Heineken Cup predictions

Date published: October 11 2013

It's time for us to put our heads on the block and give you Planet Rugby's calls for where the smart money lies in Europe this season.

European rugby is back with a bang this weekend which means it's time for us to put our heads on the block and give you Planet Rugby's calls for where the smart money lies.

Will the trophy stay in France? For good? Toulon, Clermont and Toulouse all have the firepower and pedigree to go all the way and even Montpellier are legitimate candidates for overall Heineken Cup victory. The Irish will point to the record books with regards where the winners have come from in recent years. Who could ignore Leicester or Saracens?

Of course there are plenty of other options on where to place your bets. Here are our thoughts for the season ahead.

Title winner: Toulon are 7/2 favourites which is mighty short for a tournament such as this. While it would take something out of the blue for this squad of internationals not to make the quarter-finals, there is little value there in our eyes. Clermont at 5/1 is an option due to their decent form of late, squad quality throughout, and of course that excellent 64-game unbeaten record on home soil. Our, outside bets for the Heineken Cup are Northampton, who are at 20/1 with Paddy Power, Racing Metro (25/1) and Montpellier (33/1), with the latter duo at full strength expected to be a match for any of the big names. Montpellier have already demolished Clermont 43-3 this season and with one of Rene Ranger and Robert Ebersohn set to be registered in the near future, they are one to watch.

Top try-scorer: A few names spring to mind here but it's always worth checking the Pools before placing this bet. Saracens are likely to make it out of their group and could well have a home quarter-final so Chris Ashton (12/1) and David Strettle (16/1) are tempting. Wesley Fofana is integral to Clermont and at 28/1 he is a very good shout. Tommy Bowe is also a great price at 33/1 while our long each-way shots are Danny Care (80/1) and Nick Williams (150/1).

Top points-scorer: The bookies go for Jonny Wilkinson as their favourite for this one, with Morgan Parra and Owen Farrell just behind. While they're all expected to be battling for this prize, we quite like the look of Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler as an outside bet. Should they come through their Pool, Saints have the team to make it to at least the semis and Myler's kicking will be vital to their hopes. At 16/1, that's a price not to be sniffed at.

This weekend's Superbru predictions:

Toulouse vs Zebre: Toulouse by 20
Connacht vs Saracens: Sarries by 12
Ulster vs Leicester: Ulster by 3

Castres vs Northampton: Saints by 4
Ospreys vs Leinster: Leinster by 2
Harlequins vs Scarlets: Quins by 7
Treviso vs Montpellier: Montol by 6
Edinburgh vs Munster: Munster by 10
Gloucester vs Perpignan: Gloucester by 7

Exeter vs Cardiff Blues: Chiefs by 5
Toulon v Glasgow: Toulon by 12
Racing v Clermont: Clermont by 7

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