It is that time of the week again when 'Orrible Punt sits in the Planet Rugby hot-seat to give his calls. Today, the Aviva Premiership gets assessed.
Remember you can contact Russ with all your comments and questions on Twitter - @rpetty80.
The East Midlands derby is usually a spicy affair and in recent seasons has showcased Chris Ashton's unsuccessful battles with the Tuilagi clan. The focus on Saturday may well be on the return of Calum Clark, after serving a 32 week ban for that armbar on Rob Hawkins.
There have been 9 cards shown in the last 6 clashes and it wouldn't be a shock if the referee is kept busy again. Northampton do tend to get a decent result when officiated by Greg Garner, winning the last 5, and the 6 cards he produced in those games were against their opposition. Smoke on the water and blood on the pitch maybe.
Leicester win 85% of their home games and 10 of the last 11 by 30-15. They have beaten the Saints in 15/20 matches (including the last 5 in a row) at Welford Road by 24-16 and the last 4 games overall by 26-16. The Tigers' wins so far this season have come against teams ranked 8th or lower and their inability to field a balanced backrow has surely hampered their efforts. The return of Salvi is therefore a big boost to them, as is the release of Ben Youngs from the England camp.
The Saints have lost 2 games on the bounce and have been known to go on losing runs during International breaks, as the defeats in rounds 10-15 in 2010 or during the World Cup show. They have won just twice in 20 games against last season's top 3 teams and have been guilty this season of wasting scoring opportunities - it's not often a team carries for over 450 metres at home and fails to score a try, even permitting for the Saracens defence.
I think those Tigers veterans Chuter and Deacon will use their experience to grind out the home win and Saints will miss Hartley's leadership. Leicester to win by 1-12 points at 2.75 is the call here and as they have led at half time in the last 4 meetings, the 1.53 with Sky Bet for Tigers halftime / fulltime may appeal.
Both the Chiefs and Warriors (bar a couple of last minute penalties) have set an early trend of being teams to back at home and oppose away. Exeter have won 3 of their last 9 league contests, with all 3 victories occurring at Sandy Park. Overall they have won 16/25 home games by an average score of 20-14.
There are a few reasons why favouring the Chiefs makes sense for this game - Worcester have only won once in 25 away matches and have lost 8 in a row. They lost 6 line-outs last week against Sale and racked up a 140 plus tackle count.
Exeter make an average of 44 more passes and 18 carries per game and are more accurate than that Sharks team that saw a lot of possession against Worcester last Friday. They have also beaten the Warriors twice, by 5 and 6 point margins and outscored them in each half by 3 points. Worcester have trailed at halftime in the last 7 away games by an average of 11 points so would normally be supportive of taking the Chiefs on the half time handicap of -3, however am slightly cautious over the fact they haven't really outscored a team first half since the first round.
Instead am looking at total points as 5/6 Worcester away games have gone over 53 points and the Chiefs showed against Quins that they are more than happy to take on an attacking team at home. If it goes to form then points may arrive late, as 9/20 Chiefs tries and 11/14 from Worcester have been scored in the final 20 minutes. The second half to be highest scoring is 1.83 and I fancy the home team to win by more than the -7 handicap.
Both teams have seen seasons of dominance in this fixture with Quins winning 10/11 games from 1993/4 to 1998/9 and then Gloucester winning 13/15 matches up until 2007/8.
It has settled since then with the 9 subsequent games being won by the home side on the day. The Cherry and Whites have won 9 of their previous 40 away games but are unbeaten in their last 3 and are currently on their best league run since 2006/7. They have however lost on their last 5 visits to the Stoop by 17-35 and in 14/21 games by 18-28. There have been some heavy losses there, by more than 35 points in the last 2 games and their average losing margin there is 20 points.
Quins avoided 3 straight losses with the help of the TMO against London Irish on Sunday and haven't been beaten in consecutive home games since the end of the 2010/11 season. They are averaging 21 more rucks, 33 more passes and 7 more offloads per game than their opponents.
Despite missing England skipper Robshaw they can still call upon many of their leaders in Robson, Evans, Brown and Easter. Robshaw's replacement Luke Wallace also scored twice in this fixture last season.
Quins games have been averaging 53 points this season and 6/7 meetings at the Stoop and 12/14 at both venues have seen more than 47 points so I am expecting a high scoring game. That's helped when you consider it's the league's top and second highest point scorers clashing too. I do see this being much closer than previous contests but Gloucester had such an intense match against Leicester, that backing it up with an away win at the Stoop could be asking too much, so will back Quins by 1-10 at 2.88.
Wayne Barnes has proved a friend to the punters with his willingness to dish the cards and has given out 9 in 4 games this season. With 5 shown in the last 4 Gloucester games he has officiated and 9 in 7 Quins games , I do like the look of 2 or more cards to be shown.
Those away-day specialists Saracens play their first game at Vicarage Road this season and go into the match on a 5-match winning streak in all competitions.
They are only averaging 12 points conceded a game with surprisingly, London Welsh being the only team to score more than 20 points against them.
Sarries have won just 3 of their last 6 games at Watford and it's fair to say they won't be too upset to leave it for their new stadium. Tries have been at a premium in their games with just 12 seen in 560 minutes. That's quite the contrast with Wasps matches that have produced 32 tries. Much like last season, it's their wingers doing the damage with Wade on 5 and Varndell on 6. The latter has also scored 6 in 13 games against Saracens.
It's worth noting though, that 14/17 of Wasps tries have been scored at home this season. These teams have very similar stats, with the visitors actually just edging accuracy in the set-piece and beating more defenders (Billy Vunipola with 19 standing out). Wasps have lost 19/21 away games since this fixture 2 years ago, by an average of 15-26.
The hosts have won 5/7 clashes between the teams by 17-12 and all of those games saw less than 42 points. With Saracens averaging 23-13 in home games over the past 2 seasons and displaying a ruthless defence, it might be another low scoring home win is on the cards. Wasps have been outscored at the break in 9/10 away games so Saracens HT/FT at 1.44 looks good, despite a short price.
Trying to work out how to price up London Welsh is proving a difficult job for the betting firms this season. They were comfortably beaten in the opening rounds but since round 3 have troubled the majority of their opponents.
They are averaging 24 points a game since then and have only been outscored after half time once. As has been the case with the visitors for a while, putting together a collection of wins has proved tricky but there are signs that the new coaching team have put down decent foundations.
The Bath scrum has become a strength and the back 3 offer real attacking threat. The experiment of bringing in Eastmond at first receiver may also prove to be a smart ploy in the future.
Bath may have won away in France recently, but have just 3 wins from 13 Premiership trips. Those games have also tended to be very low scoring with an average of just 33 points. It's difficult to say whether that trend will continue this season but they have scored only 2 of 10 tries away.
It's a clash of the league's top tacklers with Bath making 787 and the Exiles 727 so far. Bath made over 170 at the weekend so am interested to see how they back up that and whether the hosts can take advantage.
Bath have led at halftime in the last 3 games and are the only team not to concede a try in the opening 20 minutes. In comparison, London Welsh have conceded 8 in the opening quarter and have trailed at the break in 5/7 games. Will back Bath halftime/fulltime at an inviting 1.7 and to win by 1-12 points at 2.62.