by Jason Green, Pro Soccer Handicapper, Predictem.com
Serie A looks to be a 4-team race, yet again, as it is unlikely any team will crack the top 4 of Inter, AS Roma, Juventus, and AC Milan.
Inter Milan (+110) has won the Italy Serie A 5 years in a row and they have the best odds to win it again this season. Rafael Benitez takes over at head coach and they did not add many players in the off-season and they also did not lose any big name players besides Mario Balotelli’. Inter is still loaded with the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Samuel Eto’o, Maicon, and Javier Zanetti so the 5-time Scudetto winners and defending Champions League title holders will be tough to beat. Inter is still in the bidding trying to bring Javier Mascherano to Milan from Liverpool before the transfer window closes.
AS Roma (+400) came in second last season in the league and they had a good off-season signing Brazilians Adriano and Fabio Simplicio. Striker Francesco Totti is no spring chicken any longer, but he is a still a legit scoring threat and he needs to stay healthy this season. The Roma defense was up and down last season and they need to shore up their backfield in order to take the Scudetto from Inter Milan.
Juventus (+400) is coming off one of their worst seasons in Serie A finishing 7th, which has them scrambling just to qualify for the European League this season. Defensive star Fabio Cannavaro is gone and Leonardo Bonucci and Marco Motta will be counted on to man the backfield. One big worry is that G Gianluigi Buffon will be out for a couple months recovering from back surgery. New coach Gigi Del Neri has some tools to work with, but the offense needs a lift, as Alessandro Del Piero is 35 and his best scoring days are behind him.
AC Milan (+400) has not won the Scudetto since 2004 and it looks unlikely they will win it this year since the Italian giant did not sign any big name players, yet, and they are an aging squad. I say yet, as they are in talks with Barcelona to get the services of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovi?. If they get Ibrahimovi? and Alexandre Pato stays healthy then Milan has a shot, but if they don’t they are a long shot. AC Milan cannot afford to get off to a slow start like they did last season.
Fiorentina (+5000) is a long shot and they had a terrible campaign last season finishing 11th in the league. They signed Gaetano D’Agostino and Artur Boruc in the off-season to give them depth, but since Adrian Mutu is suspended until late October and Stevan Jovetic is injured it means that striker Alberto Gilardino has to carry the load on offense.
Sampdoria and Napoli are both at +6600 and even though both have solid squads it would be a major shock of they won the Scudetto. Sampdoria finished a surprise 4th last season in the league and striker Antonio Cassano will have to have another stellar season for Sampdoria to win it all this season.
Napoli finished 6th last season and they will have more firepower this season with the addition of Edinson Cavani from Palermo. Naploi will be happy to finish in the top 4 in the league to snag an automatic Champions League bid, but they do not have the talent to challenge the top teams in the Italian League.
Odds to Win:
Inter Milan +110
AC Milan +400