As Italy's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak hit 233 on Sunday, with the total number of cases in the country nearing 6,000 -- according to a USA Today report -- the Italian government has now locked down most of the country's northern region, placing about 16 million people under quarantine. But the biggest Serie A match of the season, the Derby D'Italia pitting Juventus against Inter Milan, will go ahead Sunday night.
The city of Turin, home to Juventus who will host the massive match, has not been locked down. But the match will take place in a locked Allianz Stadium with no fans allowed inside. The game was initially scheduled to be played last weekend but was postponed as the severity of the coronavirus crisis in northern Italy became evident.
As the current Serie A table stands, Rome-based club Lazio sits on top with 62 points, having played 26 matches. Juventus sits two points behind but with a game in hand due to the earlier Derby D'Italia cancellation. Inter occupy third with 54 points, but with two games in hand due to coronavirus-related postponements. In fact, Inter Milan have not played a Serie A match since February 16 — and have played only their two UEFA Europa League Round of 32 matches against Bulgarian team Ludogorets in the interim.
Inter's home leg of the Europa League tie was also played behind closed doors.
Even as the coronavirus outbreak threatens to devastate Italy's economy, bettors can still put down a wager on the Juventus vs. Inter Milan match. According to The Sun newspaper, defending champions Juventus enter the closed-door match as favorites, with odds of 23/20. Inter are the underdogs with 12/5 odds. Odds on the match ending in a draw have been set at 11/5.
In one of the game's subplots, Juve's Cristiano Ronaldo has scored a goal in 11 straight matches, equaling a 25-year-old Serie A record set by Gabriel Batistuta. Bettors can also try their luck predicting whether Ronaldo will tally his record-breaker on Sunday, with odds of 19/20 that the five-time Ballon D'or winner will net a goal — and 9/2 that he will score more than once.
The two clubs were forced to wait until Thursday to find out whether they would play at all, however, as controversy raged over if and when the game would take place, according to a Guardian report. In fact, all of the Serie A fixtures called off last weekend were rescheduled for Sunday, all to be played in empty stadiums.
The television broadcast of the Juventus vs. Inter Milan Derby D'Italia is also set to proceed, but in the United States, only the ESPN+ streaming subscription network will carry the match. Kickoff is set for 8:45 p.m. Central European Standard Time in Turin, which converts to 3:45 p.m. EDT, 12:45 p.m. PDT in the U.S.