The last time I wrote an Asian Handicap Betting Preview with Napoli involved, I backed against them. Well I am not going to be making that same mistake again this time round as Maurizio Sarri’s men host Bologna on Saturday night.
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I do not know what came over me. After seeing Sarri’s side destroy AC Milan at home, I thought Palermo could park the bus and maybe not lose to a side they held a good record against. However, I was wrong as Napoli walked away with a 3-0 win after a dominating second half display.
Studying the Napoli side, I am looking at the likes of Jose Callejon, who has scored four in three games so far this season, and new boy Arkadiusz Milik, who scored two against Dynamo Kyiv in their mid-week Champions League match, to produce the business for the hosts. However, I hold question marks over Dries Mertens. I have seen the Belgian hover around for a while now, yet I am not convinced he is a starter. More an impact sub. I question whether he should start more matches and if he has that in his locker to affect a game for a whole 90 minutes.
Apart from him, the team looks solid. Starting from the very back with Raul Albiol and Kalidou Koulibaly as their centre-back pairing and Pepe Reina in goal. A solid foundation with a long-serving captain in Marek Hamsik in midfield.
The Blues’ last Serie A title win came back in 1990 with a certain player named Diego Maradona, but is this year’s title too much of an uphill struggle?
What can you say about Bologna though? One key factor going for them is striker Mattia Destro. Having bagged eight goals last season, the former Roma front-man could be the antagonist on Saturday night having already got off the mark this season.
Currently sitting seventh in Serie A, Roberto Donadoni will want their away form to improve considering they only won six of their 19 fixtures on the road last season, and finished 14th in the league.
Here’s where I think Napoli will pip it. At Stadio San Paolo, Bologna have only won three times since 2000; their last win coming in 2012. While the last time they visited Naples back in May, Donadoni’s side lost 6-0.
More bad news for Bologna is that their two first choice goalkeepers are out injured, so third pick Angelo Da Costa may get a call-up. A chance for Napoli to really test the Brazilian in a hostile environment. But they do hold consistency with their 4-3-3 formation. Donadoni playing the same tactics for the last three Serie A matches. Destro, Simone Verdi and Laidslav Krejčí leading the line for the Greyhounds.
A shock would be on the cards if Bologna took something from this match, but I do not see it. They look a solid team, but Napoli at home look the part and will want to keep up their title challenge so early on in the campaign. Once again, based on what I saw in their home fixture against AC Milan, I am backing overs.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 3 goals @ 2.10 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.