As things stand at almost the midway point in the season, Serie A is highly unpredictable right now, with only 11 points separating fourth-placed Roma from Milan in 10th.
Whilst Juventus and Inter are fighting it out at the top, Lazio have slowly caught up with their rivals and are now only three points behind the joint leaders.
To judge by this month, the Biancocelesti have excellent soccer betting odds for a place among the top four, as their hot form makes them the most consistent team in Serie A right now. On a run of eight consecutive victories and 11 games unbeaten, the slow start to the season could come back to haunt them. They are only four points ahead of Roma in fourth, which also suggests that a couple of weeks with another poor spell could see them leapfrogged by their local rivals – who are only seven points behind the top two themselves.
If it weren’t for the expected consistency of Juventus - who top the soccer betting odds at the start of every season - the currently wide-open hunt for the Scudetto would be even more unpredictable, making soccer bet odds on Serie A positively mouth-watering. Indeed, it's a long time since soccer odds in Serie A were this hard to call.
Realistically speaking, Inter need to be humble over the next few months. The January transfer market and the recovery of their main protagonists during the first few months of 2019-20 could be the difference between a fight for the Scudetto or another battle with the teams behind Juventus.
If Antonio Conte’s men bring their recent performances with them into January and let some of those lacklustre performances creep into the odd game, then the two teams from the capital might keep their recent promises and not just breathe down their necks.
I’m not saying Inter should fall hard during the next half, but there are signs of fatigue and they really need this break to rest for what could be an interesting spring for the Nerazzurri following.
Both Napoli and Milan are breaking records at the wrong end of the scale and are far behind schedule this season, but the soccer betting odds can turn in an instant. The turbulent first half at the San Paolo comes as a surprise after finishing second to Juventus in Carlo Ancelotti’s first season at the helm of the Partenopei. The chaos behind closed doors during the autumn ended with Gennaro Gattuso replacing his mentor.
As we speak, it’s early doors for Rino and he’s got a big task on his hands. But Napoli are another team who could put together a winning streak and steal points from some big rivals.
Right now it doesn’t look like Napoli will be competing for a place among the top four come May, but with teams like Parma and Cagliari ahead of them, they will fancy their chances to take a big leap during the next few months and sign up for the battle. The lack of Champions League football has already been the downfall for Gennaro Gattuso once, and as they are drawn Barcelona in the last 16 of the tournament, they’ve got it all to do if they are to remain in the elite party also in 2020-21. If Gattuso can kick-start their season and make the Azzurri a team to be reckoned with again, it should scare the teams that currently lead the way.
Cagliari are the surprising contender at fifth after 16 games, and they are proving to be a challenge for anyone. Against Lazio last weekend, they proved to be capable of competing against the very best and were arguably unlucky to come out empty handed from their meeting at the Sardegna Arena. But the wasted opportunities let Lazio hit back and continue their winning streak.
The Rossoblu did not expect to be regarded as challengers for the top four when the season started, but combining good business with efficient tactics from Rolando Maran, they’ve been blowing away the spectators with great performances also against the toughest of opponents. The only issue is to see how it could possibly last for a whole season. Towards the end of matches, the defenders just for a moment lack the required concentration and it’s proving costly. The lack of experience won’t get them up there, but the foundation Maran has built might get them into the Europa League after a great start to the season.
Atalanta are the ones missing from the equation so far, but Gian Piero Gasperini’s men are sailing on the enthusiasm of their great achievements in the Champions League. They remain realistic and humble in describing themselves as a small team from Bergamo doing big things. But they aren’t sated by this success and have every reason to believe they can keep building.
It’s no fluke that Atalanta have finished in the top four for two out of the last three seasons, not to mention reaching the Coppa Italia Final. They were written off after three Champions League defeats, but still turned it around to reach the Round of 16, where Valencia are by no means beyond their reach. La Dea have shown enough times that underestimating them is a big mistake.
It’s a masterful achievement from President Antonio Percassi, who brought joy to the Atalanta faithful through his thorough organisation behind the curtains.
All this is without touching on Milan, who are looking to show their ambition during the January market. The conclusion should be that we are left with a great spectacle after New Year’s. Who’s going to slip up, and who’ll be right there, ready to seize the opportunity? A lot can change in two weeks, but that’s exactly how we want it, right?