Soccer Picks: Lazio vs. SSC Napoli

Nila Amerova

Friday, November 29, 2013 1:33 PM GMT

Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 1:33 PM GMT

Lazio host Napoli on Monday to wrap up Serie A week 14 betting and with odds already in full swing here’s a preview of what is on offer across sportsbooks and what angles for profit can be found.

Lazio at the disadvantage

Last season’s Coppa Italia champions Lazio are enjoying rather MEH fortunes in Serie A. Overall, they are 17 points off pacesetters Juventus and eleven points shy of third placed Napoli – what is quite the chunk of change. Moreover, while they are sat inside the Top 10, in eighth place in the table on the back of a 4-5-4 record and 17 points, the difference between the two halves is a mere handful of points. So minding the narrow gap is of growing importance.

If there were a positive however on which they could build up it would be home form, which has been their crutch with a 4-1-1 record. Sportsbooks aren’t taking much stock of it though as far as their next match is concerned. They list Lazio at the disadvantage for the home win.

Bet365 is offering Lazio as high as +210 to win outright while listing Napoli as the favourites on the road even if they are on the long side of even money at +130. Clearly market casts such as this have everything to do with perceptions about the opponent that were circulating since the start of the season as a potential credible title threat and not much the home side.

Napoli (9-1-3) are in better shape in third place and six points behind Juventus at the top of the table. But if there were any criticism, road form has let Rafa Benitez’ side down in potentially season defining clashes against the elite duo of Juventus and Roma. The Southern Italians lost both title-bid defining clashes, barely striking an audible chord as they left with nary a whisper of a goal. (They lost the tilt with Roma 2-0 and Juventus 3-0.)

In fact, since the defeat to Juventus, Napoli seem to have lost the plot. They succumbed to a surprise defeat to Parma. And immediately afterwards slipped up against Borussia Dortmund in Champions League, a defeat that all but surely ends their bid in the prestigious competition this season.

This isn’t a good time for Napoli to be waffling in Serie A. While there is still a lot of football to be played before all is said and done, the season is fast approaching the midway mark and any lost ground now may be irrecoverable later down the stretch.

In more ways than one, this is a must-win game for Napoli – not least to reinstate faith in soccer odds markets as credible threats for the title (Napoli have slipped down to +800 in Serie A futures at Bet365, a good distance longer than Roma at +333 and runaway favourites Juventus at -250).

Lazio vs. Napoli betting tips and picks:

Napoli are listed at the advantage against Lazio but their odds are found on the long side of even money, at +130 to win outright at Bet365. It seems that that wavering faith is spilling forth already into their week-to-week schedule. 

But it’s not just down to their recent dip in form though some consideration has had to be made for the host’s home record. Credit must be given where it’s due and clearly Lazio won’t be pushovers. They’ve only lost once this season, albeit in the previous lap to Genoa. More importantly, they have proven to defend well at home – in six matches they have conceded four goals (two to Genoa) while scoring 10 goals.

Soccer Betting Verdict: Lazio’s overall home form should send them into this clash with Napoli with measured optimism. Of course, Napoli will be their toughest test yet. On paper, Napoli are a lot better than Lazio are but things don’t always go to the natural order of things. Gli Azzuri are floundering of late and sometimes that quantum shift in mentality is enough to turn the table perceptions. In laymen terms: Lazio’s potential for the home win increases at +210 or if nothing else, the draw starts to look attractive at +230.  

So to recap, while we agree in theory Napoli are the better side and merit the favourable nod in sportsbooks. We aren’t entirely convinced by their recent form, underlined by lots of travel to boot. So, we’re plumping down to the upset win by Lazio at +210, as this looks to offer the best value for our soccer picks. Certainly, it won’t be the popular bet but we’re sticking to it just to be contrary if nothing else.

Soccer Free Picks: Lazio to win outright at +210
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