As we all know, rugby isn’t played on paper – not even the ‘A4 derby’ between Bristol and Bath.
The age-old rivals, separated by 14 miles of road, clash at Ashton Gate on Friday night in round seven of the Gallagher Premiership.
And the bookies seem to be focusing on the players Bath are missing, not the ones they have got by giving Bath +13 on the handicap.
Anthony Watson is away with England, as is captain Charlie Ewels and props Beno Obano and Will Stuart, while Sam Underhill is injured. But Watson hasn’t played with any great authority for the blue, black and whites for a while now, and looking at the front-row, Bath are still well-stocked with quality performers.
Sharks signing Juan Schoeman and Christian Judge come into the front row and sit either side of Tom Dunn, a player for whom West Country derbies were made for.
Josh McInally leads the side from lock in Ewels’ absence and is joined in the second row Elliott Stooke. Josh Bayliss, Miles Reid and Zach Mercer make up a youthful back-row.
While the Bath pack has taken a bit of a hit, especially in the loose forwards, in Ruaridh McConnochie, Jonathan Joseph, Rhys Priestland and Ben Spencer, Bath have four players in the back line with World Cup experience.
And on the bench, Bath can count upon the considerable talent of Taulupe Faletau and Scotland new boy Cam Redpath.
Threats all over
Ninth-place Bath have still put out a strong squad and the question is just how much they can translate that talent into a performance and pick up only their second win of the Premiership season.
Bristol have had no such problems putting their efforts on the training ground into practice, storming to the top of the table on the back of five wins. Pat Lam has to take a lot of the credit for that.
Max Malins, Harry Randall and Ben Earl have been three key components in their rise but all three are unavailable this weekend due to their England commitments.
Kyle Sinckler is also serving the first game of a two-match ban, but Callum Sheedy has been released back by Wales and sits on the bench.
Reading the Bears’ line-up from back to front will put the fear of god into Bath fans. Charles Piutau, Luke Morahan and Semi Radradra are the first three names you come across!
Following on from there, teenage sensation Ioan Lloyd gets a rare chance as the starting 10, while a pack including the likes of John Afoa, Dave Attwood, captain Steven Luatua and Nathan Hughes is not to be messed with.
Rarely can a Bristol team have been full two-score favourites against Bath and if the visitors are going to do anything to appease their supporters this season, they need to deliver on Friday night.
Verdict: The Bears to prevail but Bath to land a few punches in an entertaining game.