This weekend, Corner Picks hopes to continue its winning streak.
It’s simple to write off sports as little more than a diversion from our everyday existence. They are identical to the most recent superhero film or a TikTok trending video. I experience the same thing occasionally.
I have never been able to connect with millions of individuals who are thousands of miles distant from me or who have been dead for 75 years, though, thanks to a movie or viral video. athletics can. I consciously chose to support a Serie A team when I started watching club soccer after the 2010 World Cup in order to “get in touch” with my Italian heritage. I also picked an English team because the English Premier League at the time was much more accessible (albeit still basic in comparison to the possibilities we have now in the United States).
But I went with Napoli because I wanted to respect my Italian background. North of Naples, in the Fornelli Mountains, my great-grandfather was raised. Although he was adopted by the Turco family, when he arrived in the United States in the early 1900s, he had the same problems as so many other immigrants. He was given the name Fornelli either by mistake in the paperwork or by widespread indifference. I arrived after roughly 75 years, several children, and grandchildren. I picked Napoli to remember my great-grandfather and my family more than a century after he arrived in America.
This week made me cry because it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ll never understand what it’s like to be a native of Naples who has lived their entire life surrounded by Napoli—both the city and the soccer team, which may occasionally be difficult to distinguish from one another. When Napoli won their first scudetto since 1990 on Thursday, I couldn’t help but think about my great-grandfather. I hoped I could have been present as I watched the videos of the celebration from Naples.
I’m not sure whether I would still care about soccer without Napoli, at least not at the club level. Aston Villa was the English team I selected, and while they were initially simpler to follow from the US, they were expelled from the Premier League for a number of seasons. If I was fortunate, I might see one match per month. However, there was one significant difference between it and how I could view Napoli at the time. Those of you who began following Serie A in the Paramount+ era have no idea how fortunate you are.
It was enjoyable to watch Napoli play. Napoli put on a show while Aston Villa battled for survival and played dull games. They won by playing in a captivating manner. They at least achieved enough success to contend for league, cup, and Champions League berths. Players like Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamsik, and Marek Hamsik all came and departed. Each was exceptional in their own right, and no Italian club was better at replacing its stars when it came time to move on and keeping the train running when it was time to do so.
Because of this, I was unhappy to see players like Insigne, Mertens, and Koulibaly leave Napoli last summer. However, I knew better than the rest of the world, who thought Napoli would suffer as a result. I was confident in the replacements’ abilities. I was aware that southern Italian teams were frequently written off in Italian soccer.
Napoli would compete, but I had no idea they’d take home the scudetto. I was aware that any team led by Luciano Spalletti would have a tactical edge over its opponent almost every week and that any squad with Victor Osimhen would be a powerhouse in Serie A.
The most consistently entertaining team I’ve ever backed in any sport has been Napoli. It’s the one team I could always rely on to put a smile on my face and make me happy. Even the difficult times—and there have been many—never hurt for very long because I knew this group would swiftly make up for it.
The basil leaves on top of a Neapolitan pizza, which is already wonderful, constitute the Scudetto.
Caesars Sportsbook is the source for all odds.
Napoli vs. Fiorentina
Date: Sunday, May 7 | Time: 12 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+
Okay, I’ll stop waxing lyrical about Naples now. Being the cunning gamblers we are, we must now attempt to capitalize on their triumph by fading them this weekend against Fiorentina. Listen, this play doesn’t entail any arithmetic. It is only logical common sense. On Thursday night in Udine, Napoli won the scudetto, and the celebrations started. Champagne was being consumed by the players in the locker area. The city of Naples was jubilantly celebrating their victory as they arrived home.
What amount of rest and sleep do you anticipate Napoli will have before their match against Fiorentina on Sunday? What kind of lineup do you anticipate Napoli fielding as well? Even though some regulars might be compelled to play against Fiorentina, I’m counting on a lot of the reserves seeing action. Place your Violi wager as soon as possible before the market recognizes what is happening. Fiorentina (+320) is the selection.
Roma vs. Inter Milan
Date: Saturday, May 6, 12 p.m. ET, Paramount+, to be viewed
Roma would have been my first choice to be my home dog for the second week in a row, but I decided against it after some consideration. Not for the reasons why things didn’t work out last week, but rather for those reasons. Roma appear worn out. They have a variety of injuries, and Jose Mourinho is unhappy with the depth of his team. This team’s performances are suffering as a result of the strain of vying for a top-four finish in Serie A while also playing in the Europa League.
Inter Milan here. Inter are still competing for a top-four finish, just like Roma. They are not passing away suddenly like Roma are. Inter enters the game playing some of their season’s best soccer. It has won four straight games, including victories against Lazio and Juventus in the Coppa Italia. Although Inter has performed better at home than on the road this year, they haven’t given up an xG greater than 1 in any of their last six games. Because of their strong defensive play, I have no doubts that they will win all three points this weekend at the Stadio Olimpico. Choose Inter (+135)
Newcastle United vs. Arsenal
Time: 11:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 7 | Country: USA
I was astonished by how quickly everything went apart, even though I had long anticipated that Arsenal would lose their grip on the top spot in the Premier League. See, I didn’t think Arsenal were underwhelming or poor. I merely thought that Manchester City was too powerful and would grit out a second Premier League championship. Arsenal’s inability to defend merely accelerated the process.
Yes, there is no doubt that Arsenal’s defensive shortcomings are the root of the issue. Chelsea were a zombie team who shouldn’t be taken seriously, but Arsenal held them to only 0.8 xG in their 3-1 victory (Arsenal’s first victory in five games). As much as Chelsea are incapable, in my opinion, Arsenal didn’t actually address anything. In their last three games, Newcastle has scored 13 goals, and they have recently been on a roll. Yes, the opposition is a factor, but this team is self-assured and playing at home with a goal to succeed. I’m not sure if that will be enough to secure the victory. However, it appears that goals will be scored in this clash. The Selection: Over 2.5 (-150)
This weekend’s parlay includes Scottish football and pays (+170)
- Manchester City (-700)
- Liverpool (-225)
- Bayern Munich (-355)
- Rangers (-360)