Soccer Picks & Tips: Napoli vs. Inter Milan in La Liga Action

Lee Benson

Friday, May 3, 2013 6:39 PM GMT

Friday, May. 3, 2013 6:39 PM GMT

Week 35 is rounded off in Italy Sunday evening with this clash in Naples at the Stadio San Paolo. So can Napoli take another step towards securing second place and Champions League football next season or will the flailing Inter Milan turn form on it's head and cause a surprise in this one.

Well, the hosts are the firm 1/2 favourite with both bet365 and William Hill to claim a victory here and maintain their seven point gap to third. Inter are a 6/1 shot with bet365 to spring a surprise here and the draw is 14/5 with Ladbrokes.

Napoli are undefeated their last six having won five of them, have lost just two in ten and drawn three. They have scored 18 goals in that time and are making Juventus wait for yet another week before claiming the Scudetto, which they should do next weekend at home to Palermo, though Napoli will be waiting in the wings should anything unlikely occur when the relegation threatened Sicilians visit Turin.

[gameodds]10/226116/43/us[/gameodds]

Inter have lost eight of their last 11 away matches in Serie A, winning two and drawing the other. The Nerazzurri have lost five of the last seven rounds, lost in Palermo last time out and saw Javier Zanetti stretchered off with a serious injury to add to the absentee list of Walter Samuel, Rodrigo Palacio, Diego Milito, Antonio Cassano, Walter Gargano, Fredy Guarin and several more.

When the sides met back in December, the 2-1 victory for Inter put them one place above Napoli into second in Serie A and hot on the heals of Juventus. A repeat of that score is at 20/1 with bet365 who have Napoli at 7/1 to exact revenge exactly.

This has been a season to largely forget for Inter since then, and with defeat here they will certainly not be playing Champions League football and on current form will struggle to secure even a Europa League spot. Sitting 7th right now they may not even be able to hang on to that place  as Lazio look to overhaul them.

Whether it was the Wesley Sneijder affair, the crushing defeat in the Europa League to Spurs after such a great fightback or the sheer weight of so many top players injured, it is back to the drawing board for the 'literally' black and blue half of Milan. The only bright side is that their campaign next season will not be encumbered by playing in Europe and so all their focus should be on their challenge for the Scudetto.

Napoli have been very good this season, losing just five games to Juve's four but drawing too many games to closer challenge the Champions elect, who have won 25 of 34 so far this season.

Their undoubted star (again) has been Edison Cavani, who has scored 23 times this season and 72 times in 100 appearances for the club since joining in 2010. He is 5/2 to score first/last and 4/9 to score anytime with 6/4 the price with William Hill if you think he will get two in this match.
 
Along with Marek Hamsik (9), Goran Pandev (6) has ably supported Cavani in attack and I am liking the 7/4 offered by William Hill for Goran Pandev to score and Napoli to win. The Partenopei has also netted in every one of it's last six matches, scored three or more in four of those games, hit five against Torino and are making many sportsbooks scared it seems, with the over 3.5 at 13/8 and the over 4.5 at 15/4 with bet365. 

The over 5.5 at 8/1 with William Hill is a little too far of a stretch for me, though Inter do tend to contribute goals even when on such a dreadful run as this, so if the floodgates open up in their defence then this may well yet be the value bet here. If Napoli can score in the first five minutes, offered at 6/1 with William Hill then anything can happen here     

I am leaning heavily towards Napoli in this one, and with the news today that Inter captain Javier Zanetti will be out for six months after that injury last weekend, I see no reason to expect any late season turn around in fortunes for the Nerazzurri and fear for their recovery for next season at this rate.

For my soccer picks in this matchup, its a home win for me at 1/2 with the correct score prediction of 4-1 at 18/1 and the over 4.5 at 15/4 with William Hill. Goran Pandev to score and Napoli to win at 7/4 with Ladbrokes.

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