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Sunday Serie A Odds, Picks and Predictions for Napoli vs. AC Milan (Nov. 22)

Credit:

Pier Marco Tacca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images. Pictured: AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

  • Two of the best teams in Serie A meet Sunday afternoon when Napoli hosts first-place AC Milan at San Paulo Stadium.
  • Napoli is favored to win the match, but Dillon Essma thinks the odds underrate the visitor's chances in what could be a high-scoring contest.
  • Essma gives his analysis and top picks below.

Napoli vs. AC Milan Odds

Napoli Odds +118 [BET NOW]
AC Milan Odds +235 [BET NOW]
Draw +240 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-125/+100) [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 2:45 p.m. ET
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The San Paolo Stadium will host one of the biggest matches of the weekend as first-place AC Milan travels to Naples to take on Napoli, who have won five of the six games they’ve played (they were handed a 3-0 forfeit loss in a match against Juventus that they had to abandon due to COVID issues).

The international break always makes these games tougher to gauge, but it should be an entertaining contest, regardless.

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Napoli

Napoli have had a strong start to the season, taking 15 from a possible 18 points in the matches they’ve played. Gli Azzurri’s only loss came against an up-and-coming Sassuolo side in an unlucky 2-0 defeat. That match saw Napoli win the the expected goals (xG) battle, 2.14 to 1.52.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


The truly surprising part of Napoli’s success has been on the defensive side of the ball. While the competition hasn’t been overly difficult, conceding only 0.66 xG against per game is the best mark in the Serie A by quite a bit. Even when they played Atalanta, Napoli held them to just 0.64 xG.

Napoli’s 1.81 xG per match sounds impressive, but it only puts them on par with Sassuolo and well behind the top teams in Serie A through the early part of the season. Another issue is that, compared to their peers at the top of the table, Napoli has more trouble finishing off the chances they do create.

On top of that, their new striker Victor Osimhen is out with a shoulder injury. I wouldn’t say it’s a death blow to their chances, but I do think it’s noteworthy. He has been good, leading the team with 3.19 xG created through six games. Osimhen is physical and holds up place nicely as well. In a game this tight, his absence could be the difference between a draw and a loss.

AC Milan

AC Milan come into this match on top of the Serie A table with five wins and two draws from their first seven matches. That is quite the accomplishment considering that Milan are balancing their Serie A schedule with a packed Europa League itinerary.

The Rossoneri are second in the league with an average of 2.51 xG per match and even when they are struggling to create chances, Milan has an effective Plan B by playing direct football with the ageless Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the top. Milan can beat you in open play and Ibrahimovic is still a nuisance to defend on set pieces, so this is a well-balanced team that is really tough to keep off the scoresheet.

One thing to note is that while a lot of Europe’s top players were off on international duty over the past few weeks, Zlatan was able to rest. That could be key as he looked a bit fatigued over Milan’s last few contests.

Defensively the Rossoneri grade out pretty well. They have allowed just seven goals on 9.16 expected goals against through their first seven matches. Their 1.31 xG per match is not outstanding but their sparkling offensive numbers help provide cover for a defense that is good, not great.

Betting Analysis & Picks

I like a few angles backing AC Milan and the over in this spot.

I think Napoli’s defensive numbers flatter them a bit, so I expect AC Milan’s offense to have enough success to make this a contest. At 2.75 (which is an Asian handicap, meaning half your bet goes on Over 2.5 and the other half on Over 3), I think this total is in reach because I am confident that Napoli’s offense will get on the board, too.

I don’t see AC Milan losing this game as often as the odds imply, so I would back them on the spread at +0.5 and would also consider sprinkling the moneyline at +215.

[Bet Napoli vs. AC Milan now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]
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