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The Italian Serie B football league is one of the most hard-fought of all second tier competitions in the world, with the rewards of earning promotion massive and the consequences of relegation dreadful to comprehend.
Serie A is regarded as the third biggest soccer league in the world and offers clubs glory, riches and a chance to rub shoulders with the giants of the modern game.
To get to the fabled Serie A, the second tier teams contest a 22 club league format, with almost all matches played on a Saturday afternoon. The Italian Federation has decided to include a Friday night fixture, known as the advanced game, and a Monday night match, known as the post-dated game.
The promotion and relegation in the Serie B is of the more complicated in the global game, with a unique take on the dramatic events.
The top two teams are automatically promoted to the Serie A, while the third-placed club will need to be 10 points clear of the 4th placed side on the log to be automatically bumped up to the top-tier. If they are not 10 points or more clear a play-off is required with teams finishing 3rd to 6th competing for a spot in Serie A.
The bottom three teams are automatically demoted to the Serie C, while the 19th placed team will have to be less than five points behind the 18th placed side to earn another crack at their status. If they are not within five points they are automatically relegated, meaning four teams go down each season. If they are within five points then a playout between the 18th and 19th place teams must be played.
These are important considerations to take in by a bet-maker as a close eye on the log is needed throughout the season, especially towards the latter stage of each season.
The three sides to be relegated from the Serie A in the 18/19 campaign, Verona, Crotone and Benevento will all be favourite to earn promotion with any of this trio capable of winning the title.
Another title contender is Palermo, who finished 4th in the Serie B in the last campaign.
The four new sides will be Livorno, Padova, Lecce and Cosenza and all will battle to regain their Serie B status come the end of the 18/19 season.
The complicated nature of the Serie B makes for exciting bet-action across the board, with pre-season wagers and round by round fixtures offering a thrill-a-minute ride.
There are many teams who have spent a large part of their histories competing in the Serie B with Brescia leading the way with 61 campaigns in the second tier.
Verona is next highest with 53 seasons slogging away in the second division, while Modena and Bari have also spent about 50 years in the lower echelons.
Juventus, the reigning Serie A champions, and table toppers for the past seven seasons, spent an inglorious time in this division after a cheating scandal, but were promoted back to the big league in the 2005/06 season and have never looked back. That same season Napoli also campaigned in the second tier and finished second to Juventus. That season the Serie B log looked like a Serie A league standings.
Fiorentina have also spent some time in this tier, earning promotion in the 1994/5 season, while Rome giants Lazio spent a few season there in 1969 and 77 and 1987/88, eventually winning the division and finishing runners up twice respectively. The Serie B has seen some giants of Italian football having to claw their way back to the top flight and this ensures gripping action, for supporters and bettors alike.
The 22018/19 campaign promises much of the same thrilling action from the onset and bet-makers can tune into the action from the first round to the 42 second contest of the campaign.