With the domestic leagues in Europe all reaching the knockout rounds, we take a look at the best bets from the top games.
Saracens v Wasps
This is the pick of the two Premiership semi-finals, despite Newcastle Falcons’ remarkable run. Dean Richards has done an incredible job in guiding the Tynesiders to the last four but a price of 13/2 is reflective of their status as outsiders.
Wasps are similarly unfancied but we feel they have a much better opportunity of upsetting the odds, even though Saracens have looked ominously good leading into this encounter. Mark McCall’s men have returned to the type of form which saw them lift the Champions Cup in 2016 and ’17, putting over 50 points on three of their previous four opponents.
They are therefore heavy favourites at 1/6 with bet365, but the Coventry-based outfit are a dangerous side. If the visitors can gain parity up front then they have numerous threats that can scythe through the hosts’ rearguard.
Recently recalled to the England squad, fly-half Danny Cipriani is in outstanding form, while Willie le Roux has enjoyed an exceptional season in the Midlands. Dai Young’s outfit may be 9/2 at Betway but it is worth a punt, with the likes of Cipriani, Le Roux and speedster Christian Wade ready to pounce should their ball-carriers find their way over the gain line regularly.
Leinster v Munster
It has been a wonderful campaign for Irish rugby, with the national team winning the Grand Slam and Leinster claiming the Champions Cup, and they are guaranteed to have a side in the final of the PRO14.
Fresh from their fourth top-tier European title, the Dublin outfit go into the encounter as 1/4 favourites (bet365) to reach another showpiece event. With Munster not quite at their best in the second half of the season – injuries no doubt playing a significant factor in a couple of disappointing results – that seems fair, but could Leo Cullen’s men be caught out?
They will have no doubt enjoyed their success last weekend and that should benefit the visitors, who will be fresher and possibly more focused.
Leinster have had the better of their games this season, however, beating their intra-country rivals both home and away. At 16/5, Marathonbet think that Johann van Graan’s charges will have to produce something special to gain revenge for those defeats, but it is within Munster’s capabilities, particularly if the hosts struggle to lift themselves following the previous week’s heroics.
Toulouse v Castres
While the Premiership and PRO14 are at the last-four stage, the Top 14 are effectively having their quarter-finals this weekend. Known as the ‘barrages,’ Toulouse and Castres will be battling for the right to play Racing 92 in the semis.
Les Rouge et Noir have seen a vast improvement from the previous campaign where they ended 2016/17 in 12th position, one place above the relegation zone.
Ugo Mola’s men have also been in good form leading into the play-offs, despite going down to Clermont Auvergne in their final regular season match. As a result, Sky Bet, William Hill and Betfred have them down as 2/7 to qualify for the showpiece event, but Mola’s charges have yet to defeat Christophe Urios’ side this season.
Castres did the double over Toulouse during the campaign and were particularly impressive in overcoming the French giants 41-31 at the Stade Ernest-Wallon, but they are at a reasonably long 3/1 with Betway to repeat the feat. Urios’ team have been inconsistent and only just scraped into the top-six, but those odds are fairly generous and potentially a decent bet.