Leaders Sale Sharks are at Harlequins while fourth-placed Bath clash with third-placed Exeter Chiefs at The Rec in round eight of the Gallagher Premiership season. Shaun Goosen previews round 8.
Friday 1 December
Harlequins 11/20 | Draw 20/1 | Sale Sharks 29/20
Fifth-placed Harlequins have now copped two losses on the bounce following last week’s narrow 36-33 defeat at Franklin’s Gardens but a win over the log leaders here would give them a major boost ahead of the European break.
Sale look like they mean business this season. Their 11-9 comeback win over Bath last time out was their fourth in succession, but they face another litmus test of note at The Stoop on Friday. Another victory here and they should be early favourites to cement top spot come the end of the campaign.
Verdict: Sale 29/20
At 29/20, and considering the way they’ve been playing, Sale are a good option here.
Saturday 2 December
Bristol Bears 2/7 | Draw 24/1 | Gloucester 5/2
Both Bristol and Gloucester will be desperate for victory at Ashton Gate this weekend. The hosts’ 31-39 away loss to Saracens in the last round was their fifth in succession and has seen them drop to eighth.
The Cherry and Whites are one point and one place below after a run of five defeats themselves. Things aren’t looking good.
Verdict: Gloucester (+7.5) 4/7
Home ground advantage should work in Bears’ favour in what is sure to be a proper scrap in Bristol.
Bath 2/7 | Draw 24/1 | Exeter Chiefs 5/4
In one of the matches of the weekend, Bath have dropped to fourth after their narrow loss at Sale a week ago. Given their lofty ambitions this season, they’ll expect to see off a strong Chiefs outfit to usurp them on the standings ahead of the upcoming Prem break.
Exeter are one point and one place ahead of their hosts after their recent six-point win at Newcastle. They should get close but could be narrowly outplayed at The Rec.
Verdict: Exeter (+8.5) 5/6
Bath should have the strength to hold off Chiefs here.
Saracens 1/9 | Draw 33/1 | Northampton Saints 24/5
After a wobbly start to the new campaign, Mark McCall’s side are looking back at their best. Despite Owen Farrell’s struggles off the tee last week, they still managed to overcome Bears to go second ahead of this clash with Saints at the StoneX.
Sixth-placed Northampton’s up-and-down season continued last week after seeing off Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens for a fourth win from seven. Unfortunately for them, they face a Sarries outfit coming into some good form.
Verdict: Saracens (-13.5) 87/100
The hosts should win comfortably.
Sunday 3 December
Leicester Tigers 1/25 | Draw 40/1 | Newcastle Falcons 7/1
Newcastle have offered very little in the opening seven rounds, losing every match they’ve played. They visit Tigers at Welford Road here with Dan McKellar’s troops hitting a purple patch – things could get ugly.
Verdict: Tigers (-17.5) 3/5
Leicester to come out of this win with a big win.