It is that time of the week again when 'Orrible Punt sits down in the Planet Rugby hot-seat to give you his calls. Today, get set for the Premiership.
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Recent West Country derbies have followed a pattern, low scoring - with 5/7 meetings seeing less than 30 points scored, plenty of cards - with ten dished out in the last eight clashes and they also tend to be won by Gloucester. The Cherry and Whites have actually won nine of the last ten confrontations and three of four at the Rec. Bath have only won two of thirteen league games against their old foes. The hosts have won six of their eight home league games and by healthy margins in the last two - against Worcester and London Irish, but history would suggest this will be a closer match. Gloucester games have seen plenty of tight finishes with thirteen of the last sixteen having winning margins of seven points or less. With Freddie Burns back at his club, I will take the visitors with +4 points. Both teams have seen 23 cards shown in their 16 matches so far and with 15 handed out in 8 Gloucester away games, I am happy to back a sin-binning or two in what should be a feisty Friday night battle.
This is a meeting of the league's top teams for tries, passes (Quins 2333 to Chiefs 2135), metres carried (6509 to 6491), carries (1835 to 1703), defenders beaten (234 to 246), clean breaks (96 to 100) and both teams are amongst the bottom three for kicks from hands. That hopefully hints at plenty of tries being scored. Conor O'Shea was unhappy with both the performance and result after the Round Six loss at Sandy Park, but last season showed he is more than capable of plotting successful 'revenge' against sides when they meet again. The second-half deficit of -16 points that game was their worst effort in over 60 league matches and I don't see it repeating. The Chiefs have lost on two previous visits to the Stoop by score of 13-40 and 13-19 and trailed at half-time in 4/5 meetings with Quins. They have also lost 7/8 away games so far by an average of 17-24. The hosts have Nick Evans back and while -11 seems a big handicap, it's worth remembering that the visitors have lost by 20 points at Saracens and Leicester already. There have been 23 cards in the last 20 games at the Stoop - with 16/20 having at least one card. Combine that with seven cards in eight Exeter away games and three in their two trips to the Stoop and a yellow card looks likely.
Looking at some multiples - Gloucester +10 / Wasps + 7 / Cheetahs +22 / Bulls -10 / Sharks +2 is 6.0. Willie le Roux and Gio Aplon both to score is 13.0, while Jonny May and David Lemi to do the same is 10.5. Gloucester to win by 1-5 points and Sharks by 1-12 is 16.5.