Ahead of the third round of this season’s Champions Cup, we take a look at the best bets from two pool fixtures taking place this weekend.
Defending champions Leinster will look to bounce back from their defeat to Toulouse in Round Two when they take on Bath at the Rec.
Considering the Irish province’s form this season and their 52-3 dismantling of Wasps a week earlier, that loss to the French outfit was a surprise. Leo Cullen will expect his charges to get back on track this weekend against a team that have struggled for form and only managed a draw with 11th placed Sale Sharks in the Premiership last weekend.
As a result, the visitors are unsurprisingly 1/8 favourites with various bookmakers, but that makes Todd Blackadder’s outfit a tempting bet. The West Countrymen do not lack for talent in the squad and they are 28/5 at 188Bet to cause an upset and secure their first victory in this season’s competition.
However, should it go to form and the rain stays away then, on a 23 handicap, Leinster are 23/10 with BoyleSports, which could happen if Bath repeat their effort from the Sale encounter.
They do have some individuals who are performing well, though, and in Joe Cokanasiga England seem to have found a star. He saved his club’s blushes last weekend by touching down to level matters with the Sharks and he is 14/1 (Betfair) to cross the whitewash first on Saturday.
It will still be a tough task for Blackadder’s side and James Lowe is the player the bookies are backing to go over at 6/1, but Jordan Larmour could be worth a punt at 13/2 (both Betfair).
Munster v Castres
Another Irish giant has an intriguing game this weekend when Munster host French champions Castres on Sunday.
In previous years, a comfortable victory for the Irish province would have been predicted, with the Top 14 taking precedence for the visitors, but they have publicly stated their desire to give the Champions Cup a shot this year.
Christophe Urios’ men showed their intentions by superbly defeating Exeter Chiefs 29-25 in Round Two, despite playing over half of the game with 14 men.
Although their form isn’t the greatest, having been stunned by strugglers Agen last week, 9/1 at Sky Bet and Black Type seems far too long, while the handicap of 17 is well worth backing, with Betway offering odds of evens.
Johann van Graan’s outfit are as short as 1/25 with Sky Bet to claim a victory at Thomond Park but they do have to be wary of Castres, who have shown their ability to win away this season.
French teams are not necessarily renowned for their form on the road, but it is beginning to become an outdated stereotype and they have beaten both Montpellier and Toulouse on their travels.
They are particularly strong up front but they also have threats out wide. As a result, Castres should be in the game at the break and, for them to be leading at half-time but to succumb in the end, it is 7/1 with Unibet.