ROME, ITALY - The first competitive action in Italy gets underway on Sunday evening when Juventus, who are chasing a third consecutive scudetto, cross swords with Lazio in the Super Coppa. Lazio, winners of the Coppa Italia last season, will hope the fixture being held at the Stadio Olimpico gives them a significant advantage.
However, the Old Lady are favourites to win the seasons first piece of silverware and BetVictor offer an industry best price of 2.10 on a Juventus win, while Lazio have been nibbled into 3.80 with Bwin to lift the Super Coppa inside the distance. Finally the draw is available to back at 3.40 with bet365.
Lazio, under the stewardship of Vladimir Petkovic, enjoyed a successful climax to last season after beating neighbours Roma in the Coppa Italia final. On route to the final they knocked today's opponents in an epic semi final clash, Lazio won the tie 3-2 and will not fear Juventus in a one off game, especially considering the champions indifferent pre-season form (they finished last in the International Champions Cup).
Reports suggest that Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente are likely to feature and make their competitive debuts but I believe it will be one of Juve's old boys who will make the impact. Mirko Vucinic has an excellent record against Lazio and you can back the former Roma front man at 9.0 with Skybet to score first or 3.0 with the same firm to score anytime.
All of the pre-match attention is on Carlos Tevez. The Argentine is favourite to open the scoring at 6.50 with William Hill and Ladbrokes but I feel, while the media and Lazio's focus will be on the diminutive striker, Mirko Vucinic will be the main beneficiary and can, at the very least, get on the score sheet and have a telling contribution.
Lazio haven't made any significant investment in their first XI but they have retained the services of Anderson Hernanes and Miroslav Klose. Youngsters like Libor Kozak will also improve with another season under their belts. Klose dominates the goal scoring market for the Biancocelesti, William Hill go a top price of 8.0 on the German scoring first or 3.20 with BetVictor to find the net anytime.
Last season's Super Coppa was a six goal thriller between Juve and Napoli but I doubt this seasons renewal will be such a high scoring affair. Under 2.5 goals looks the most likely outcome in 90 minutes, bet365 offer a best price of 1.80 on their being two goals or less, it can be found as short as 1.67 elsewhere. If you fancy a few goals at the Stadio Olimpico then the 2.15 with Ladbrokes on the Over 2.5 goals market may tempt you.
It's hard to tell how motivated Juventus will be and their sloppy approach in pre-season has put me off backing the Old Lady to beat Lazio here. It's difficult to split the teams and I like the odds of 3.40 with bet365 on the draw.
The game kicks off at 8 p.m. BST on Sunday 18th August 2013.
Mark Smith's bets on this game: