Lega Calcio

Lega Calcio Round 34 — Totti Still MIA?!

Round 34 of the Lega Calcio campaign gets underway on Friday and offers a full weekend of matches.

The Italian Serie A season has dwindled down to the final five fixtures of the season, leaving 15 available points on the table for the 20 clubs in the league.

We can officially announce that Pescara has been demoted to Serie B next year. After their 4 – 1 loss to Roma this past Monday, Pescara will be packing their bags for second tier Serie B, after only one season back in Serie A. Of course, the Delfini will finish out the campaign, but the demotion is certain.

It is now about time I finally just had it out with Francesco Totti!
I have been talking about his absences and lack of time on the pitch for years.

No really, in fact, here you go. Serie A Article Oct 27, 2015

We do remember that I was the lead soccer writer at BetDSI for two years, right? There is that Ej Garr guy all over the place, still there today. Page 2 is entirely work by me regarding Lega Calcio.

I was always talking about the absence of Totti, and how Totti was listed as questionable time and time again. Now this is going back to 2014, and we are now deep in the 2016-17 campaign. Like I said, there are only five fixtures remaining in the Serie A campaign, so it’s been another long, wasted year!

Did you see what I had to say yet again in week 15 of that same campaign about Totti? HERE you go! It was the featured match of the weekend between Roma and Torino, and I quote. “AS Roma is still dealing with the mysterious absence of Francesco Totti, who has not competed for quite some time.” That is December 3, 2015, and here we still are today.

The mysterious absence of Francesco Totti is still something we are discussing round after round.

Let’s review his appearances just this year alone, shall we?

Roma started the season in Champions League qualifying stages, as a result of their 3rd place finish in the 2015-16 Serie A table. Roma and Porto played to a 1 – 1 draw in their Champions League qualifying round appearance. No Totti to be found. So, with a chance to possibly advance with a second leg result, Francesco Totti is, yet again, just not there. AS Roma gets knocked out of Champions League as simple as that, and demoted to Europa League they go.

SO NATURALLY, you would assume if Champions League isn’t big enough, he will be nowhere to be found when they start their Europa League campaign, right?

Then, the Serie A campaign gets underway, and guess what? Oh, you’ll never guess what’s next. On the bench, on the bench for another fixture, and then what? Injured and OUT for two more matches? Wait, what? Listed as out with an injury? Hold on, how the F**K can you be injured when YOU HAVEN’T EVEN PLAYED A COMPETITIVE MATCH SINCE LAST MAY?

Okay, I am putting myself on the DL people! I cannot write for the next six to eight weeks, because I stubbed my big toe! Holy cow, I mean that just drives me nuts man!

Make no mistake, I have been an AS Roma fan since 1983 okay. WAY before Mr. Totti became who he is. Granted the last 20 years has been plenty about Francesco, but the last three years? What a mess it’s been!

Is this really how you want to be remembered? I almost want to compare his experience lately to what Derek Jeter went through. Amazing careers, stats up the ass, records all over the place, but I remember all too well how Derek went out. Derek was never the same after his foot injury in the post-season, although he hung on for two more years, struggling to do anything.

Totti is ending his career soon, and what will I remember? Of course, the goals, the Golden Boot, the 2006 World Cup with Italy. All amazing memories for me, but I hate the way his career has gone lately.

Continuing to break down this year, I mentioned that Roma were sent packing to Europa League, after just one affair with Porto.

What does Luca Spalletti do next? Not only does he continue to not use Totti in the Lega Calcio campaign, but the next part is just too much to take.

Europa League group stage gets underway, and guess who finally decides to make an appearance? For a whole 19 minutes or so against Plzen to open group stage? Seriously, I know he made that start against Crotone too, right before that Europa League outing, but come on!

Totti has garnered more minutes in Europa League this year than he has in all of his Lega Calcio outings. He has only appeared in 13 of Roma’s 33 Serie A fixtures this season, and has only played ONE of those from start to finish.

Retire man! I’m sorry, but I am so done with it now! I love the guy, but you have no purpose anymore. Europa League was Francesco Totti’s last hurrah? Oh it was? So when Roma got all the way to the round of 16 to face Lyon, where was Totti again? THE LAST SEVEN MINUTES? Even though Roma lost the first leg to Lyon 4 – 2, those two road goals were huge! To end up winning the second leg 2 – 1, only to lose 5 – 4 on aggregate was a complete was of time.

Did you catch that Totti was listed as INJURED on Monday against Pescara? Cut yourself shaving? Did you run out of hair gel? Stunoda Boombatz! ‘Nuff said!

Wow, well there are matches to discuss aren’t there? Sorry about that, but hey, if I was boring, what the hell would bring you back to read more!?

So round 34 comes, and what a weekend we saw just transpire. Goals much? How about 48 of them in round 33? Thank goodness I had the Serie A Grand Salami to go Over that 21.5 last Sunday, because my god, did that happen?

Lazio sure went nuts with their 6 goals, and what about that Fioretina / Inter Milan match? Holy mother of pearl, was that nuts to watch! Nothing like a good ol’ 5 – 4 affair to get your juices flowing!

All of those goals got us to 946 on the campaign. Another 1000 goal Lega Calcio campaign is about to hit us, after falling just short last year.

I don’t know who follows such things other than me, but I like knowing stats myself.

Last year snapped a three-season run of 1000+ goals in Italian Serie A. I don’t think we will see the 1266 scoring record snapped this year (1949-50), but we are certainly going over a grand again.

2012/13 – 1003
2013/14 – 1035
2014/15 – 1024
2015/16 – 979
2016/17 – 946 (w/ 5 rounds left)

With five rounds left, there is no doubt about it, really. Hell, they might just do it this weekend, break out for 50+ goals, and just settle it early! Well, let’s not get too carried away here, but it is what it be.

Let’s get to the matches, before I get up to a 3000-word article by accident!

The only reason the weekend starts on Friday  is because the Juventus match was moved to appease their Champions League affairs. Juventus will be headed to Monaco on May 3, for the first of their two-legged semifinals encounter.

I hope you all saw my Juventus Futures Betting article, because it’s just so lovely.

Friday, April 28 – 1 Match

Atalanta vs Juventus
3-Way 1×2 Lines:
Atalanta +250
Juventus +125
Draw +225

Handicap/Spread:
Atalanta +0.5 -145
Juventus -0.5 +125

Total 2.5:
Over +110
Under -130

Saturday, April 29 – 1 Match

Torino vs Sampdoria
Torino -145
Sampdoria +415
Draw +300

Torino -0.5 -145
Sampdoria +0.5 +125

Total 3.5:
Over +100
Under -120

Sunday, April 30 – 8 Matches

AS Roma vs Lazio
Roma -115
Lazio +300
Draw +290

Roma -0.5 -115
Lazio +0.5 -105

Total 3:
Over -140
Under +120

Bologna vs Udinese
Bologna +135
Udinese +225
Draw +225

Bologna 0/Pk -155
Udinese 0/Pk +135

Total 2.5:
Over +100
Under -120

Cagliari vs Pescara
Cagliari -155
Pescara +415
Draw +320

Cagliari -0.5 -150
Pescara +0.5 +130

Total 3.5:
Over +100
Under -120

Crotone vs AC Milan
Crotone +320
Milan -110
Draw +260

Crotone +0.5 -110
Milan -0.5 -110

Total 2.5:
Over -120
Under +100

Empoli vs Sassuolo
Empoli +110
Sassuolo +265
Draw +240

Empoli -0.5 +110
Sassuolo +0.5 -130

Total 2.5:
Over -120
Under +100

Genoa vs Chievo Verona
Genoa -135
Chievo +400
Draw +280

Genoa -0.5 -135
Chievo +0.5 +115

Total 2.5:
Over -125
Under +105

Palermo vs Fiorentina
Palermo +650
Fiorentina -230
Draw +375

Palermo +1 +120
Fiorentina -1 -140

Total 3:
Over -135
Under +115

Inter Milan vs Napoli
Inter +215
Napoli +120
Draw +265

Inter +0.5 -140
Napoli -0.5 +120

Total 3:
Over -110
Under -110
________________________

Now that Pescara’s fate has been decided, the line setters sure did boost up that total. Now they offer a straight 3.5, but even money is not the worst offer on the board either.

I will just start right there, and move on, because there is nothing to really add. I expect goals there. What a shocker!

Suggested Play:
Cagliari / Pescara Total Over 3.5 @ +100

How much respect is Atalanta getting, because the line setters know Juventus has Monaco on their minds? If indeed Allegri plans on resting some players, who cares! Juventus’ second squad could give plenty of clubs a run for their money, and Atalanta is no European powerhouse. Sure, I love that Atalanta can finally score after all those years of mediocrity, but it won’t matter.

Barcelona knows how to score last I heard too, and uh, how did that go for them against Juve in Champions League? Hmm hmm, NADA! Twice in fact, so it is strange for me to sit here thinking that Atalanta will actually score this weekend. How do I know? Well let’s look around, and I’ll tell you why. Let me start with the ‘Both Teams to Score’ prop. How about -110 on either side of yes or no, at most sites that offer it. I am even seeing -125 out there on them both to score, so that is one thing.

It is still an important match for both clubs, as obvious by looking at the table. Atalanta has a Europa League spot in their sights, and obviously Juve has the Lega Calcio Scudetto on their minds. I still see Juve taking this contest, and it’s not just because I just think they are 100% invincible. How often do we get a chance to grab Juventus at +125 to win a Serie A match? Home, away, whatever.

I am going to suspect we will see a 2 – 1 match, and who knows, it might even end 2 – 2. Crazy, right!

Hit me with the total, but let’s smooth it on down to the handicap line. Just in case they get stuck at 2, there is no reason to avoid the mini safety net with the handicap offer.

Suggested Play:
Atalanta / Juventus Total Over 2 & 2.5 AH @ -115

Another handicap offer that caught my eye was towards the derby in Rome. Oh, how I wish I could be there for one of these derbies. Hopefully in the next 2-3 years, Lisa and I will make our way to Rome, Naples and Venice. That’s the plan at least, so I can’t wait for that obviously.

It sucks that the line setters threw such a high number on the straight 3 total to go over. I don’t think I have ever paid -140 for any bet in my life, and it won’t be starting anytime soon. So instead, I move the line up to the handicap line of 3 and 3.5, because that price is fair. Not only that, but again I will talk about how using these types of bets over the long haul, really adds up. You either get it, or you don’t, and some people just see things differently than others.

Suggested Play:
AS Roma vs Lazio Total Over 3 & 3.5 @ -102

I think everyone will be taking time to check out what goes on at the San Siro on Sunday. Inter Milan and Napoli take it to the pitch again, and the first meeting was just a carnival of shots. Balls were flying all around the net, although Napoli came away with the 3 – 0 home win in Naples.

All we will need to push that total is to find three goals again. Finding three goals when Inter Milan, on the pitch lately, has been no challenge at all. It looks like we are up to eight straight outings with at least three goals from an Inter Milan affair. I already mentioned the 5 – 4 madness with the Viola last weekend, and no one watches that and thinks to take the Under their next time out. Sure things come to an end, and I imagine it might one day, but Napoli is not exactly timid offensively either. I don’t think I need to spend too much time convincing anyone why we should see three goals, at the very least.

Until I personally see Inter Milan slow down a turtle that total at three and -111 has my attention.

Suggested Play:
Inter Milan / Napoli Total Over 3 @ -111

I, at least, want to find a value play on a side, and I think I found it.

Udinese is heading to Dall’Ara to face Bologna, and that +135 is screaming at me! I am talking about the 0/Pk, Draw no Bet handicap line on Udinese. Could you imagine someone suggesting the -155 on Bologna 0/Pk? Are ya kiddin’ me?

Not only do I find value in Ude away from home this weekend, but look at the damn Bologna injury report too. Bologna still needs to finish the Lega Calcio campaign with something from their last five matches. They hold an 11-point lead over Crotone for the final relegation spot in the Serie A table. With 15 possible points available to everyone, Bologna is still not out of the woods, so to speak.

I don’t think being at home is going to matter at all, because they’ve needed results before it got to this point, and we see how that worked out so far.

I fade Bologna this weekend, and the safety net of the 0/Pk DNB AH still holds plenty of value.

Suggested Play:
Bologna / Udinese
Udinese 0/Pk DNB AH @ +135

And that will wrap the Lega Calcio weekend for me. I might… oh stop it; I will have Serie B plays on the board of course, so look me up for those if you like.

In Bocca Al Lupo, Ciao!

About EJ the Rainmaker

EJ Garr has been a freelance sports writer and handicapper for more than 20 years. He appeared as a featured writer in Beckett's Magazine for the 2014 World Cup. An experienced radio host, he also lends his voice to the radio shows on the Sports Palooza Radio Network, which includes a weekly segment dedicated to the NY Cosmos.

About EJ the Rainmaker

EJ Garr has been a freelance sports writer and handicapper for more than 20 years. He appeared as a featured writer in Beckett's Magazine for the 2014 World Cup. An experienced radio host, he also lends his voice to the radio shows on the Sports Palooza Radio Network, which includes a weekly segment dedicated to the NY Cosmos.

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