Serie A Odds, Picks, Predictions: Roma vs. AC Milan Betting Preview (Oct. 31)
Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Mourinho.
- Roma takes on AC Milan in a battle of Italian heavyweights in Sunday's Serie A action.
- The visitors have won five consecutive games in league play ahead of this matchup in Rome.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the matchup below and dishes his top pick connected to the game total.
Roma vs. AC Milan Odds
|AC Milan Odds||+215|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-130 / +110)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 3:45 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Paramount+|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.|
Both AC Milan and Roma won their midweek matches, positioning both inside the Serie A top four ahead of their clash in the Italian capital on Sunday.
Milan grabbed an early lead at home against Torino and held on for a 1-0 win, while Roma came from 1-0 down in Cagliari to win 2-1.
Milan has won five consecutive games in Serie A play, but the underlying performances haven’t been nearly as dominant of late as they were earlier in the season. Unconvincing wins against Verona, Bologna and Torino raise some red flags about an attacking group that’s seen a dip in its production of late.
Roma became the first team in Serie A to get a result against Napoli last weekend, and despite an embarrassing loss in the Europa League, Roma’s underlying numbers remain strong after a red-hot start domestically.
Given Milan’s attacking struggles and Roma manager José Mourinho’s conservative approach in bigger matches, the under has value in what should be a cagey affair.
Mourinho’s Roma Off to Strong Start
It hasn’t taken long for Mourinho to imprint his identity on Roma and for that identity to show itself in the underlying numbers. Roma is just 10th in possession percentage in Serie A, 14th in passes per defensive action and 16th in ball recoveries. It’s a very passive team without the ball who doesn’t aggressively press high or try to win the ball high up the pitch frequently.
One very un-Mourinho trait is how many high-quality chances the Giallorossi have conceded this season. Roma is 16th in big scoring chances allowed, while Mourinho teams typically profile out as teams who will allow a lot of low-quality shots and prevent clear scoring opportunities. I’d expect that to improve going for as Mourinho has more time in Italy.
Roma is excellent at protecting its penalty area, as opponents have the third fewest box entries against Mourinho’s side. It will be difficult for Milan to breakthrough the Roma defense on Sunday. This is another reason to expect Roma’s defense to improve as it concedes fewer high-quality chances in the future.
Roma has been incredibly efficient at turning box entries and possession into shots and clear scoring chances. That’s because a lot of Roma’s chances come when the opponent doesn’t have a lot of numbers behind the ball. They have the second lowest average shot distance in Serie A and could be very dangerous on the counter in transition against Milan on Sunday.
Milan Boosted by Stellar Defense
Milan has the second longest average shot distance in Serie A. The Rossoneri like to settle for shots from range and against Roma, that’s a recipe for a lot of stale possession, bad shots and few clear scoring chances.
The Milan attack is trending downward entering this match, having created less than one non-penalty expected goal (xG) in each of its last four matches in all competitions. The Rossoneri are especially good in transition or when able to run into space with their creative players and talented playmakers. But they’ve struggled outside of set pieces for the last month or so.
Despite the deflated attacking production, Milan’s defense continues to be much improved from last season. The emergence of Fikayo Tomori in the middle of the AC Milan defense to partner with Simon Kjaer has improved them significantly.
Ismael Bennacer has been in and out of the lineup, but the Rossoneri have been especially difficult to break down when he’s on the pitch. He’s is especially excellent at stopping counterattacks and can cover a lot of ground while also providing ball-winning ability in the middle of the park.
For the year, Milan has allowed the second-fewest xG per 90, third-fewest big scoring chances and ranks fifth at preventing box entries.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Mourinho is sure to approach this game on Sunday as he approached the game against Napoli last weekend. Roma will sit off and let Milan have the ball in non-dangerous areas. He’ll challenge Milan to break down the defensive structure of Roma, which has been solid in its underlying numbers thus far this season.
After an impressive start to the season, Milan’s attack is starting to look much more like the team from 2020-21 that was buoyed by a lot of penalties and xG over-performance in front of goal.
Milan’s declining attack isn’t quite priced in to the market here and my projections show 2.65 goals, so I’m happy to take under 2.5 at plus money.
If you can find a total of three at -140 or better, that’s also worth a play.
Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (+115)