Heineken Cup rugby is back with Paddy Power released the latest odds on Toulouse v Ospreys, Sale v Toulon, Munster v Saracens, Clermont v Leinster, Cardiff Blues v Montpellier.
There are seven matches for punters to get their teeth stuck into in the Heineken Cup this weekend as team enter the make or break stage of their groups.
With two games already gone from the six game group format, sides who have yet to pick up maximum points could see their European adventure end this weekend while teams that have started with a bang could push themselves one step closer to qualifying for the knockout stages with another victory.
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Aviva Premiership giants Saracens currently lead the way in Pool One but face a tricky trip to Munster on Saturday – a game which is the feature game shown live on a mammoth day of live rugby on Sky Sports.
Kicking off at 18:00, the game brings together two giants of European club rugby. Saracens have started their European campaign on fire, registering wins over France’s Racing Metro 92 and Edinburgh Rugby. However, this will be their biggest challenge to date as they have never beaten Munster in Europe, losing all three of their previous meetings.
The markets are leaning the way of the Irish side too, as they have installed Saracens at 6/4 with Ladbrokes to taste success, and have given them a generous +4 head start on the handicaps, which can be backed with the same firm at 10/11.
Munster, winners of this great competition in 2006 and 2008 but who have fallen on harder times recently, can be backed at 8/15 with Bet365 to win the game outright.
The game itself will probably come down to who will take their chances when presented and the kicking dual between Ronan O’Gara of Munster and Charlie Hodgson of Saracens will be crucial. The Irishman seems to revel in these types of matches and likes to keep the scoreboard ticking over at regular intervals. He should outscore Hodgson with the boot, but the bet that looks likes could reap rewards is for O’Gara to score a drop-goal, which can be backed at 6/5 with Paddy Power.
Racing Metro will hope to close the gap on the top two in Pool A with a routine victory over Edinburgh, who have failed to even get on the scoresheet during this season’s Heineken Cup. The hosts look bombproof favourites at 1/10 and have generated plenty of support from short-priced backers.
Leicester Tigers have a superb opportunity to get their second Heineken Cup group win on the board, as they host Benetton Treviso in Pool Two. The Tigers were impressive when beating the Ospreys 39-22 in their last outing and should ease past Treviso. The 1/80 with Bet365 is ignorable, but on the handicap they are 10/11 to win by more than 22 points which looks a shrewd call, considering the form of England centre Manu Tualangi of late.
Toulouse, the four-time European champions, are top of that group, and they’ll stay there providing they beat the Ospreys.
In Pool Five, Exeter Chiefs need to beat the Scarlets to have any hope of qualifying for the latter stages, and they have been backed to do so at 7/4 with Paddy Power, despite only taking one point, a bonus one, from their first two games. Clermont and reigning champions Leinster take-on each other in the remaining game in Pool Five.
Pool Six sees Toulon attempting to continue their unbeaten run in the competition against Sale Sharks. The French side have breezed past fellow French outfit Montpellier and Welsh side Cardiff Blues in recent weeks, and have been backed to continue the try-scoring bonanza against Sale. The -9 handicap at 10/11 has been backed off the boards with Ladbrokes.