It’s been all Juventus once again in Serie A play. The Italian giants look set to win their eighth straight league title, and they are on pace to post their best record ever. They became the only team in Italian football history to top 100 points in a season five years ago when they finished with a
record of 33-3-2, and they are on pace to finish even stronger this year with a record of 16-2-0 one game before the halfway point of the Serie A season. Their only real battle is with immortality, as they are out to finish with a second undefeated season this decade. Juventus are heavy favorites coming into their match with fifth place Sampdoria on Saturday.
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Juventus vs. Sampdoria
- Date and Time: December 29, 2018, 6:30 a.m. ET
- Location: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
- US Television Coverage: ESPN2
- Betting Line: Juventus -1.5 and -2, O/U 3
Sampdoria have performed well throughout the course of the year, and they are looking to finish in the top five for just the third time in the last 25 years. They have been on fire to rocket up the Serie A standings in recent weeks, and they are unbeaten over their last six matches. Sampdoria are 4-2-0 in their last six games, and the blucerchiati have now won three straight by multiple goals. This is a club that has proven it can beat the best in Italy, thumping second-place Napoli 3-0 earlier this campaign and drawing on the road against Lazio.
Juventus are using the same formula they have for much of the last decade. Rely on defense, and do just enough on offense to win matches. Despite adding a number of talented offensive options over the summer, we have seen Juventus continue to lean on defense and goalkeeping. They posted six straight clean sheets in Serie A prior to Wednesday, when Juventus gave up a couple goals in a 2-2 draw to Atalanta. That was their first draw since tying with Genoa back on October 20.
Bartosz Bereszynski is set to return soon for Sampdoria. Bereszynski went down with an injury at the tail end of a match for the club a few weeks ago, and he has been trying to recover from a leg issue since that time. He is training with Sampdoria once more, and they are hopeful he can return for this important match. At least two players will be out on the side of Juventus for this match. Andrea Barzagli and Joao Cancelo are both set to miss another month due to injury. Moise Kean, Federico Bernardeschi, and Blaise Matuidi are seen as questionable due to injuries as well, and they are listed as day-to-day. Rodrigo Bentancur will be suspended for this match because he was sent off after picking up two yellow cards against Atalanta.
Juventus Player to Watch
Cristiano Ronaldo has not slowed down much. Despite being at an age where most forwards have lost a step, Ronaldo continues to be one of the best in the game. He is currently second in the Serie A in goals with 11, and he has been getting his teammates involved as well. Ronaldo gives Juventus a goal scoring dynamo they have lacked in the past.
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Sampdoria Player to Watch
Fabio Quagliarella has had a great season too. Quagliarella is a few days older than Ronaldo, and he too is showing that 33 is the new 28 when it comes to forwards. He has 10 goals and five assists in 16 matches, leading Sampdoria in both categories.
Juventus vs. Sampdoria Free Picks
I like Sampdoria on the goal line here. Juventus are great, but they are getting too much respect given their style of play. They have failed to win by multiple goals in five straight matches in all competitions, and I think Sampdoria will keep this game close in a losing effort.
Juventus vs. Sampdoria Prediction: Juventus 2, Sampdoria 1
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