After the drama of the Six Nations, the Premiership season returns to centre stage, and this weekend has some fascinating matchups which could impact the final table in a big way.
From a big local derby to a play-off dress rehearsal, this weekend should be home to some excellent action. Our rugby union expert guides you through the best bets from the upcoming Premiership games.
Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints
The season has been disappointing for both former titans so far, with Leicester by no means safe from the drop, and Northampton’s play-off chances slipping away.
The table is so tight that should the Tigers win at Welford Road, they would leapfrog the Saints, and the Friday night lights always add an extra dimension to big occasions, and this should be a great fixture. The Tigers are 8/11 favourites whilst the Saints are short outsiders at evens.
In rivalries, previous form goes out of the window, but this is a Northampton team that is only a month removed from putting almost 70 points on play-off chasing Sale. I’d back Northampton to win by 1-12 at 7/4.
Bristol Bears v Worcester Warriors
Tipped as the two teams to fight relegation at the start of the season, both the Bears and Warriors have been a pleasant surprise.
Financially backed, the Bears have pulled off some fantastic results, while the Warriors are a formidable foe. Worcester however, aren’t clear of the drop yet, so will need to pick up points against a good Bears side. Bristol are a comfortable favourite at 2/5, whilst Worcester are 7/4.
It should be cagey, relegation threatened affair at Ashton Gate, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a close game. Back the Warriors on the handicap, which is +5.5, at 5/6 with Grosvenorsport.com
Saracens v Harlequins
Saracens have had a wobble in the international period, but the returning strength they have is almost unbelievable. With almost a full team of internationals to return, they should be expected to reassert their dominance over most of the other teams in the league.
Harlequins have been the undoubted success story of the year, from being a relegation candidate to a play-off candidate, but I expect them to come unstuck at the Olympic Stadium.