- Napoli v Juventus
- Friday, January 13th, 2023, 14:45 ET
- At the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples
Juventus has a chance to close the gap on Serie A leaders Napoli in Friday’s big game, but Luciano Spalletti’s team are a solid pick to win this one.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Juventus may be the closest challenger to Napoli in Serie A, but we can see from the odds available at the top-rated online sportsbooks that bookies are not giving the Turin team much of a chance here. Juventus is the +330 underdog going into this game, while Napoli is priced at around -205, and the draw can be backed at +250.
|Napoli v Juventus|
Napoli Setting the Pace in Serie A
The departure of Lorenzo Insigne, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Dries Mertens led some pundits to predict that Napoli would not be able to replicate its excellent third-place finish from last season.
Yet Luciano Spalletti has refitted his squad with some excellent additions and has guided them to an even more impressive start than the 12-game unbeaten streak with which they opened the 2021/22 season. This time, Napoli’s unbeaten run lasted 15 games and included 13 wins, and although Internazionale finally broke it at the start of the month, Napoli bounced back with a win at Sampdoria.
The result is that Napoli has opened up a seven-point gap at the top of Serie A, setting a pace that the other leading contenders are finding hard to match. The twin challenges of Serie A and the Champions League will stretch Napoli’s resources in the next few weeks, but it is looking hard to stop.
Tough Times in Turin
Juventus may still be in second place in Serie A, but these are tough times in Turin, and Massimiliano Allegri’s team seems more likely to slip down the table than to close the gap on Napoli.
After its first nine games produced only three wins, there has been a recovery based on a watertight defense that hasn’t conceded a goal in eight games. That level of defensive efficiency, however, is unlikely to be maintained for the whole season, particularly given the injury problems that are weakening the squad. Since the return to action after the World Cup, Juventus has continued to grind out results, but the back-to-back 1-0 wins over Cremonese and Udinese weren’t particularly impressive.
At the same time, the ongoing financial and legal crisis that led to the resignation of the entire Juventus board in December does not give Juve fans much hope of squad improvement in the transfer window.
Serie A Betting Head to Head
There is a complex web of rivalries in Italian football going back many decades, but the Napoli v Juventus rivalry is one of the fiercest, as it represents the historical North v South divide.
The two teams first met in the 1926-27 season when Juventus won 3-0 and 8-0 and in total, they have played 185 matches across all competitions since then. Juventus has the head-to-head advantage with 86 wins to Napoli’s 41, but Napoli has been on top for periods of its history, most notably between 1985 and 1990, when Juventus won only two games against Napoli in a 13-game streak.
Last season, Napoli finished ahead of Juventus in Serie A and picked up four points from its two games against Massimiliano Allegri’s team. This will be their first meeting of the 2022/23 season.
Serie A Betting Team News
Luciano Spalletti has a more or less full squad to pick from ahead of this game, as Kim Min-Jae has recovered from his injury and he may opt to stick with an unchanged team here. That would mean Piotr Zielinski and Hirving Lozano remaining on the bench and Matteo Politano starting up front alongside Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
The team news is less cheerful for Juventus. Long-term absentees Paul Pogba and Kaio Jorge are not expected to be fit until the end of the month. Defenders Mattia De Sciglio and Leonardo Bonucci, along with midfielder Juan Cuadrado and striker Dusan Vlahovic are all still missing and while they may be back in action next week, they won’t be available for this game.
There could be better news with defender Bremer and star forward Federico Chiesa, who might both be able to take the field in Naples.
Serie A Match Betting Pick
Juventus has been very successful at leaning on its tight defense and grinding out the wins, but that approach may not work here. Napoli has the best-attacking lineup in Serie A and is the leading scorer in the Division, and it will surely find a way through, particularly as Juventus is missing some key players. In fact, the home team should be a shorter price in the match betting market, and I expect Spalletti’s team to find a way to win this game and extend its lead.
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