It is that time of the week when we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby’s predictions.
Same again then in terms of opponents this weekend as Round 4 of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup see the reverse legs of back-to-back fixtures, which always adds that extra bit of spice to the contests.
But just in case you want something more on the rugby, Paddy Power has the markets to select the best bets and make you some cash before Christmas. Let us look at what the stand-out options are this week.
Friday’s offering from the Champions Cup sees Saints looking to hit back from last week’s loss in Paris. Unfortunately for them we can’t see it happening as Racing 92 have shown they are a strong side on the road in Europe – they are undefeated in their last four away from home in the competition – and with Northampton not really firing on all cylinders, the Evens for Racing to win the game is worth taking.
A small play on the first try scorer being Chris Masoe (18/1) looks a decent option, as does getting on Ben Tameifuna at a massive 75/1.
Despite having lost all three of their pool games to date, Leinster have decided to name a full-strength team as they look to get back to winning ways against Toulon this weekend. The bookmakers have subsequently limited their handicap to plus 5 points which is about right.
While Toulon enter favourites, this won’t be an easy task and therefore the 1-10 point win (9/5) looks a good bet for the reigning champs. Or if you think the French will be too strong for Leinster, we would advise the 10/11 offered on Toulon HT/FT or 7/4 to win both halves.
Home pride is on the line for Bordeaux-Bègles as despite losing their opening two games, they want to bring festive cheer to their fans. Adam Ashley-Cooper and Sofiane Guitoune both start but we think the Ospreys will rise to the challenge as they look to take a huge step towards the knockout stages, which is why the plus 5 point handicap is worth taking. We’re even tempted by 1-5 point Ospreys win (11/2).
Backing the Chiefs (plus 13) on the handicap is a good bet here as Clermont have a seemingly weaker fortress at Marcel Michelin of late. Exeter were outstanding last week and if they can pull off a shock win by 1-5 points you would get odds of 9/1. It’s surely worth a play.
As always Exeter number eight Thomas Waldrom will be a decent option to get on for an anytime try and we will also be on Clermont winger David Strettle in what promises to be an open game. If the points line is anywhere around 45, we’ll be backing more than that on Sunday.
Last but by no means least on Sunday the focus shifts to Welford Road where the Tigers look to continue their excellent form by making it four wins out of four. Against an out of sorts Munster outfit it is no surprise Leicester are 1/4 favourites and minus 8 on the handicap.
We can’t see Munster turning things around at this point and that is why we would advise Leicester HT/FT at 8/13 or by more than 13 (6/4).
Other Champions Cup predictions:
Saracens v Oyonnax: Saracens by 45
Bath v Wasps: Bath by 2
Stade Français v Treviso: Stade Français by 25
Scarlets v Glasgow: Glasgow by 3
Toulouse v Ulster: Ulster by 3