Mark O'Haire - Catenaccio Is Dead, Long Live Goal Fests In Italy

9 min

19 winners from his last 20 Matchbook Insights selections, the beat goes on for Mark O’Haire with a pair of selections from Serie A for the weekend.


Regular readers of my Insights column will be well-aware of my love affair with goals and Serie A.

The Italian top-flight has averaged over three goals-per-game over the past two campaigns and the 2021/22 renewal is running hot at 3.07 goals on average.

A huge 61% of those matches featured Over 2.5 Goals with 38% of fixtures seeing Over 3.5 bank.

Having scanned the weekend schedule for potential inefficiencies in the market, I believe I’ve come across two, the first of which sees high-flying Atalanta head to Lazio for a potential blockbuster of a fixture from the Eternal City on Saturday night.

Crudely turning that aforementioned 61% hit-rate into implied odds, the current rate of Over 2.5 Goals winners suggests a blanket price on Overs in an ordinary Serie A showdown should be around the 1.62 mark.

However, the odds on offer from this mouthwatering match-up don’t necessarily back that up.

Rather than promote a sub 1.7 shot, there’s still plenty of mileage in supporting Over 2.5/3.0 Goals at a generous 1.83 and it’s a real surprise not to see the standard goals line set at a flat 3.0 for this Stadio Olimpico meeting.

‘Sarri-Ball’ has been on full show this season especially at the Stadio Olimpico as his side have averaged 2.8 goals at home.

Lazio have been at their best on home soil, scoring at least three goals on seven occasions in Serie A, averaging 2.80 goals-per-game here.

The Biancocelesti are also the only team to overturn Inter Milan this season and Maurizio Sarri’s squad come into this boasting a healthy forward line yet are still missing influential centre-back Francesco Acerbi.

If Lazio have impressed as hosts, Atalanta have thrilled away.

The Bergamo boys have dropped points just twice on their travels (W9-D2-L0), plundering multiple goals in eight road trips (averaging 2.36 goals). Even so, Gian Piero Gasperini’s group have recorded a solitary away shutout in nine when taking on teams outside of the bottom three.

Collectively, these two have seen Over 2.5 Goals click in 16/21 (76%) of their respective home/away duels with Over 3.5 Goals banking in 12 (57%) of those tussles.

Both teams have scored in 15 (71%) with the average goals-per-game coming in at a sky-high 3.88.

Across the whole campaign, the pair have managed a paltry nine clean sheets in 43 Serie A fixtures and found the back of the net in 36 such matches.

Meanwhile, Lazio are returning a 68% success rate for BTTS backers with Atalanta boasting a 71% return, with the latter seeing 10 of their 12 meetings with the current top-12 breaking the Over 2.5 Goals barrier.

Bet Now


Sassuolo have been a regular feature of my Insights columns this season with Alessio Dionisi’s thrill-a-minute outfit rarely disappointing supporters of high-scoring showdowns.

Last weekend’s enthralling clash with Hellas Verona was a picture-perfect example of the Neroverdi this term as their exceptional goal trends extended again.

The Emilia-Romagna outfit have now seen Over 2.5 Goals provide profit in 15 of their past 16 Serie A outings, with Both Teams To Score also banking on 15 occasions.

Those fixtures have featured a huge 3.41 goals-per-game and those figures tend to take a high when Sassuolo take to the road in 2021/22.

The Neroverdi have been at their bonkers best when playing away and the return of star forward Domenico Berardi from suspension should ensure their latest trip to Torino will provide plenty of fun.

All 10 of Sassuolo’s games as guests have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals and BTTS backers with the contests producing a barely-believable 4.10 goals on average.

Considering the high-scoring nature of the league, alongside Sassuolo’s seductive figures, Over 2.5 Goals just looks too big to ignore at 1.76 on Sunday.

Sassuola have been a regular goals bet for Mark this season!

Torino have made great strides under Ivan Juric. The head coach is a famed organiser and more of a pragmatist than most in Serie A; he’s a smart boss with a reputation for building competitive teams from the back. Nevertheless, the majority of the Granata’s more defensively-minded performances have come on their travels this term.

Indeed, Il Toro have scored in 10 of their 11 home ties, have notched multiple goals in seven of those showdowns and seen Over 2.5 Goals pay-out on eight occasions.

Juric’s group are averaging 2.09 goals-per-game here, thumped Fiorentina 4-0 on their last Stadio Olimpico outing and have only been thwarted by bitter city rivals Juventus on home soil.

Surprisingly, the hosts have recorded just five clean sheets across the campaign.

So despite Juric’s famed principles, there’s more than enough encouragement to suggest another high-scoring contest could be on the cards considering Sassuolo are in town on Sunday.

Recommended Bets

  • Over 2.5/3.0 Goals in Lazio vs Atalanta – 2 units @ 1.83
  • Over 2.5 Goals in Torino vs Sassuolo – 2 units @ 1.76

Mark’s Best Bet Double

Watch Mark O’Haire On Our Weekend Football Preview:

Subscribe to the Matchbook Betting Podcast here

Subscribe to the Matchbook Youtube channel here