3/10 Recap: My initial foray into Serie A had many a chance to go perfect, but Chievo Verona fired 70% of their shots off target. Half of those attempts came after Hellas took the lead, making for a very frustrating recap reading. As for my other pick, Barcelona and Malaga defied the bookmakers leaving me to once again rethink my strategy. But now I have to look towards another batch of late afternoon affairs in Italy’s Serie A and Portugal’s Primeira Liga to keep from having a totally lost weekend.
My picks: Hellas Verona 1 Chievo Verona 1 (Under 2.5 goals, DRAW pick)
Barcelona 3 Malaga 0 (Over 2.5 goals)
Actual results: Hellas Verona 1 Chievo Verona 0
Barcelona 2 Malaga 0
I’ve already seen one of my favorite teams lose this weekend. Here we go to Serie A hoping that trend doesn’t continue.
ITALIAN SERIE A
Napoli @ Internazionale Milano (3:45 PM ET/beIN Sports, Rai Italia America, fuboTV, iGol)
Serie A has been a two horse race for several months now, but during the better half of 2017, that wasn’t the case. Napoli and Juventus have been fending off each other for the Scudetto. The former leader Inter Milan has completely faded away. In fact, Inter needs some help down the stretch to get back into the Champions League spots for next year.
Napoli may have blown their chance to win Serie A for the first time since 1990, but they aren’t going down without a fight. The club has seemingly played after Juventus on the schedule for months now, and now have to deal with Juve having a game in hand. Sadly that scenario has arisen after the untimely death of Fiorentina’s Davide Astori, one day after Napoli lost to Roma. But nevertheless, Napoli probably has to win out to keep up with Juventus, hoping their rivals slip up.
Inter doesn’t need to be perfect the rest of the way, but it would help take the sting out of another midseason collapse at the San Siro. Inter were atop Serie A just three months ago but now are twenty points adrift. Scoring has been a huge issue for Inter, making this matchup against high powered Napoli quite problematic.
But when it comes down to it, I don’t think Napoli can lose this game. No matter what it takes, the Light Blues have to take all three points. It isn’t the most analytical of commentary, but it is 100% the case. If Napoli loses, their title hopes are dead. I don’t think they’re ready to die just yet.
PREDICTION: Napoli 2 Inter Milan 1 (Napoli -0.5)
PORTUGUESE PRIMEIRA LIGA
FC Porto @ Pacos De Ferreira (4:15 PM ET/fuboTV, iGol, GOLTV USA)
While Napoli is striving to return to the top of Serie A, Porto clings to their lead in Portugal. While they were embarrassed by Liverpool in the Champions League, Porto hasn’t lost once in the league this season. That fact provides the difference between them and four-time defending Portuguese champions Benfica. Today they take on Pacos De Ferreira, a club trying to avoid relegation.
Normally I’d err on the side of caution in a scenario like this. The cornered animals facing relegation always seem to play above themselves when their livelihood is at stake. But I just can’t do that with the Primeira Liga. Porto has made a habit of bombarding the minnows of their division, including a 6-1 drubbing of Pacos in their last meeting.
I don’t want to touch a solid number over, currently at 3 (per Bovada), but I’ll take Porto giving a goal and a half every day and twice on Sunday. Not really, it is Sunday and I’m only doing it once.
PREDICTION: Porto 3 Pacos de Ferreira 0 (Porto -1.5)
If you have any games you’d like me to pick over the coming week you can contact me on Twitter @TREVORutley. In addition to the available media listed for each game, be sure to try out our Gameview service while watching as well. Also, here is a link for my results throughout and the points system. Cheers!