebio Di Francesco has drilled discipline into his side (their total of 10 yellow cards is by far the lowest in the league) so despite the increased intensity that comes with a local derby, the under option in the cards betting market might make more sense.

Odds subject to change

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