|By PAUL GOUGH
It's the biggest game of the season in Italy's Serie A on Friday night as Juventus can take a giant stride towards winning back-to-back titles by winning away at second-placed Napoli.
Juventus head into the match with a six-point lead at the top of the table - with Lazio a further five points away in third spot - and a win on the road against their nearest rivals will almost certainly clinch a record-extending 29th title for Italy's most successful club.
After becoming the first Italian club to go through a 38-game season unbeaten last year in clinching the 2011-12 title, Juve have not had things all their own way this season, suffering four defeats in the league - the latest coming just a fortnight ago at Roma.
The other clubs simply have not been able to take advantage of any slip-ups by Antonio Conte's team.
Napoli, which are aiming to become the first club since Roma in 2000-01 to break the stranglehold of Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan on the Serie A title, have lost form at the wrong end of the season and are now winless in their past five matches.
That included a humiliating exit in the Europa League to Czech club Viktoria Plzen 5-0 on aggregate.
And Napoli have won just one of their past six matches against Juventus and have already lost to The Old Lady twice this season - with the reigning Italian Cup winners losing 4-2 to Juve in the Italian Super Cup Final at the start of the season and then 2-0 in Turin during their first meeting in Serie A this season.
With all that in mind, Juve have been installed as favourites to win Friday night's huge clash at odds of $2.50 at sportsbet.com.au and $2.62 at Betfair, with Napoli priced at $2.80 and $3 respectively while the draw is paying $3.20 at sportsbet.com.au and $3.40 at Betfair.
|Juventus to win the title at $1.25 at Betfair
||Back a 1-1 draw between Juventus and Napoli at $7.40 at Betfair
As for overall title betting, Juventus are the dominant $1.25 favourites at Betfair to win the Serie A title but that price will surely shorten dramatically should they move to a nine-point lead - with 11 games remaining - by beating Napoli on Friday night.
Napoli, which finished fifth last season and opened at odds of around the $15 mark to win the title this season, are priced at $6.20 ‑ with Lazio at $48, fourth placed Ac Milan at $55 and fifth-placed Inter Milan at $60 given little chance of bridging the gap.
Even a draw would be a great result for Juventus on Friday night and would keep their six-point lead intact at the top of the table - with the league leaders looking a good bet on the draw/no bet market at odds of $1.72 at sportsbet.com.au, where punters get their money back if the game ends in a draw.
And a 1-1 draw is the favoured option in correct score betting at odds of $5.50 at sportsbet.com.au and even better value at $7.40 with Betfair.
*Note prices are subject to change