Sports Betting Tips: Cagliari – Napoli (Feb 21st)
Napoli and Inter played to a draw at the weekend and the winners of that result are undoubtedly Milan who overtook Inter to take over the league lead. Inter have one game less to play, but what does that matter when they are masters of their own game and have just beaten their city rivals in a derby?
It's tight at the top and Napoli who are only 2 points behind Milan are very much in the fight for the Scudetton this year, funny I think!
On Monday they go to Sardinia to face Cagliari in what I think will be a tough fight as Napoli have a really tight schedule now with the Europa League!
Cagliari are starting to find their form and have only one loss in the last 5. Among the five, they have beaten Atalanta away and drawn against Fiorentina. Nice results and if they can keep up this attitude reasonably well they will stay in Serie A this year too.
I say attitude because probably it is with fighting efforts they have taken the points as there is no question of any further discretionary play. Walters Mazzarri's boys are struggling in defense and pressure to get points and it pays off.
Now they have also brought some results and with that should come some confidence. Here they face Napoli so there will be no underestimation. Instead, I think they can continue to find motivation to fight with the hope that it is actually possible to take points even against good teams.
Goal production is limping and they have averaged 1 goal per game this season while conceding just under double that.
I would never have guessed that Napoli would be this good this year. Their stability is almost unparalleled and there is no game where they have fallen flat. Sure, there have been a few blips, but then it's been injuries and poor flow more than poor attitude.
I think it's the interaction between all the parts of the team that makes them so good, where they have managed to put together a very good team with relatively small means.
The performance against Inter at the weekend was clearly acceptable and certainly they could have taken 3p from it without me raising my eyebrows too high.
With Osimhen back they will have pace, physicality and headers all in one in attack. I guess we can easily say it's a lift from Petagna when a bit of weight is needed up front.
This Thursday (17 Feb) Napoli play away to Barcelona in their first meeting in the Europa League playoffs. The second meeting is next Thursday (24 Feb) and admittedly it's a tight fixture list.
With such a tight fixture schedule, Napoli are likely to have to rotate, I think they will in this game and I think it will show in their attacking strength.
Regardless of where and how they rotate, you should know that Napoli have only conceded 8 goals away from home over the entire season. And sure, if you don't concede any goals, you don't lose any games. If they are going to rotate forwards, they need to continue to be careful not to concede at the back.
Will Napoli win? Yes probably, but with such a tight game schedule and likely rotations during the match, the odds are reasonably right and I don't want to chase the odds on Napoli here around 1.5 away against a loaded Cagliari.
Cagliari +1.0 is around 2 and is definitely interesting, the problem is that Napoli's strong defense messes up as we end up pushing very often and in my opinion loss more rarely than win. +1.25 is just under 1.8 and is more interesting. There we get half a win so often that it should be a winning game. I still like the chosen underplay a bit more, especially when we get the money back at most likely 1-2.
Unfortunately, I don't think it will be a cracking encounter but one where Napoli will want to take 3 points with minimum effort. Cagliari are fighting for the points they can get and will make it tough for Napoli. The win against Atalanta is of course a feather in their cap but you don't get power goals like that every game. Napoli are also better organized in the defensive game.
Together this creates very good conditions for a more closed game. Cagliari will offer to fight but will not get lost in any press hybris. It will take a while for Napoli to break down a Cagliari who, with fresh memories, will find the motivation to run all game for the chance of a point.
Insights via Laangnils from The Gambling Cabin Sweden.