The Italian Serie A
Football is revered in Italy, the stars in each team are treated as royalty by their local supporters and, of course, rival teams are deeply hated. The Scudetto (Italian for little shield) is the name of the winners’ cup as well as the crest that can be found on the Italian teams’ shirts, given only to the defending champions going into the season.
Some of the greatest players in football history have plied their trade in the Italian game, including the likes of Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Baggio, Gianluigi Buffon and Del Piero just to name a few.
With plenty of history of the controversial, the exciting and the heart-breaking, you are bound to find a team in the Serie A that you want to root for or that you can bet on, and there are some intense derbies that are jubilee events each year.
Best Teams to Bet On
Nicknamed “The Old Lady”, Juventus has won 36 league titles, making it the most successful of all the Italian teams in the league. Playing in black and white, they were a dominant force in Italian football, winning several titles in every decade since the 40’s, but were almost crushed by the 2004-07 Calciopoli scandal. The scandal, involving allegations of match fixing and infringing referees, was brought to court, where they found some of the top clubs guilty. Juventus had the harshest penalty, with the stripping of a domestic title and a relegation to the second league. Many top players left, but the ones who stayed; Del Piero and Pavel Nedved, helped get Juventus back into the Serie A and back on the right path. 2011 marked the year when Juventus returned to their former glory, and they won nine Serie A titles in a row, before finally having their record run ended in 2020 by rivals Inter Milan.
The Nerazzurri, or the black and blues (from their kit) are one of the most followed Italian football clubs in the world. They have won 19 titles, and are the only Italian team to complete a treble, when they won the domestic cup and league as well as the European cup in 2010. Inter had a great run from 2004, at the beginning of the aforementioned scandal. They won four back to back domestic titles leading up to their big treble win. After some changes in the ownership, the Milanese club dropped down in the league table, and they did not win another league until 2020.
The Rossoneri, or the red and black side of Milan, are Inter’s fierce rivals. They are the third most successful Italian club with 18 league titles, just one behind Inter’s 19. This historic team has been graced with some of the best players in football history including Clarence Seedorf, Ronaldinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and briefly David Beckham. They won their last title in 2010-11, when managed by current Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri. They come into this season on the back of a season where they were runners up to their closest rivals Inter, who finished the league 12 points clear of AC Milan.
Gli Azzurri, the Blues, was the playing ground of the late Diego Maradona. He helped win Napoli their two league titles, and give them international success in Europe that helped grow their club fan base. They are one of the strongest clubs in Italy, and have narrowly missed out on increasing their league trophy cabinet, finishing runner up and third place nine times each.
The Giallorossi, the red and yellows, are the team of the Italian capital Rome. Having won the Serie A four times, and runners up fourteen times, Roma was home to some legendary players and fifteen World Cup winners, including Cafu, Daniele De Rossi, Simone Perrota and Francesco Totti. Francesco Totti was considered the best player in the history of the club, and one of the best attacking midfielders in Italy. He had a total 619 caps for the team with 250 goals, which, considering he was a midfielder, showed his phenomenal talent in the game. When Totti retired in 2017, the club were finishing second and third place, but with his departure, they started falling in the table with finishes in 5th, 6th and 7th place.
The Biancocelesti, which translates to The White and Sky Blues, are local rivals to AS Roma. They have only won the Italian league twice, in 1974 and 2000. Despite this, they have a strong squad, led in the attack by Dries Mertens and Italian Ciro Immobile. They are managed by Maurizio Sarri, who is an accomplished manager, having won the league in 2019 with Juventus.
Atalanta has never won the Serie A title, but deserve a mention as an up and coming team, who placed third in the last three seasons. Since they appointed coach Gian Piero Gasperini in 2016, they have focused on a youth oriented team, and Gasperini inspired his team to climb to a record fourth place for the club. In 2019 they entered the Champions League for the first time in their history. They passed the group stage and the round of 16 to enter the quarter finals. Despite leading 1-0 against a star studded PSG team, they eventually tired out and PSG scored two late goals to knock out Atalanta. The side were very much the underdogs and following the match received high international praise and expanded its fan base.
Derby Della Madonnina
The Milanese derby between Inter and AC Milan is one of the biggest derbies in world football. It is played in the San Siro, which is the home stadium of both clubs, and in 174 matches, Inter have won 67 times to Milan’s 52, with 55 draws.
Derby della Capitale
The derby of Rome between AS Roma and SS Lazio is guaranteed to have some drama. Played in the Stadio Olimpico, the home ground of both teams, this event has been marred by controversy on and off the field. Roma takes the lead in wins with 66 to Lazio’s 48, with 63 draws between them. It is a high scoring event with 398 goals from 177 matches.
Derby della Mole
The match between Turin based teams Juventus and Torino is an important derby for locals. Though it can be said that Torino is closer to a mid-table team than a title chaser, the club still tries to stop their local rival whenever they get the chance. In the Serie A they have faced each other 153 times, with Juventus winning 74 matches compared to Torino’s 35, with 44 matches ending in a draw.
The football derby between Inter Milan and Juventus, this event has usually been a clash between the top two teams. Despite Juventus having an edge with 85 wins to Inters 47 and 45 draws, the matchup can still go either way and is tough to predict. There are plenty of goals and also red cards at these matches, with tensions getting higher as the season enters its final matches.
Derby del Sole
The “Derby of the Sun” between Napoli and Roma is between the two largest clubs from the mid and southern parts of Italy. This matchup is quite evenly balanced, with both teams almost having an even amount of wins each and draws.
Important Matches To Mention
Historical rivalries and local rivalries are important to consider, but there are also some matches that are worthy of a mention that have recently been key in the league. Any matchup between the aforementioned teams are guaranteed to be tense, but you can specifically look out for the matches between Juventus-Milan, Juventus-Napoli, Juventus-Roma. These matches are key milestones in the Serie A.
How to Make Your Bets
A few years ago, it would have been safe to bet week in week out on Juventus; the team did not show any signs of slowing down and won scudetto after scudetto. With Inter’s great run last season, and the fact that many clubs restructured due to economic losses caused by the pandemic, the league has become open to any of the big teams. With teams more balanced, the top teams will also have high odds, so be sure that you do not miss out on any of the action, and check out the betting markets for the Serie A here at mr.play.