Italian Serie A 2020/21 Preview and Betting Tips

Juventus claimed their ninth successive Scudetto but the margin of their triumph was slim. Inter Milan closed the gap to a single point and it was their first season under Antonio Conte.

Moreover, a lot has happened since the final day of the 2019/20 season. Maurizio Sarri has been sacked at the Allianz Stadium and Andrea Pirlo sits in his stead. It will be interesting to see how the Old Lady fare under the retired midfield metronome.

It’s not all rosy at the San Siro. Conte’s tantrums in the aftermath of their failed title challenge and Europa League final defeat were only resolved in a high-level meeting between the club and the manager. if the Italian tactician continues with his media nonsense, Inter’s already thin patience will run out.

Atalanta and Lazio were behind the top-two. There wasn’t much difference between the two and the coming season will prove whether Gian Piero Gasperini and Simone Inzaghi’s men have what it takes to maintain their Champions League slots.

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The upcoming season will be interesting to see as the battle for top-four heats up. There was a considerable difference between the Champions League placers and the following batch, but that will be reduced in the coming year.

With games continuing to be played behind closed doors and the five-sub rule in place, the 2020/21 season promises to offer a lot. More players will get a chance to prove their ability and it will have an impact on youth players getting first-team chances. After the lockdown, Serie A saw an increase in second-half goals scored and that trend will continue.

The coming season promises to offer a lot and we can only take a guess at what route some teams will follow. Here are the major talking points that can be revisited at the end of the 2020/21 season again.

Team Outrights

Who will win the League?

For the last eight years, Juventus have been the team to beat. The Turin giants have been better than everyone else in Italy, both tactically and in terms of personnel.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival only made them stronger. However, that was put into check by Maurizio Sarri. The former Napoli coach got the most out of his attacking trio of Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the midfield and defense suffered. Andrea Pirlo will have a tough task on his hands in galvanizing a squad that has won so much and is on the precipice of breaking apart.

The Juventus dynasty is under threat from the very man who set it in place. Antonio Conte is at the helm of Inter Milan now and he all but dethroned them at the first time of asking. The outspoken manager is reinforcing his squad for another push at the title. He will have his way if Pirlo does not get his house in order.

The difference in players’ quality alone makes Juventus favorites. However, the difference is not huge and Inter are close. Bet365, Betway, and Betfair all have odds of 1.91 for Juventus to register their 10th successive Serie A win. Inter Milan are a close second at 2.87 and provide value given it will be Pirlo’s first season in charge. The battle will be between Juventus and Inter Milan, as everyone else looks from the outside.

Tip: Inter Milan

Top 4 – who will go to the Champions League?

Inter Milan and Juventus are sure bets for finishing in the top 4. It is the fate of the two remaining slots that is tricky. Lazio, Atalanta, Napoli, and AC Milan all have a chance.

Bet365 have the markets opened in favor of Napoli, and Atalanta at odds of 1.66 and 1.72 respectively. Napoli too have strengthened their attacking ranks. Arkadiusz Milik is on his way to AS Roma, as the Partenopei look to build around Victor Osimhen. Gennaro Gattuso has add resilience to the side, adding tenacity to their playing style.

Atalanta have gotten rid of their deadwood and have made shrewd additions to their squad. They finally have an able replacement for captain Papu Gomez, and should have Josip Ilicic back in the first-team fold.

The main challenge will come from AC Milan, who have shown signs of life. The Rossoneri are a side reformed under Pioli, especially with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their ranks. They have managed to retain the services of the Swiss legend and are active in the transfer market. They are priced at odds of 2.62, just behind Lazio at 2.5.

With Lazio failing to add to their ranks significantly, their chances of retaining the top four will be difficult. We expect Juventus, Inter Milan and Atalanta to be joined by Napoli to make the top 4.

Who will relegate?

The bookmakers have tipped the recently promoted sides to return to Serie B swiftly. Given the precarious financial conditions and the taxation on squads in the top flight, the bookmakers’ predictions are understandable to say the least.

Bet9ja has odds of 1.5 for Spezia, with Benevento and Crotone are valued at 1.62.  They can be joined by Genoa in the relegation battle. The Genovese have made changes to their ranks and now have Rolando Maran in the dugout. He was responsible for Cagliari’s strong form at the start of the season.

Player Outrights

Who will win the Golden Boot?

Ciro Immobile laid claim to the Capocannoniere in 2019/20. Not only did he manage to overcome the challenge of Cristiano Ronaldo, but he also defeated the all-conquering Robert Lewandowski in the process.

Given the current personnel, Immobile will have challenge from Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku. The bookies do not believe the Lazio forward will be able to claim the Italian Golden Boot in successive years. He is priced at 7, while Lukaku is tipped at 5, and Ronaldo is favorite with odds of 3.

However, this could very well change with a potential arrival of one Lionel Messi at Inter Milan. The Argentine won the Pichichi seven times out of the last eleven years, and can very well add the Capocannoniere to the list of individual accolades.

As it stands, Lukaku is our favorite for the Golden Boot. We agree with the bookmaker’s odds for Immobile, but Ronaldo at 3 looks unlikely. He will turn 36 and does not have the legs to continuously perform. Now with Pirlo at the helm of Juventus, he can even be sidelined.

Tip: Romelu Lukaku

Who will be the Player of the season?

Ronaldo has failed to make a mark on Serie A so far. He has shown glimpses of his former self in the Champions League but was let down by his teammates. With the Serie A looking increasingly difficult to retain, it will require an exceptional season from the Portuguese and he will be in the race for player of the season come May.

On the other hand, Romelu Lukaku managed to defy expectations and finished the season with 34 competitive goals for Inter Milan. He will surely look to up his tally and give a better account of himself in the Capocannoniere race.

The duo do not make our choice for the player of the season award. The chaos at Barcelona means Lautaro Martinez will not leave the San Siro for the time being. The Argentine was exceptional under Conte and will look to improve on his output this season. He has the X factor in him and can genuinely come out as the best player in Italian top-flight football.

Tip: Lautaro Martinez

Manager Outrights

Who will be Manager of the season?

Atalanta’s great season saw Gian Piero Gasperini claim the Italian Manager of the Season award. Gasperini will have to manage another great season in Bergamo to retain his title. However, he will have a tough task on his hands. He has challengers coming up right, left, and center.

Antonio Conte is the best bet for the award. The former Chelsea manager has the only squad that can dethrone Juventus and, in that scenario, will be a shoe-in for the accolade by his peers.

Andrea Pirlo will also in the running for the award. The former Inter, Milan and Juventus midfielder will go through a baptism of fire in his first year in charge. However, if he manages to complete the Old Lady’s decade of scudetto dominance, he has a solid chance of laying claim as the best manager in Serie A.

At this moment in time, Conte has the best chance of claiming this award.

Who will be the first to be sacked?

The Serie A is renowned for chopping and changing managers. To put this into perspective, Genoa changed three managers throughout the course of the 2019/20 season. Such is the liking for changing managers that Davide Nicola ensured safety but was still sacked by Il Rossoblu.

The sack race will have Crotone manager Giovanni Stroppa and Spezia manager Vincenzo Italiano battling out each other. Filippo Inzaghi can be ruled out given his successful tenure at Benevento. He as a 66.67-win percentage at the helm of the Sorcerers and should be able to hold on to his job.

Between Stroppa and Italiano, it is the latter who has the poorer record. Italiano will have his first season in Serie A, with the bulk of his managerial career spent in the lower echelons Italian top-flight football. Spezia are favorites for relegation and the club will be looking to bring a new manager at the first sign of trouble.

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