The Aviva Premiership rugby kicks off again with Bet365 releasing the latest odds on Exeter v Northampton, Saracens v Sale Sharks, Wasps v Bath v Gloucester v London Irish & London Welsh.
A full weekend of punting opportunities lies ahead in the Aviva Premiership as five games are split between Saturday and Sunday.
Perhaps the most interesting game of the weekend takes place at Vicarage Road on Sunday as second-place Saracens take on a rejuvenated Sale Sharks, who recorded only their second win of the season last time out and have their sights set on a surge up the table.
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The last team they would have wanted to face after breaking a losing run would be Saracens but that’s the reality for the underperforming Manchester side and they have been backed to give the all-conquering Sarries a run for their money.
The London side are heavy favourites for the match and can be backed at 1/10 with Paddy Power to triumph although the confidence behind a home win isn’t exactly brimming.
After beating Worcester 33-27, Sale seem to have had attracted the faith of punters who think a confidence boosting win can help them to lift their game in order to trouble Sarries.
The visitors have been a free-scoring Sale a +15 head start by the bookmakers and the 10/11 on offer from 888Sport and Bet365 has proved popular with punters. So, in theory, as long as Sale do not lose by more than 15 points then the 10/11 will prove a winner.
They are also 8/1 to win the game outright, which does look decent value too, but a safer option will be to play the handicap.
Sale may have lost their head coach Australian John Mitchell in the week, who returned to South Africa for personal reasons, but the introduction of All Blacks flanker Dan Braid into the team for the rest of the season is a real plus and he will add to a very strong forward line.
However, the danger that Saracens provide is obvious and anyone taking fancy prices about a Sale handicap or outright win will be well aware of the Londoners capabilities. Saracens come into this match straight off the back of a grafted 17-16 win over Northampton Saints and they are playing some of their best rugby of the season so far.
On Saturday, the Sky Sports cameras travel to Sandy Park to witness Exeter take on Northampton Saints. Both sides are locked in mid-table and have realistic ambitions of progressing up the table in recent weeks to make sure of their European qualification for next season.
This is being billed as one of the closest matches of the weekend according to the bookmakers with Exeter slight favourites at 8/11 with Ladbrokes, but the Saints are being well backed at a shade of odds-against with Paddy Power, who have made the visitors a tempting looking 11/10 shot.
If this game was being priced up three weeks ago Northampton would have been strong favourites, but they have endured a torrid festive period after a home loss against Harlequins and that narrow defeat against Saracens. These defeats have pushed their price out to 11/10 but punters have taken the opinion that it’s decent value and have put plenty in confidence in an away win.
Also on Saturday, London Irish will look to break a run of six straight defeats as they travel to high-flying Gloucester.
The hosts, who earned a hard-fought losing bonus point away at Leicester Tigers last weekend, are chasing the play-off places in the Premiership and a heavy favourites around the 1/5 mark with Paddy Power to register their eighth win of the season. Irish are easy to back at 5/1 and have been friendless in the market.
The other matches on Sunday see Wasps, who are 2/5 with Coral to beat Bath at Adams Park while London Welsh play Harlequins in a London derby in a game where the visitors are being well punted at 1/4 with Bet365.