With things the log standings as tight as usual, round five of the Gallagher Premiership sees under fire Tigers welcome Harlequins to Welford Road while Bears and Sale clash in another intriguing matchup.
Friday 10 November
Gloucester 23/20 | Draw 18/1 | Bath 7/10
Bath will be confident of claiming an away win at Kingsholm here as they look to bounce back from two straight defeats. Tigers and Saints have both gotten the better of Johann van Graan’s men in recent weeks and given their lofty ambitions this season that just won’t do. They should be better on Friday.
The Cherry and Whites are coming off consecutive losses themselves, to Saracens and Sale, and while they will have the support of their home base in full force, it’s difficult seeing them stopping Bath with the likes of Will Stuart and Ollie Lawrence back in the starting XV.
Verdict: Bath 7/10
The visitors should be too strong in the derby.
Saturday 11 November
Bristol 1/1 | Draw 18/1 | Sale Sharks 4/5
Bears are another side that followed up two opening wins with defeats, having last week copped a nine-point loss at Sandy Park. They’ll have a tough task on their hands containing a Sharks’ pack armed with the likes of Gus Creevy, Cobus Wiese and Dan du Preez and their performance here will be telling in terms of gauging their chances of making the knockouts this season.
Sale are three from four and look a strong bet to challenge for silverware again this term. Their forwards might well boost them at Ashton Gate.
Verdict: Sale 4/5
Sale to take a relatively comfortable win.
Leicester 12/25 | Draw 20/1 | Harlequins 13/8
Leicester are languishing in ninth after just one win from four and require an immediate turnaround or risk missing out on playoff qualification. It may still be early in the season, but such is the inherent competitiveness of the Premiership that more poor results will ultimately doom Tigers’ campaign before it even gets off the ground.
Harlequins are riding high in second spot after three wins from five and are looking good with the likes of Marcus Smith back fir and firing. They’ll come close but the hosts’ desperation should see them earn a narrow win.
Verdict: Harlequins (+5.5) 4/5
Tigers to edge this one, but by fewer than five points.
Sunday 12 November
Newcastle 21/5 | Draw 33/1 | Saracens 1/8
Newcastle have endured a nightmare start to the campaign with no wins from four and things don’t get easier with the reigning champs paying Kingston Park a visit this weekend.
Sarries hit back hard after losing their two openers and could rack up a pretty big score here with their England internationals back.
Verdict: Saracens (-13.5) 5/6
The visitors will be licking their lips ahead of this one.
Northampton 7/10 | Draw 20/1 | Exeter 23/20
Saints welcome Chiefs to Franklin’s Gardens here looking to haul the leaders in. The fifth-placed hosts are four points back of their opponents this week but a decent win over Rob Baxter’s boys would put them right in the action at the summit.
On the other hand, an Exeter win would be a big statement and would see them extend their lead at the summit. As good as they’re looking though, expect the hosts to hold put for a narrow in.
Verdict: Northampton 7/10
Saints are good value at home here.