Just two weeks into the 2019-20 season, Serie A is giving fans an absolutely double-stuffed treat as two of the league’s premier matchups will be going down this weekend: Juventus vs Napoli and Roma vs Lazio.
The first — and best matchup in the world of football this weekend — is on Saturday, as Napoli heads to northern Italy to take on 8-time (!!!) defending champions Juventus in Turin, which will be airing exclusively on ESPN+ in the states.
Juventus vs Napoli Preview, Predictions, and Betting Picks
Having come in second behind “The Old Lady” for two straight seasons, Napoli will be looking to lay down a marker for the season ahead and prove that they’ve got the goods to unseat the eight-time reigning champions.
Finishing 11 points behind Juventus last season, Napoli only got stronger in the offseason, as they brought in young Mexican star winger Hirving “Chucky” Lazano from PSV Eindhoven and Greek central defender Konstantinos Manolas in from AS Roma, while also not losing any key components to the squad. By that logic, as long as Napoli perform up to their talents, they will be at least as good as they were last season.
But will that be enough to close the gap with Juventus, who also restocked this summer, one year after they brought in international superstar Cristiano Ronaldo? Unfortunately for Napoli fans, probably not.
Juventus, who have dominated the Italian league for the better part of the last decade, brought in reinforcements all over the pitch.
They signed two elite midfielders in Aaron Ramsey, formerly of Arsenal, and Adrien Rabiot from PSG. They brought in Manchester City right-back Danilo and 20-year-old Dutch wunderkind center back Matthijs de Ligt, who has the makings of a true superstar at the position. Not to mention they also brought back club legend Gianluigi Buffon to deputize as the back-up goalkeeper for what’s likely to be his final professional season.
However, all that said, just because Juventus may still be the better team over the course of the season means nothing when it comes to a one-off game between two sides as talented as these.
Coming into the match, Juventus are certainly favorites, but only slightly, as they currently sit at -1/2 on the spread and at -115 on the money line. The defending champions began their campaign on the road at Parma, albeit they didn’t look particularly potent, as they needed a deflection goal from their 35-year-old center back Giorgio Chiellini to win the game.
But, Juventus are not known for their offensive might, they’re known for winning games, which is exactly what they should do on Saturday in their home opener.
While Napoli will certainly make things interesting — and trust me, this game will be excellent — the Bianconeri just has too much talent, depth, and know-how, especially at home in front of their rabid fans, who will not only be thriving off the energy of a new season, but the return of their beloved goalkeeper Gigi Buffon as well.
Napoli will keep it close, but we’re taking Juventus to win for this matchup between the Italian powerhouses.
The pick: Juventus to Win, -115.
After striking a multi-year agreement for streaming Italian football in the United States, ESPN+ will be covering a staggering 340 matches per season, so make sure to SIGN UP NOW to catch all the action.
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Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him: email@example.com.