Juventus vs. Lazio: Coppa Italia Quarterfinal Odds, Picks, Predictions (2/2/23)
After a terrible run of form paired with a 15-point deduction after financial violations arose, Juventus suddenly find themselves in the bottom half of the table. Lazio, on the other hand, have surged up to third place, but are still a whopping 15 points behind table-topping Napoli. So, the only route either side has to domestic glory in this campaign is now the Coppa Italia, where they will meet in the quarterfinals this Thursday. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks for this knockout clash.
Juventus vs. Lazio Odds
Juve are favored by odds of +115 to win in regulation, while the draw is set at +240 and Lazio’s odds are +260. For a goalscoring line of 2.5, the under is unshockingly favored with -135 odds, while the over is +110.
Juventus vs. Lazio Prediction & Pick
It’s worth noting that if not for Juve’s major punishment, these two teams would be precisely level in the league with 38 points thus far. Both have also dropped out of their primary European competitions, and fallen into the next one down. Lazio were perhaps unlucky to go down, as their entire Europa League group remarkably ended up with precisely 8 points and tiebreaking procedures picked out an order, although it could be argued that perhaps Lazio should have just not lost 5-1 to Midtjylland, or drawn twice with Sturm Graz. For Juve, it was the Champions League, but perhaps just as ugly; the once-elite side lost five of its six group matches, two to Paris, two to Benfica, and they split with Maccabi Haifa, with whom they finished level with a final tally of 3 points. Pair all of that embarrassment with a now-futile title race in Serie A, and very uninspiring Coppa Italia openers for both sides, and we’re looking at two teams who desperately need a great showing in this match.
There’s not a lot to separate these two teams in Serie A play this season; they have the same amount of wins, draws, and losses, they have the second and third best scoring defenses, and the fifth and sixth best scoring attacks. That being said, Lazio haven’t spent the past couple of weeks getting truly and thoroughly annihilated on and off of the pitch, so it’s pretty impossible for me to pick anything other than Lazio +260, that value is incredible considering how comparable these teams are in most regards. The over/under is a bit of a tougher call, both sides have a better defensive record than attacking, but their recent form is somewhat opposite. It’s not my favorite pick of the year, but I’m going to go with over 2.5 goals for +110, partially to capture value, but also partially because Juve have spent their last match in the cup being pushed to the brink by Monza, and in their last league game, actually getting beaten by the same side, who have a negative point differential themselves. I simply don’t trust the Bianconeri to come anywhere close to keeping a clean sheet, and I’m surely not going to place a wager that would benefit from them doing so.
The Midfield Battle
Both of these sides average right around 50% possession in Serie A play, with Lazio checking in just above that mark and Juve a tad below it. So, it’s no stretch to say that the possession battle could go either way in this one, and thus could go a long way towards picking a semifinalist.
Juve, back under the leadership of Max Allegri, have been employing an unsightly 3-5-1-1 formation, making the roles and identities of their “midfielders” something of an enigma. Angel Di Maria, for instance, feels like something between a CAM and a second striker in his position as the lone player above the line of 5. The anchors of what we might consider to be the “true” midfield have been Adrien Rabiot and Manuel Locatelli, who play more traditional box-to-box, central roles, and have also been two of the most consistently strong performers on the club this year. Weston McKennie also filled a similar role, although he sometimes was stuck as an outside midfielder in the 5-line, but he’s off for Leeds now; I’d expect Leandro Paredes to start in his spot, but it could be the promising young Italian midfielder Nicolò Fagioli. Paul Pogba is also theoretically on his way back from injury, as he’s now training, but it’s always hard to know if or when he’ll be back to contributing in a meaningful way on the pitch. The midfield is a bit of a microcosm of the state of the club at large right now; surely talented, fairly inconsistent and down on hard times, but still capable of greatness. Let’s see what type of outing they can manage against Lazio.
Lazio, under former Juve boss Maurizio Sarri, make it a bit easier for us, as they run a much more traditional 4-3-3, with midfielders in clearly defined roles. The standout of that group has been Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, the Serbian veteran who leads the team in non-penalty goal contributions with 4 goals and a league-leading 8 assists. Lately he’s been joined by Spanish stalwart Luis Alberto, who has chipped in 4 goals as well to go along with 3 assists in relatively limited playing time. Rounding out the starting squad will most likely be Danilo Cataldi, who sits back deeper than the two aforementioned midfielders, anchoring the group and playing a bit more defense. Matías Vecino has also served in this role, and is most likely to start on the bench but pick up some significant minutes as a substitute. If the game is to be won by Lazio, it’s likely going to be through a steady midfield performance that contrasts with the total discord that characterizes Juventus right now.
Lazio Attack vs. Juve Defense
As per the usual, we can’t talk about the Lazio attack without talking about Ciro Immobile. The perennial golden boot contender is not having nearly his best attacking season thus far, but 7 goals and 3 assists despite missing a bit of time with injuries is nothing to be ashamed of. Speaking of injuries, they limited him to a short sub appearance in Lazio’s most recent match, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of role he’s able to play in this one. On either side of Immobile, the wingers have been Mattia Zacagni, who has chipped in a team-leading 8 league goals of his own as well as dishing out 4 assists, and Felipe Anderson, who has shifted from the right side to the middle as Immobile has been in recovery. If that is to be the case, it would likely be the highly experienced Pedro stepping in, which could be a bit of an issue; this season, he’s been easily the worst-performing forward of those I’ve mentioned so far. Lazio are putting in just below 2 goals per game in Serie A this year, but recent results, such as a 4-0 demolition of Milan, show that this group- especially if they can employ a healthy Immobile- are capable of more.
With the unique formation they run, Juventus have three true defenders, and two that fall somewhere between outside midfielder and fullback. Let’s start with the latter, and the man who has found himself in that role the most this season; Filip Kostic, who is putting in a strong debut season for Juve after coming over from Europa League champs Eintracht Frankfurt. Across from him, I’d expect club mainstay Juan Cuadrado, or if he continues to be unavailable with injury concerns, Mattia Di Sciglio, who has been filling in lately and will continue to do so with McKennie on the way out. As for the centre-backs, the legendary but surely aging Leonardo Bonucci is dealing with an injury situation as well, it’s unclear when he’ll be back in the fold. In the meantime, we can surely expect Brazilian defender Gleison Bremer in the group, as well as his more experienced countryman, Danilo. Alex Sandro would be a pretty good pick for the third spot, if team captain Bonucci is not in the lineup. It’s not the vaunted Juve defense of years past, but there’s still talent, and it’s going to have to show if they’re going to stop the skid, and to do so, stop Lazio.