Torino v Udinese – Grande Torino Sunday at 11:30 live on BT Sport
Joe Hart was happy to link up with the England national team during the international break and understandably delighted to take the captain’s armband against Lithuania.
As well as an immense sense of national pride, the 29 year-old was keen to leave Italy after two glaring errors in Torino’s draw with Inter Milan a fortnight ago. The goalkeeper allowed Geoffrey Kondogbia’s shot to squirm through his grasp, and then made a poor decision to come for a cross– both mistakes lead to goals.
Hosts represent good value
Hart’s team have now shipped at least two goals in five of their last six outings and only Pescara and Palermo have conceded more goals than them since the start of 2017. But after a tough run of fixtures, the Granata appear good value to pick up maximum points on Sunday morning when Udinese arrive in Turin.
Torino have suffered a sole home reverse in 14 fixtures this season – against table-topping Juventus – and have claimed eight home Serie A victories already this term. Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men have W6-D1-L0 when welcoming bottom-half clubs with four encounters seeing the Granata win by at least two goals,
Asian Handicap angle
So the 2.16 available on Torino overcoming a -0.75 Asian Handicap here makes plenty of appeal. The hosts have notched at least twice on 10 occasions at the Stadio Olimpico and are spearheaded by in-form Italian hitman Andrea Belotti.
Belotti has of course been Torino’s star, and he’ll hope to mark his 100th Serie A appearance by extending his current mark of 22 goals: the race for that Capocannoniere crown remains fierce but the Azzurri striker has made a strong claim to be Serie A’s best striker over the past 12 months.
Goals should be expected on Sunday – Torino have seen 20 of their 29 matches this season feature at least three goals, whilst their last six have all delivered in the Over 3.5 Goals market. Indeed, nine of the Granata’s 14 games at home have produced four or more goals.
Udinese missing key cogs
However, Udinese pitch up without top goalscorer Cyril Thereau meaning Stipe Perica is likely to be considered for a starting berth alongside Duvan Zapata. Elsewhere, first-choice goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis and Seko Fofana are also absent through injury.
The visitors have recorded back-to-back wins, scoring seven goals, in their two games before the international break but neither Palermo nor Pescara represent stiff opposition and the Zebrette had been struggling for results prior to those walkover wins.
Udinese had W0-D2-L3 in their previous five fixtures, failing to even score in three of those encounters. The guests have fired blanks in five of their eight away days against clubs currently above them in the Serie A standings and may come unstuck against a Torino outfit that’s tough to beat on their own turf.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Torino -0.75 Asian Handicap (2.16)
Prices correct at time of writing.