Claudio Ranieri has taken over for Roma (Matt Dunham)
Claudio Ranieri has taken over for Roma (Matt Dunham)|Associated Press

Soccer Monday: Ranieri Running Roma

Faces Empoli indebut

Sean Miller

Sean Miller

There is a light slate of matches Monday, before the chaos of the two UEFA leagues returns again Tuesday through Thursday.

One of the games will be a team, Roma, that was stunned in extra time Wednesday of its UEFA Champions League round of 16 match at Porto. The Portuguese side was awarded a penalty by the video assistant referee (VAR), and Alex Telles converted from the spot to send the Italian side crashing out of the tournament, after Roma made a run to the semifinals last season.

In Portugal, Benfica will look to go back to the top of the table, after Porto won Sunday.

Finally, we go to Scotland for the first time this season, for a battle between a UEFA Europa League hopeful and a last place team that has been playing much better at the right time of the season.

(Home team always listed first)

Roma (-175) vs. Empoli (+450), draw (+333), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

Benfica (-650) vs. Belenenses (+1600), draw (+600), 4:15 p.m. (Gol TV and

St. Mirren (+310) vs. Kilmarnock (-105), draw (+215), 3:45 p.m.

After the fall of the Roma empire Wednesday, the club sacked its coach and brought in Claudio Ranieri, who was fired from Fulham recently. The architect of the once in a generation title win with Leicester City in 2015-16, Ranieri will hope to quickly re-ignite Roma’s Champions League qualification with a win over 17th place Empoli.

Empoli has been the worst team in Serie A on its travels, with no wins from 12 (four draws). Roma has lost just once at the Stadio Olimpico, and a win Monday will see it cut the deficit to fourth place Inter to just three points with 11 matches to play.

Benfica comes into the match Monday off a 1-0 loss to Zagreb in the UEFA Europa League, but has been red -ot in its domestic league. At home over its last six, Benfica is 6-0, with 28 goals scored and a +24 goal differential. Belenenses has been decent in its travels (3-2-3 in its last eight), but should be no match for a stronger side here.

The Scottish matchup is one for the number people. Kilmarnock has won six of its last seven against St. Mirren, with the lone loss coming back in April of 2015. But Kilmarnock comes in cold; it has not won a league match in six. Kilmarnock has also managed to win just one of its last 14 matches (with eight draws) on the road against promoted sides. Guess which team was the one it beat? If you said St. Mirren, you are correct, 2-1 in October.

St. Mirren has not won consecutive matches in the top flight since 2015. It beat Livingston 1-0 last time out, and will look to move off the foot of the table with a win. But of all the stats, here is the best one; St. Mirren has not won a Monday match in the league since 2007 (three draws, six losses).

Pick: Roma ML (-175)
Pick: Benfica -1 First Half (+215)
Pick: Benfica -1 (-190)
Pick: Kilmarnock ML (-105)

Parlay: Benfica -1 (-190) and Roma ML (-175), pays +136

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