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The odds for Roma vs Juventus are supplied by the FanDuel sportsbook, where punters can get a no-sweat first bet worth up to $1000.
Back Juventus to beat Roma on Sunday. These are two evenly matched teams, but the Bianconeri have built up a head of steam and that could help them register an important victory in this crunch clash.
There will be no Serie A title race this season. It is only a matter of time before Napoli become uncatchable at the summit of the standings.
Their lead going into the weekend stands at 18 points; even a sustained downturn between now and the end of the campaign is unlikely to knock them off top spot. For the first time since 1990 and the days of Diego Maradona, the scudetto is on its way to Naples.
Partly because Napoli are so far clear in first place, the battle for the top four is hugely competitive. Just six points separate Inter in second to Atalanta in sixth. Juventus, currently seventh, might not be out of the race yet either (more on that later).
Roma are among the teams in contention for Champions League qualification. Jose Mourinho’s side finished sixth last term, which was the Portuguese’s first at the helm. Any disappointment at missing out on top four was tempered by the club’s triumph in the inaugural edition of the Europa Conference League.
There may well be more criticism of Mourinho and the team if Roma miss out this time around - unless they were to go on and lift the Europa League trophy. Their form has certainly been patchy of late: Roma have won just three of their last eight outings in all competitions.
The Giallorossi suffered their sixth defeat of Serie A season in midweek, going down to a Cremonese side that had not won a match all season. Mourinho was sent off in the second half at the Stadio Giovanni Zini and has since been handed a two-game ban.
Juventus are seventh in Serie A after 24 rounds of fixtures, but that does not tell the full story of their season. In January, the club was deducted 15 points as punishment for alleged financial irregularities. Had they not had those points taken away, Juve would be second right now.
That would have been unthinkable back in the middle of October. Max Allegri’s men endured a dismal start to the campaign, to the extent that a manager who previously won five consecutive titles at the Allianz Stadium appeared to be in danger of losing his job.
Juventus failed to win six of their first nine matches this season. After a 2-0 loss to Milan in the last game in that sequence, the Bianconeri slipped to eighth in the table. They were performing poorly in the Champions League too, and it looked like the entire campaign was going to be a write-off.
In fact, Juventus have largely been excellent in Serie A since then. Had the campaign started after that defeat by Milan, the Bianconeri would only be five points behind Napoli right now (without the points deduction).
A top-four finish still looks like a long shot, but Juventus have some serious momentum behind them and they thus cannot be ruled out entirely. A 10-point gap will be hard to overturn, but a win over a direct rival on Sunday would certainly help.
But Juventus might not have to make up a whole 10 points. They lodged an appeal against their punishment this week and hope to have at least some of the points restored, which would suddenly put them right back in contention for a top-four finish again. There is still plenty to play for this season.
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Teams: Roma vs Juventus
Location: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
Time: Mar. 5, 2023, 2.45 p.m. EST
How to Watch: Paramount+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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