Serie A season 2018-19 preview

With less than a few weeks remaining to kick off we decided to give a complete Serie A 2018/19 season preview. We will take on the daunting task to analyse some early season Italian Serie A predictions based on what we know so far. What you will read below is nothing shocking, but it is a collection of valuable information that will allow you to place a decent bet to keep the Serie A entertaining. We are mid-way through the transfer market and Juventus have already been labelled as odds on super favourites to smash the Campionato next season. Bookmakers currently offers a meaningless and valueless 1.40 odds on the current champions to get it done again next season. Not much value in this market unfortunately. We do have some interesting information coming up though so read on.

Betting odds for this Serie A Season

Throughout the course of the season you will hear Massimo, Carlo and myself (Mr BigWin) talking about high value, low value, no value, little value odds. The efforts we make as punters and pundits are all directly related to our love for football and sports betting. We know our favourite markets inside out and we know good returns when we see them. When betting on Serie A, Juventus will be the favourites to win everything, but it is important to realise that even though the bookie will place little return on Juventus winning a match or the title, there are other situations that can still return a handsome profit.

When looking at favourites in Serie A football matches and betting markets, look out for Asian handicap, disciplinary markets and corners. These offer some great value and by value we mean risk/reward ratio. As a hint, let’s take an example. Say Juventus are at home in Week 1 of this season’s campaign. They are obviously favoured to win and probably the odds will be around 1.25 to 1.40 for them to win the first game. We would never risk our money on such little return. We probably wouldn’t even put Juventus in a Serie A accumulator at that price. Instead we will look at what the odds are for Asian handicap for Juventus to win by 1 or 2 goals. Obviously, the chances of this happening are less in the bookies eyes but that is why you get paid more for this win. In reality, when you break this down, you can see it happening, Ronaldo’s first game, Juventus at home, improved midfield… it will happen. So, for us this odd is high value. Throughout the rest of the season we will pick up on these factors and help to teach you to look out for these cheeky assumptions.

Serie A relegations – new teams to surprise?

Frosinone, Empoli and Parma are the newly promoted teams this season. Frosinone will be nowhere to be seen, Empoli will struggle and be relegated and I think Parma will be the ones to hang around. The reality is, it seems to me that Frosinone and Empoli are the ones to stand out in a Serie A that is packed with traditional Serie A names. Remove the sure top 6 (Juventus, Inter, Napoli, Roma, Lazio and Milan), remove the mid-table above average teams (Atalanta, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Sassuolo and Genoa) and then take the ones that somehow always survive (Genoa, Chievo and Cagliari). This leaves us with 6 possible candidates, of which, Frosinone and Empoli definitely make the “worst of” cut. Parma on the other hand. We like them. Until they were relegated by the association for failure to meet financial commitments, Parma were a perennial Serie A team. They were never really a contender since their magic UEFA cup team in 1998, but they were a fixture in Serie A. I don’t think they will let this chance pass. I see them adding a decent team and staying up.

On a side note, we are assuming Parma retain their place in the top flight pending a request by the FIGC Public Prosecutor to have them relegated. The Prosecutor is claiming that there was tampering suspicions during Parma’s 2-0 win against Spezia last May during their successful promotion to Serie A. Chievo may also be in trouble if their financial statements have been found to be tampered with to show a more favourable result. This all remains to be seen, however we are assuming both teams will start the season as normal.

  • Frosinone and Empoli to be relegated

 

What Serie A teams to qualify for the Champions League

For the second season running, Serie A retains its 4 places for direct qualification to the UEFA Champions League group stages. Champions League money is somewhat crucial for the revenue streams of most clubs nowadays, especially in Italy. Juventus have raked in over €500m during the past 5 seasons in Champions League. This has allowed them to sign the likes of Tevez, Dybala, Douglas Costa, Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo. Make no mistake, teams will be gunning for those 4 places. Realistically though, only 2 places are debatable. I would say that Juventus and Napoli are almost guaranteed a place for finishing first and second in the Italian league. Our pundits actually have those as locks for this season. The 3rd and 4th place are seemingly up for grabs though. Mr BigWin has Inter in 3rd place and Roma in 4th place for the upcoming season. The bookies have not yet released the odds for Champions League placing in Serie A but will do so soon.

  • Juventus, Napoli, Inter Milan, and Roma to qualify for Champions League

 

The Serie A sides to qualify for the Europa League

The Europa League has gained some significance since UEFA have assigned an extra Champions League spot to the winners of this tournament. The prize money throughout has also increased making this tournament more glamourous for those teams missing out on Champions League football. Serie A is assigned 2 places in season 2018/19 and Mr BigWin’s predictions place Lazio and Milan as favourites to take these spots. Both teams will already be playing in the tournament this year, having made the same placing in the previous season. Lazio missed out on Champions league football on the last day of the season. The Biancocelesti will be keen to keep most of their core team intact. This is proving somewhat difficult as Owner President Claudio Lotito is struggling to turn down multimillion offers for prized assets such as Milinkovic Savic and Felipe Anderson, with Stefan De Vrij already walking on a free transfer. Milan on the other hand have made 3 good signings from the Croatian national team in Kalinic, Strinic and Halilovic. Not typical to see Milan struggling like this on the transfer market but this is their new reality. If Milan manage to snatch two big name signings I might even go ahead and place them as an outsider for 4th place. Their history demands much more than aiming for a lowly 5th or 6th place finish.

  • SS Lazio and AC Milan to qualify for Europa League

 

Serie A managers preview – who gets sacked first?

I would say that barring any huge mishaps, the only two safe managers in the Serie A are Massimiliano Allegri and Carlo Ancelotti. The big boys in town will be in their safe haven with the top two positions almost guaranteed. Juventus’ aim for the season is to attempt to win all cups. For Napoli it would be to try to dethrone Juventus for the Serie A title and make a good run at Champions League (say Quarter Final). The rest of the managers will be winning to save their season and keep their jobs. Lazio’s Simone Inzaghi, Milan’s Gennaro Gattuso, Roma’s Di Francesco are all bait for the sack if their season does not kick off. The ownership of this team has never held back in the past when it comes to sacking managers. Their patience will only be as good as the results on the pitch.

The one I am in the middle about is Inter’s Luciano Spalletti. The ownership at Inter Milan (Chinese mega business family – Suning) seem somewhat confident in their manager, but Inter do have a history of building a strong team on paper and being a total failure on the pitch. This year, there is Champions League football after 6 consecutive seasons of lackluster performances. Mr BigWin’s prediction for the first manager to be sacked this season will be Lazio’s Simone Inzaghi but look out for Luciano Spalletti if Inter’s performances do not reach expectations.

  • Simone Inzaghi first Serie A manager to get sacked

 

 Serie A pre-season transfers –  to make an impact?

Ronaldo Juventus Presentation

Juventus have won the transfer market worldwide. I think that barring any multiple mega transfers, Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, has been the biggest transfer since Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid. The 33 year old moved to the Vecchia Signora (Old Lady) for a price tag of €105m and everyone is still in awe at the speed and precision of this move. The Juventus fans are in absolute delirium and cannot wait to get the season started to see their superstar on the pitch. This move has eclipsed other great transfers that the Bianconeri have managed with Cancelo (€40 from Valencia) and Emre Can (Free from Liverpool) being the two other coupes. They have also promoted Szczesny to starting keeper and signed promising Matteo Perin (€12m from Genoa).

Inter have also made some nice moves this summer with Stefan De Vrij (Free from Lazio) and Radja Naingolan (€34m deal + players from Roma) to complete some of their weaknesses from last season’s campaign. Expect these players to have an instant impact on results. The biggest transfer market move for Inter this summer is retaining their star striker and captain Mauro Icardi. The juggernaut scoring machine has been Inter’s undisputed best player for some years now and seems to be committed to the cause, refusing lucrative offers from Real Madrid and the Premier League.

I must say that I am still not impressed by the transfer market campaigns by Napoli, Milan, Roma and Lazio. It seems that not many opportunities have come their way. However, I would expect much bigger moves from these teams that are aspiring to overtake Juventus in the Serie A. Roma have sold their star keeper Alisson Becker for €70m to Liverpool in a shock move for Roma fans after they had to part ways with fan favourite Nainggolan (€34m plus players to Inter). Javier Pastore and Justin Kluivert (son of legendary Dutch star Patrick Kluivert) adds to a strong front line of Shick Dzeko and El Shaarawy but Roma need to add a few more pieces if they aim to contend this season.

Napoli have signed a World Class manager in Carlo Ancelotti but have in turn sold their solid midfielder Jorginho to Chelsea for €62m. One hopes that Owner Aurelio De Laurentis can make a star signing to replace or to add to the excitement this season. Fabian Ruiz from Benfica is a good addition, but it will take a lot more than that to excite the Partenopei fans.

Milan fans are also somewhat still waiting for that injection of stardom. The effective signings of Kalinic, Halilovic and Strinic (great performances in the World Cup) will be a good quality addition to the team, however with the likes of Morata and Higuain being linked to Milan, the fans are sure hoping to get one of these two done by the deadline.

 

High value odds tips for this season

This Serie A season preview obviously would not be complete without us giving you some of our best value picks for the season. We think that the following tips will offer you low risk and high return.

First of all, sign up to a bookie and see if you can get on this one, Juventus to win the Serie A by 12 points or more. This should be better than the measly 1.40 offered on mainstream bookies and we seriously think that Juventus, unwillingly so to speak, thrash their competition in Serie A.

  • Juventus to win the Serie A by 12 points or more

Other high value return markets to look at could be the top scorer odds in Serie A. The likelihood is that Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal tally will be around 25 league goals and we don’t think this will cut it. Massimo thinks that the top scorer in 2018/19 will be Inter’s Mauro Icardi. Anything above 5.00 for Mauro is worth taking. Sportpesa is offering 6.00 and we are definitely taking it.

The relegation outsider for this season offering a little bit of value is Bologna. They struggled early last year and then made it out in the last 10 games. This season Carlo thinks that their luck is out at they have his outsider money going for relegation. The favourites to relegate are already clear at the bookies, that is Frosinone, Empoli and Spal but look out for Bologna is what we are saying.

  • Bologna to relegate to Serie B

 

 

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