History of the Serie A
From the late 19th century, there were regional football leagues across Italy that played the sport at an amateur level. The growing number of clubs and popularity of the sport led the Italian Football Federation to launch the Serie A in 1929.
The league had the same structure as it has now, with clubs playing in a robin round against all other clubs in the league. The inaugural league comprised 18 clubs: Alessandria, Ambrosiana (that became Inter Milan), Bologna, Brescia, Cremonese, Genova 1893, Juventus, Lazio, Livorno, Milan, Modena, Napoli, Padova, Pro Patria, Pro Vercelli, Roma, Torino and Triestina.
Ambrosiana (Inter Milan) won the first league to become the first champions in the Serie A era. Prior to the formation of the Serie A, Genoa was the leading club in the amateur league, with 9 titles to their name, followed by Pro Vercelli that had won 7 titles.
Up until the Second World War, Juventus, Inter and Bologna all won multiple league titles. Juventus made a run of 5 consecutive league titles from 1931-1935. Inter Milan won the league twice, and Bologna won the league three times. Just before the league was suspended, Torino won the Serie A and also the Coppa Italia, becoming the first team to make the double.
When the league was relaunched after the war, Torino defended their title and made an impressive run of 4 consecutive titles, from 1946 to 1949. Juventus and Inter Milan returned to the league in full force in the 50s, with Juventus winning 4 Scudettos and Inter winning 2. AC Milan also won 4 titles in the decade, and Fiorentina won their first title in 1956.
In 1964, Inter won the league and also the European Cup, becoming the first club in the Serie A to do so. The top three won 7 titles during the 60s, with Juventus pushing their tally up to 13 league wins. Internazionale increased their number of Scudettos to 12 during the 70s, but Juventus also won numerous leagues, to keep ahead with 18 titles. In the 70s through to the 90s, a number of teams became first time Italian champions, such as Lazio in 1974, Hellas Verona in 1985, Napoli in 1987, and Sampdoria in 1991. Juventus, AC Milan and Inter remained the top clubs in the league, winning 22 league titles between the 70s through to the end of the 90s. AC Milan won the Champions League as well as the Serie A in 1994, becoming the second ever team to win both titles in a single season, after their local rivals Inter Milan.
Roma won the first league in the new millennium, and in the following years Juventus and Milan won. In 2005, Juventus won the league but were stripped of their title after it was discovered they had fixed matches and bribed referees. The club faced a huge penalty and was relegated to the second division of Italian football. It took the Turin based outfit 3 years to return to the first division, and even then, they had fallen quite far behind the other teams. Inter Milan made the most of the disappearance of one of their major rivals, by winning 5 Serie A titles in a row from 2006-2010 to push their tally to 18, 1 ahead of their Milanese rivals. In 2010, they also won the Champions League and the Coppa d'Italia, to become the first and to date only Italian team to have won the treble.
In 2011, their run was ended by AC Milan, who had equalled Inter by winning their 18th title. By 2012, Juventus had finally closed the gap on their two major rivals, and went on to win the Serie A 9 times in a row, setting a new record in the league. In 2020, Juventus won their 36th league title, to have as many league titles as both Milanese clubs put together. In 2021, Inter Milan won the league and increased their tally to 19. A year later, their local rivals AC Milan won their 19th title to go equal with Inter once more.
In the current structure of the Serie A, 20 teams play in a double legged robin round against all other teams in the league. The season begins in August and ends in May, and the teams that finish in the top four qualify for the following season's Champions League. The teams that place in 5th and 6th qualify for the Europa League, and the team that finishes in 7th qualifies for the Europa Conference League. The three teams at the bottom of the table are relegated to the Serie B, the second flight of Italian league football, and are replaced with the top three teams from that league.
Before the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry began, Italy was the league with the most Ballon d'Or winners. These included Zinedine Zidane, George Weah, Marco van Basten, and Ruud Gullit.
For the whole duration of the 90s, the Serie A was the top league in the UEFA rankings and only dropped to second behind the Spanish La Liga in the early 2000s. After the 2006 scandal, the league dropped to third and then fourth.
Both Milanese clubs, AC Milan and Inter Milan, share a stadium. The San Siro is one of the most famous stadiums in the world, but neither club owns it. The stadium belongs to the city of Milan, which leases it out to both clubs. When they play in a derby, half of the stadium is filled with AC Milan fans and the other half is filled with Inter Milan fans.
Genoa CFC is the oldest Italian football team, but not many know that it was originally a cricket club. The abbreviation CFC stands for Cricket and Football Club. The cricket club was formed by a group of Englishman in Genoa, and when football was starting to become popular in the late 1880s and early 1890s, they decided to expand their club to include a football section in 1896.
For each game in the Serie A, there will be match result bets where punters can try to predict the outcome. In a Milanese derby match, there will be bets on AC Milan to win, Inter Milan to win, or for the game to end in a draw.
Handicap betting applies a handicap to the backed team’s score. If it is a negative handicap then goals are subtracted while if it is a positive handicap, goals are added. Once the handicap has been applied to the final score, if the backed team is the winner, then the bet wins.
This is a bet on how many goals will be scored in a game. It does not matter which team scores the goals or when they are scored, as long as the number of goals falls within the range defined by the bet. To place a total goals bet, a betting line must be picked and then a bet can be placed for the number of goals to be over the line or under the line.
Game props include bets such as correct score, winning margin, first half/second half result, and various similar bets. There are also bets that relate to more detailed aspects of a game, such as which team will score the first goal, total corners, total fouls, a certain player to score, and so on.
The bets mentioned above can also be placed once a game has started, through the live betting markets. These will be offered with live odds, and there will also be special live bets such as which player will score the next goal, which team will score next, which team will concede the next corner, and more.