Soccer Picks: Udinese vs. Roma

Lee Benson

Thursday, March 7, 2013 6:48 PM GMT

Thursday, Mar. 7, 2013 6:48 PM GMT

This Saturday in Udine, coach Francesco Guidolin and his side will try to make it back to back wins in Serie A. Who out of these two clubs do we choose to back for our soccer picks?

Serie A Week 28

Saturday March 9th 2013

Udinese vs. Roma

Sitting ninth on 40 points, Udinese are 15/8 Soccer Odds with William Hill to do just that as they host the 'giants' from the capital when AS Roma come to town.

Meanwhile, The Giallorossi will hope to continue their three-match winning streak under new coach Aurelio Andreazzoli when they visit Stadio Friuli this weekend. The seventh place visitors are 29/20 to make it a fourth straight win and the draw is at 9/4, also with William Hill.  

Now most of you may perceive Roma as being the bigger, more historical and more successful of these two clubs and for sure they have the bigger fan base and profile of the two but in recent times it could well be argued that it is Udinese that are on the rise whilst Roma, whilst not quite in decline yet per se, are certainly not challenging as they should be.

They have not continued as they did for the first decade of the new millennium, which they started by winning (only, surprisingly?) their third Scudetto and where they consistently finished second, reached Coppa Italia finals and entered the Champions League several times, meaning that in the 2000's Roma have finished in the top two positions more than any other decade in their history.

Sitting seventh in Serie A right now, Roma are where they finished the 2011/12 season. That means that unlike Udinese, not to mention most of the teams above them this season, they have not had to contend with European competition this year, the second year in a row now basically, being eliminated from the Europa League play-off round in 2011/12.  

Yet they have not turned that considerable schedule advantage into a challenging or even consistent season, which amounts to the same thing anyway, unless you are consistently bad that is!

Roma have lost ten times this season, the most of the top nine and three more than Udinese who have drawn ten so far, hence the sides are only three points apart going into Saturday's match. In the reverse fixture back in October Erik Lamela’s brace was not enough to stop Udinese coming back from 2-0 down to beat Roma 3-2 with the cheekiest of Antonio Di Natale penalties being the winner!

A repeat of that result and goal bonanza is at 25/1 with bet365 with the over 4.5 at 9/2 part of the bargain too, if that's your fancy. Roma are 22/1 to reverse the curse by the odd goal in five with bet365. Of the five 3-2 games they have been involved in this season so far though, they have lost four! Udinese have been involved in three, winning two of them.

Last year Udinese finished third in Serie A after a great season, but they went out of the Champions League, defeated at the hands of Portuguese side Braga in the qualifying round and went into the Europa League this season. They suffered the same fate at the hands of Arsenal the year before, having finished 4th in Serie A, again going into the Europa League as a result, or consequence. They did not make it out of the group stages this season and went out of the Coppa Italia in the first round too.

Udinese had just one point from their last four away games until their 1-0 win in Pescara last weekend. Antonio Di Natale hadn't scored in six but netted in the 8th minute to seal the win in a game Udinese controlled and should have won more convincingly in terms of the scoreline if not the performance. It was Di Natale’s 150th strike in an Udinese jersey. He also hit a brace in the 3-2 win in Rome earlier this season and is 9/2 to grab two or more in this one with Ladbrokes.

[gameodds]10/220829/169-43-1537-349/us[/gameodds]

The Giallorossi's Francesco Totti became Serie A’s second all-time top scorer and Alessio Romagnoli netted his first ever as Roma beat Genoa 3-1 last weekend. It was his 225th Serie A goal, putting him level with Gunnar Nordahl as the joint second all-time scorer. Youth system product 18 year-old Romagnoli wasn’t even born when Totti got the first of those 225 Serie A goals! Totti is 5/4 to net one any time and grab second spot all-time for himself this weekend with William Hill.

The score in that game does not tell the whole story though as 11 corners to none in favour of Genoa in the first half alone may tell you, and Roma were not safe until their 89th minute third from veteran Simone Perrotta sealed it, as Genoa were still defending their unbeaten run under new boss Davide Ballardini with gusto until then.

Also in Serie A, check out fellow capper, Mike Richardson's football tips on the lazio vs. Fiorentina fixture~

Udinese at home are unbeaten in five and had won four on the bounce, before drawing 0-0 with Napoli in the other. They have lost just three of their last ten and all away from home. Roma put three past Genoa in Week 27 and the same at Atalanta the weekend previous, so do have their scoring boots on but had lost 3-1 and 4-2 the two games prior to that so either way, there tend to be goals when Totti and Co. are around, making the over 4.5 at 9/2 and even the over 5.5 at 10/1 with William Hill viable. Roma have been involved in five six-goal matches this season to date and thirteen times in games of five goals or more, including incredibly, a run of five straight games in Oct/Nov. I kid you not!

So where am I leaning in all this and where do I think you should be putting your money? Well, I like Udinese for the home win at 9/5 with bet365 on the face of it, what with their recent home record. But then Roma are on a good recent run themselves, beating Juve 1-0 to start this three game winning streak and were in buoyant mood last weekend amidst all the debut goals and record equalling antics of Alessio Romagnoli and Totti.

Both moral and momentum should never been underestimated in this fickle and egocentric sport we all love and Roma may just have discovered both right now. So the away win to make it four wins in a row at 7/5 with Ladbrokes has me very tempted and the 3-2 at 25/1 with William Hill worth a bus fare home flutter in the name of parity methinks!

Udinese do like to draw and have 10 so far this season with half of them at home in Udine. So the 12/5 stalemate with bet365 maybe makes sense to you and with goals likely at either end when Roma play, then 1-1 at 11/2 and 2-2 at 11/1 would be my two soccer picks for you to choose from.

The 3-3 at 40/1 is of course attractive numbers wise and with the over 5.5 viable at 10/1 as I said then the more serious risk takers of you could well find some superb value right there.

Udinese have kept four clean sheets their last six games, winning three of them 1-0 and so conversely, the under 1.5 at 3/1 has some value to it with that defensive record and they have conceded just three goals in those same six games too, so whilst all the confidence at Roma is with the forward line, at Udinese it starts at and builds from the defence. And they know how to hold on to a lead AND win 1-0. That is old school Italian style from the second oldest club in Italy.

So something will have to give when Saturday comes, will it be an explosion of goals a la Roma or will Udinese hold firm and claim another victory with a clean sheet!?

Free Soccer Picks: Home win for me at 9/5 the 1-0 correct scoreline prediction at 10/1 with both bet365 and William Hill and the under 1.5 at 3/1. 

Antonio Di Natale to score first at 4/1 with Ladbrokes. 

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