Coppa Italia semifinal action resumes on Wednesday with the highly anticipated clash between defending champion Napoli and Lazio. Check out our choice soccer picks.
Napoli Favoured To Progress
Napoli are favoured to progress into the Coppa Italia final at the expense of a resurgent Lazio on Wednesday, after Rafa Benitez's boys did the tough bit in the first leg by forcing the 1-1 draw in the nation's capital. Napoli are matched at +120 to win the second leg and they are the significant -175 favourites to advance in futures betting markets. However, it's Lazio that boasts the kind of form that merits consideration and, in turn, stands in stark contrast to their large +240 soccer odds to win outright and +125 soccer odds in futures betting to advance into the final.
Napoli's Form A Concern
Napoli's Serie A campaign hit a wall recently. A string of poor results in March comprised of a stretch of five domestic fixtures without a win has seen the Paretnopei slip dramatically down the table to sixth place. As it is, they boast a 13-8-8 record and 47 points. That sees them out of European places for the time being – a point behind Sampdoria (fifth), two points behind Fiorentina (fourth) and a whopping eight points behind Lazio (third).
Most worrisome about this run of poor form is the fact that Napoli have been leaking points to lesser teams in Serie A. They've lost to Torino and Hellas Verona and drawn to Internazionale and Atalanta. Most recently, they suffered a 1-0 defeat to a wholly inconsistent Roma on Sunday.
After almost a decade of modest results, Lazio's resurgence in Serie A emerges as the unexpected feel-good story of the season. It's both impressive and inspiring how they've risen through the ranks over the course of this season all the way up to the Top 3, spots which carry the coveted promise of Champions League next season.
Lazio are riding an eight-game undefeated streak in all competitions ahead of this highly anticipated clash with Napoli in Coppa Italia. In Serie A, they are on a seven-straight game winning streak, five of which were clean sheets. Clearly, on the defensive side of the ball they are very solid, having conceded just two goals in seven games. On offense, though, there's a lot to like about them too as they've scored 17 goals during this stretch.
Overall, Lazio are third in the table behind a 17-4-8 mark and 55 points, which puts them just a point behind second-placed Roma in the table. Most importantly, they are sat at the top of the form table with a perfect 6-0-0 record in their last six Serie A games. That's better form than the current league-leaders boast (4-2-0 in their last six). Admittedly, such form warrants a second look at Lazio's chances in this game, if not a tickle on your soccer picks.
Soccer Betting Verdict
With the tie finely poised on a 1-1 draw, it can go either way. It doesn't help soccer bettors either when odds makers are leaning towards hosts Napoli to come through and advance into the final while the form guide is pointing distinctly in the other direction. Dilemma, dilemma.
It really doesn't make sense to have Napoli so strongly favoured at -175 soccer odds to advance into the final when they are without a win in their last eight games and on the verge of a crisis in Italian top flight football. Indeed, if they lose this game heads might roll...
Lazio, on the other hand, have to fancy their chances given their current form. Granted they are at the slight disadvantage in this tie, having drawn 1-1 at home and conceded the vital away goal. But it's not an insurmountable obstacle, particularly as Napoli aren't playing with any sort of confidence right now.
We've mulled over this game for an eternity and while there's lots to recommend Napoli, namely their pedigree and championship experience, they simply don't strike a convincing pose on the soccer odds board right now. For our money, we have to consider Lazio as the value soccer pick, both to win the game at +240 and advance at +120.
Soccer Picks: Lazio +240 to win and +120 to advance at Bet365