Serie A Preview and Pick: Napoli vs. Lazio
Breakdown and Best Bet for Napoli-Lazio
A series of midweek fixtures in Serie A concludes on Thursday with an important battle between Napoli and Lazio. At home, Napoli is favored with a moneyline of +100 while Lazio’s moneyline is set at +255. There is also a moneyline of +265 for a draw.
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Gennaro Gattuso’s team will be kicking themselves after failing to hold a 1-0 lead last week against Serie A leaders Inter Milan. The Blues still managed to earn a point from the game, but three points would have brought them into a tie with Juventus for fourth place. The result leaves Napoli two points behind Juventus for a Champions League spot despite winning six of its last nine Serie A matches. The good news is that Thursday’s match with Lazio is likely the most difficult left on the schedule for the rest of the season.
While Napoli benefited from an own goal during the draw against Inter last week, the goals have been coming hard and fast for the Blues throughout the campaign. They have 66 goals in 31 Serie A matches, which ranks third in the league. Lorenzo Insigne remains the most reliable option, scoring two goals in four matches since the last international break. However, Hirving Lozano hasn’t produced much lately while Matteo Politano is also in the midst of a dry spell despite scoring eight goals in Serie A this season.
On the defensive side of things, Napoli is also third in Serie A, conceding just 35 goals in 31 games. However, the club has just one clean sheet in four matches since the start of April. Napoli has conceded six goals over those four matches and allowed at least two goals three times in their last eight Serie A matches since the start of March, so there have been some vulnerabilities at the back.
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Much like Napoli, Lazio is chasing a top-four spot late in the season. Simone Inzaghi’s side is currently sixth in Serie A, two points behind Napoli and four points behind Juventus for fourth place, although the Eagles have a game in hand over both teams. Despite getting bounced from the Champions League by Bayern Munich last month, Lazio has been in great form domestically, winning five straight Serie A matches, including a wild 5-3 win over Benevento over the weekend.
The best part of the 5-3 win was that Ciro Immobile scored two of the five goals, ending a scoring drought for him. Immobile won’t come close to matching the 36 goals he scored last season when he won Europe’s Golden Boot, although he still leads Lazio with 16 Serie A goals this season. Despite Immobile being back on track, Lazio still needs players like Luis Alberto and Felipe Caicedo to be a threat to score goals. Caicedo has scored twice in April, but Alberto has gone cold, scoring just twice in his last 11 appearances.
Scoring goals is critical for Lazio because they’ve been nothing special defensively this season. The Eagles have allowed 41 goals in 30 Serie A matches despite two clean sheets in their last four games. Keeping a talented Napoli team off the scoreboard won’t be easy, especially after Lazio conceded three goals over the weekend.
Both sides have been in good form recently and have a lot to play for coming down the stretch. However, Immobile’s scoring drought before last week’s game and some of Lazio’s defensive miscues this season are both concerning. While Lazio took the first meeting between these sides 2-0, Napoli had a bulk of the possession and more chances. Lazio just happened to score on its only two shots on goal. Look for Napoli to get redemption for that loss and keep the pressure on Juventus in the top-4 race.