ROME, ITALY - Monday evening sees a blockbuster between Lazio and Juventus as both sides look to bounce back from European exits. Juventus were outclassed against European heavyweights Bayern Munich while Lazio kissed their Europa League dreams goodbye against the resolute Turkish outfit Fenerbache.
Nevertheless, the stakes couldn't be higher as Juventus can stretch their lead at the top to 11 points with just 18 points left to play for and Lazio slipped out of the European places this weekend following Roma's victory over Torino.
You can back the hosts at a best price of 10/3 with bet365 to snatch victory against the Old Lady; meanwhile the draw is widely available at 5/2 with BetVictor and other firms. Finally, Juventus are chalked up at an industry best price of 21/20 with Coral to take all three points, they can be found at odds on in places.
Vladimir Petkovic has had an excellent debut season in the Lazio dugout, his side reached the quarter finals of the Europa League and they look on course to finish in the top five. Lazio also have a Coppa Italia final date to look forward too after defeating Juventus in the semi finals. However, they will need to finish the season strong if they want to consider it a success.
Last time out Lazio were unlucky not to beat bitter rivals Roma. The biancocelesti had the chance to go 2-0 up but Hernanes missed a penalty and Roma drew level to claim a point. Whilst Lazio can take positives from their performance they are also left to rue suspensions picked up by Radu, Biava and Lulic giving Petkovic a selection headache on the left hand side of the pitch. But the good news for Lazio is that Miroslav Klose looks set to start the game, the presence of the experienced German makes a massive difference to a side who struggle to score without him.
bet365 and BetVictor offer a tempting price of 21/20 on over 2.5 goals. It's usually a 50/50 call if either side go over 2.5 goals but given the suspensions in the Lazio defence and the fact Klose is fit then I expect there to be a few goals. Any prices of Evens or above on over 2.5 goals represents good value and should be taken advantage of.
Coppa Italia semi-final aside Lazio have struggled to get any kind of result against Juventus. The last time the hosts got a league win over Juventus was way back in 2003 - a sequence that strecthes back 16 games (D5 L11).
But I am reluctant to back Juventus to win at the prices quoted and wonder how the Champions League exit will affect them mentally. The bianconeri also have such a healthy lead at the top the league they can afford to drop points without it affecting their title aspirations - their final five games are against Torino, Palermo, Atlanta, Cagliari and Sampdoria. Therefore I would much rather back the draw at 5/2 with BetVictor.
Mirko Vucinic is decent value in the goal scorer markets. The Montenegrin is in form after netting both goals in a 2-1 over Pescara last time out and has scored seven goals against Lazio during his time in Serie A - you can back Vucinic at 6/1 with bet365 to open the scoring this evening or 15/8 to find the net anytime with the same firm.
The game kicks off at 19:45 BST on Monday 15th April 2013 and is live on ESPN HD.