Serie A Betting – Juventus vs. AC Milan
Zack GarrisonNo comments
The 13th fixture in the Serie A brings a clash between traditional Italian powers as Juventus and AC Milan get set to renew their rivalry this Saturday at Juventus Stadium (2:45 PM Eastern).
Both needs the win to avoid falling further behind surprise Serie A leader Fiorentina. Juve, who have won four straight league titles, have struggled out of the gate, sitting well back in seventh place with just 18 points (nine back of the league lead). The departure of Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez, and Arturo Vidal – coupled with some questionable moves by manager Max Allegri – have manifested in a much less daunting squad than the one that finished as runners-up in last year’s Champions League.
There have been signs of life from the title holders, though. Before the FIFA break, Juve was able to put together a modest two-game winning streak for the first time all year, downing Torino (2-1) and Empoli (3-1). A win over AC Milan will move them even closer to the much-coveted top-three, which comes with an automatic berth into next year’s Champions League.
On the injury front, Juventus expect to have goalie Gianluigi Buffon fit for the game; he has been dealing with a thigh injury suffered in a friendly game between Italy and Romania last week.
“The chances are good that I’ll be there,” Buffon noted in an interview with Mediaset.
Like their rivals, AC Milan came into the year with high expectations. But they, too, have stumbled early, sitting just one spot above Juve in the table (sixth place with 20 points). Defending has been the problem for most of the season. The Rossoneri have already allowed 16 goals, or an average of 1.3 per game. (By comparison, league-leaders Fiorentina and Inter Milan are still in single-digits.)
The offense has been a little better, finding the next 15 times. But that number is also well back of the best teams in the Serie A (27 for Roma; 24 for Fiorentina), and it leaves one questioning what the identity of this team will be in the next few months.
Just before the FIFA break, the Rossoneri saw a three-game winning streak come to an end with a 0-0 home draw against Sassuolo.
Like all of Italy’s top clubs, AC Milan have their sights set on a Champions League berth for next year. “We must aim to reach the Champions League,” said defender Alessio Romagnoli to Milan Channel. But without a top-tier offense or defense, making up the six-point deficit on current third-place team, Roma, will be a tall order. And the trends don’t bode well for them this weekend. Juve have won the last five head-to-head meetings, including a dominant 3-1 victory at Juventus Stadium last year.
Don’t expect an average Milan team to pick up an upset on the road this time around, either; Juventus have won their last three Serie A games at home and should add another one on Saturday.
Pick: Juventus (-162).