Italy has long been heralded as a football nation of tactical and defensive genius with some of the most prominent masters of the game hailing from its shores. Although the global perception of Italian football focuses on their defensive strength thanks to legends such as Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Gaetano Scirea, it has also brought with it a wealth of flair and attacking prowess.
Alessandro Del Piero, Francesco Totti and Roberto Baggio are up there with some of the all-time international greats and are household names around the world even among the non-footballing community.
Take a look below to learn more about the glittering history of Italian football as well as a guide on how you can bet on these highly popular markets.
Understanding Italian Football
The main professional leagues in Italy are comprised of Serie A, Serie B and the Lega Pro Divisione Univa, the latter of which is split into regional divisions known as C1, C2 and C3.
The teams within these divisions also compete for the Coppa Italia, which is a knockout competition that works in a similar fashion to the English FA Cup. Each year, the Serie A winners play the Coppa Italia winners for the Supercoppa Italiana as a prequel to the start of the new league campaign.
The professional women’s football leagues in Italy are among the oldest organised women’s football competitions in the world, having been founded in 1968. They compete in Serie A and Serie B and are governed by the Italian Football Federation in the same vein as the men’s game.
Italian Football Clubs
Juventus have long been recognised as the most dominant team in Italian football and are still today considered one of Europe’s leading clubs. Their tally of 61 national and international titles tells you everything you need know about the volume of their successes with 32 leagues, 11 Coppa Italias and two European Cups among their achievements. Despite their authority within the sport, their ties to betting are for different reasons following one of the most high profile scandals in the history of the sport. They were relegated from the top division of Italian football for the first time in their history following allegations of match fixing in 2005, however returned back to the summit at the first attempt.
AC Milan are Italy’s most successful club on the continent, with their seven European Cups second only to Spain’s Real Madrid. City rivals Inter won five Scudetti in a row in the mid-2000s and secure the UEFA Champions League title under Jose Mourinho in 2010. Napoli, Roma, Lazio and Fiorentina have all competed at the top end of Serie A in recent years, while going further back in time Genoa and Torino are two of Italy’s most storied clubs.
Popular Italian Football Betting Markets
Italian punters can back their beloved football teams in an identical way to that of UK bettors thanks to betting laws which fall in line with their British counterparts. Betfair and Bet365 are both widely used across Italy, however 10Bet are the dominant bookmaker in the market with a 10.3% share of Italian betting revenue.
The most common types of bet staked are accumulators focusing on the win, lose or draw aspect of each fixture. Due to the defensive nature of the Italian game, the most successful correct score bets tend to lean towards lower scoring games, however that shouldn’t be taken as an invitation to exclusively bet on these markets.
First and last goalscorer betting is also available through almost every active Italian bookmaker along with scorecasts, the correct number of corners and even Asian handicap betting.
Moving away from the micro-betting markets available before and during live games, outright competition betting is another highly popular sector. Although Juventus tend to go into almost every Serie A season as clear favourites – certainly in recent times off the back of five consecutive league titles – bettors can place wagers on who they believe will be the league winners as well as the teams to be relegated, top goalscorers, Champions League qualifiers and winners of the domestic cup competitions.
Some specialist bookmakers, most notably Betfair, will also allow wagers to be placed on women’s football, both on in-game betting markets and outright. Betfair operates both an exchange and a fixed price betting system which allows punters to bet against ‘layers’ and the ‘house’. A wider selection of markets are key to the success of these exchanges and, when looking to bet on lower league Italian football, can be an excellent access point in this field.