Serie A is up and running again after the festive breaks and it’s a three horse race according to the odds with six points separating Juventus, Inter and Lazio. Juve are only two points clear of Inter but the depth in the Old Lady’s squad is ridiculous and I fully expect them to go on and make it a 9th successive title. Lazio are in great form at the moment winning a club record 10 league games in a row and I want to side with them. But rather than have to take on the juggernaut that is Juve with Lazio only 10/1 for the title, I like the look of them in what feels like a head-to-head with Inter in the ‘without Juventus’ market at 4/1.
This looks to be a two horse race with Lazio four points back on Inter and 4th place Atalanta a further seven points behind. As mentioned Lazio are on a 10 game winning streak and they can further improve that with three of their next four at home (the other being Roma ‘away’ in their own ground) before facing Inter in the Stadio Olimpico. Inter themselves have stumbled of late drawing three of their last five, where as Lazio added the Super Cup to their successes which includes already twice beating Juve this season. Only Atalanta are landing more efforts on target than the Biancocelesti and there’s not much in the closing odds for the sides either. Inter were 23/20 at home to Atalanta and Lazio 6/5 against the same opposition.
Lazio are out of Europe so don’t have that distraction where as Inter dropped into the Europa League so will have to cope with the tougher Thursday – Sunday schedule. Progress in that could see priorities change in the latter stages if the title is out of reach. The best price elsewhere is just 5/2 and it’s as short as 9/5, so the 4/1 looks standout value.
Regular readers will know I’m on Birmingham City for relegation and the latest news regarding a potential points deduction should get followers very excited. They are priced in the relegation market as if the points deduction will happen, with the bookies quite rightly taking no chances, with prices ranging from 11/8, 5/2, 9/4, 6/4 etc. but in the ‘to finish bottom’ market there’s 33/1 available (only 6/1 elsewhere).
They received a 9 point deduction last season and breaching financial rules can carry a penalty of up to 21 points. They currently sit 11 points clear of bottom place Luton so any deduction will see them dragged right into it. This is essentially a huge value bet on a points deduction happening. If it goes through with same 9 points as last season, they would be around a 7/2 shot to finish 24th now. The latest news is on the 6th January they were charged with breaching financial rules by the EFL. All Birmingham would say in a very brief statement was “The club denies the charge and we await the outcome of ongoing disciplinary proceedings.” There’s both a reason and a precedent for the charge…