MILAN, ITALY - AC Milan made it through a sticky tie against PSV in the UEFA Champions League midweek but now they switch back to domestic duties. The Rossoneri opened their campaign with a shock 2-1 defeat at newly promoted Verona so they need to get back on track against Cagliari.
The host are chalked up at an industry best price of 1.44 with BetVictor and Paddy Power to collect their first three points of the season. Cagliari, who beat Atlanta 2-1 on the opening day, are priced up at 9.0 with Ladbrokes and William Hill. Meanwhile the draw is available at 4.70 with Bwin.
AC Milan's victory in the Champions League playoff should see a flurry of activity in the transfer market. Former player Kaka and Keisuke Honda are targets and they could sign any day for the Milan side, while Matri is a done deal and will give Allegri another option upfront. On the other hand, Boateng, who scored two goals in the 3-0 win over PSV, Nocerino and Petagna will all be heading through the exit door.
Mario Balotelli will, once again, lead the line for the home side while Allegri decides on his strike partner. El Shaarawy was sensational last season but Allegri has options in attack with Niang, Robinho and now Matri. Coral have chalked up Balotelli at 4.50 to open the scoring, El Shaarawy and new signing Matri are both 5.50 with the same firm. While Robinho, who usually plays behind the strikers or out on the wing, is available further back in the market at 7.0 with Coral to net first.
Cagliari recorded a 2-1 home win over Atlanta last weekend with midfielders Nainggolan and Cabrera scoring both the goals; nevertheless, striker Marco Sau is the visitors danger man and he is chalked up at 12.0 with Bet365 to score the opener or 4.50 with totesport to find the net anytime.
The Rossoneri have an excellent record against Cagliari, winning the last nine home meetings in all competitions and they are undefeated in the last 21 league meetings so it's hard to shy away from another Milan win here. But rather than looking at the match odds market we can find much better value elsewhere.
The half-time/full-time market is packed with value. You can pick up an odds against price of 2.20 with BetVictor on the AC Milan/AC Milan result and you would have collected on seven out of the previous eight league meetings between these two sides at the San Siro.
Cagliari could also have a very active few days in the transfer market but for the wrong reasons. Several of their players have been linked with moves away from the club and it's a worry for the Sardinians who already look a bit lightweight in defence. Milan have scored at least 2 goals in the six of their last 7 home games against Cagliari and the price of 1.57 with Boylesports on the hosts scoring over 1.5 goals looks a great alternative to the match winner market.
Milan can ill afford another slip up in the league at this early stage of the season Napoli and Juventus already have two victories under their belts but I expect the Rossoneri to pick up their first win with little fuss here.
The game kicks off at 7:45pm BST on Sunday 1st September 2013.
Mark Smith's bets on this game: