Given its arrival at a crucial juncture of the season and the two teams’ proximity in the table, the Milan derby on Sunday 17th March promises to be even more significant than usual. Inter sit just one point and one place behind their city rivals that sit third in the Serie A standings, with the outcome of this match potentially pivotal in deciding the fortunes of both clubs.
The winner will remain hopeful of overhauling Napoli in second and confident of securing a top-four spot, while the loser will be looking anxiously over their shoulder at a Roma side no longer distracted by the Champions League knockout rounds. Draw, and the two Milan sides will have a tense run-in where both teams try to achieve city supremacy as well as Champions League qualification.
Given the hard-fought nature of the Derby della Madonnina in recent seasons, there is little to separate the two sides in the outright match market. The ‘home advantage’ gives Milan the edge, with many bookmakers pricing I Rossoneri at around 7/5, but it is probably prudent to look for alternative markets.
The last three home derbies have resulted in a level scoreline after 90 minutes, with the 2017 Coppa Italia quarter-final clash won in extra-time by Patrick Cutrone. As might be expected, recent derbies have come down to fine margins. Of the last 14, only Milan’s 3-0 win in 2016 yielded a score in which the teams were separated by more than one goal. That also makes the handicap market firmly worth avoiding.
One market that often appeals in derby games is the card market, with Inter’s 1-0 win over Milan in October a bitterly-fought contest that produced seven yellow cards. Milan provoked five of those but have only received seven yellows across their last five league matches.
Inter have received fifteen in the same period, an average of three per game. It is conceivable that both sides could pick up three cards apiece, with the sell-out crowd likely to raise passion levels, so choosing a line of 60+ booking points or Over 5.5 cards appeals. It is worth comparing a range of bookmakers to find the best price for every selection, as different sites will offer different lines for their cards market.
Remarkably, four of the last five league derbies have featured crucial goals scored at the 90-minute mark and beyond, with the odd match out being a 0-0 draw. Many of those games sprung to life in the second half, so backing there to be most goals in the second half would appeal at anything approaching evens.
The man heading the first goalscorer market will almost certainly be Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek, with the league’s top scorer set to make his first derby appearance. Mauro Icardi has been the decisive Inter player in recent derbies but, with the striker still unavailable for selection, new heroes will have to emerge. Matteo Politano is a tempting option for first goalscorer at a larger price than Piatek, with the winger having bagged in two out of four league games since returning from suspension.
With experienced operator Luciano Spalletti pitting his wits against Milan’s fiery Gennaro Gattuso, this derby promises to be intriguing on many levels. While there might be more cards than goals, there will surely be no shortage of drama.