Soccer Picks & Tips for Hellas Verona vs. Napoli

Nila Amerova

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 7:02 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 7:02 PM GMT

Hellas Verona and Napoli are on a collision course in Week 19 Serie A betting. Join us as we preview this clash and serve up soccer free picks.

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Napoli fall behind in Scudetto race

Napoli started the 2013-2014 season as one of several dangerous floaters earmarked in several competitions across sportsbooks. Alas, up to this point, they have failed to come through as the spoilers. Indeed, this has been a rather frustrating season for Rafa Benitez and Napoli in more ways than one.

In Serie A, Napoli have suffered only three defeats to date, which by most standards would be considered a great season. Disappointingly, they are in third place however, a whopping ten points behind current leaders Juventus.

Meanwhile, in Europe’s top flight, Napoli –  although matching both Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal on a 4-0-2 record  and despite beating Arsenal soundly in the final game– were bumped out of the competition in the group stage on goal differentialTalk about the soccer gods being against you.

Napoli began the Serie A season, going undefeated in seven straight games – six wins and a draw – before they suffered their first defeat on the season to the then league leading Roma in the nation’s capital. While Napoli did bounce back with three straight wins on the trot, subsequent defeats to Juventus (current leaders) and Parma and a handful of draws later saw them slip in the Scudetto race. As things stand in sportsbooks, Napoli winning the title hangs on a prayer, at +1200 soccer odds at Bet365.

Napoli are 12-3-3 and on 39 points ahead of week 19 Serie A betting. They are flush off a 2-0 victory at home to Sampdoria, a positive result that sends them into their upcoming clash with Hellas Verona on a wave of optimism and as the hot favourites at -105 to win outright at Bet365.  Underscoring the favourable soccer odds as well is the fact that Rafa Benitez’ side have only lost two road matches this season, exclusively to the top tandem of Juventus and Roma.  

Recent form reveals an interesting trend however: they’ve oscillated between a win and a draw in their last five matches (home and away) since the 1-0 defeat at home to Parma. So if that trend holds true, they are due a draw, which can be backed on your weekend soccer picks at +250 or therein depending on the sportsbooks of choice.

Hellas Verona, at +280 to win outright, are tipped as the significant underdogs despite depositing an exceptionally impressive Serie A account by their standards (having been promoted from second tier ignominy this season few expected them to hobnob in the elite six).

They are sat fifth in the table on the back of a 10-2-6 mark and 32 points. More importantly, their positive record is largely built on their home form that stands at a solid 8-0-1 record and accounts for 24 points. The only side to beat Verona at home so far was Chievo, what was a bit of a fluke 1-0 defeat really.

Soccer Betting Verdict: It’s clear sportsbooks aren’t buying what Hellas Verona are selling. Certainly not at the expense of a Napoli side with a reputation and quality that speaks for itself.

But is that the whole story: a perceived on paper mismatch, which has yielded a rather lopsided market? It is part of it. Certainly, if there were a side to deny the hosts it would be the gasp-inducing offensive firepower of Napoli, so they are notionally a good soccer pick after all.

However, given Hellas Verona’s solid home form, we have to consider the possibility of an upset here – if not an outright win, then a draw surely. Granted, the mitigating circumstance is that none of their home wins came against a side ranked higher than Napoli in the table – hence, the hefty soccer odds against the home win and even draw – but just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen. Besides, Napoli have had to contend with so many disappointments recently, it’s bound to catch up with them sooner rather than later.

Free Soccer Picks: Hellas Verona to win outright at +280; Over 2.5 -143

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