With two derbies to look forward to and confidence in Gloucester’s ability to win at Wasps, the West Country dominates today’s best rugby odds round-up.
The Rugby Tipster keeps you up-to-date with the latest on each round of matches in the Gallagher Premiership. Our in-depth knowledge of form and team selection can guide your rugby betting selections and get you the best rugby odds.
Friday February 12th
PREDICTION – BEARS BY 8
Somehow you always feel more assured backing Bristol whenever Steven Luatua is in the team and leading by example. But even with the flanker unavailable for Friday night’s West Country derby at Gloucester, it’s hard to see anything other than an away win.
Luke Morahan is back to boss the side, while scrum-half Andy Uren will be buzzing about the fringes and relishing his personal duel with Willi Heinz on what in his 100th appearance for his hometown club.
Gloucester have the players but they don’t have the confidence to match the swagger of Bristol and we don’t see any reason to doubt the gulf between the teams will be obvious in this top-versus-bottom clash.
Eight points is still a lot to give up though, so we’re going to err on the side of caution and take the 8/11 on offer for more than five tries in the game.
Gloucester: 15. Jason Woodward, 14. Santiago Carreras, 13. Henry Trinder, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley, 10. Billy Twelvetrees, 9. Willi Heinz, 1.. Val Rapava-Ruskin, 2. Henry Walker, 3. Fraser Balmain, 4. Matt Garvey, 5. Matias Alemanno, 6. Jamie Gibson, 7. Lewis Ludlow (c), 8. Freddie Clark.
Replacements: 16. Santiago Socino, 17. Alex Seville, 18. Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19. Alex Craig, 20. Ben Morgan, 21. Charlie Chapman, 22. Giorgi Kveseladze, 23. Kyle Moyle.
Bristol: 15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Siale Piutau, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Ioan Lloyd, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2. Bryan Byrne, 3. John Afoa (c), 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Jake Heenan, 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nathan Hughes.
Replacements: 16. Will Capon, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. Jake Armstrong, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Fitz Harding, 21. Tom Kessell, 22. Sam Bedlow, 23. Alapati Leiua.
Friday February 12th
PREDICTION – SHARKS BY 18
Stuart Hooper didn’t come across as a despondent man when carrying out his media duties this week, but inside he must have been seething. An already wretched season took a turn for the worse when it was discovered that star centre Jonathan Joseph and Elliott Stooke had breached national COVID-19 rules.
It is turning into a car crash of a season for the Premiership’s biggest under-performers, and that’s before Stooke compounded his error of judgement in visiting Joseph and the member of another household by pranging his motor on the way home.
Both players were suspended, Joseph for a fortnight and Stooke for three weeks, and it is the latter’s absence that will be most keenly felt due to a number of second-row unavailabilities.
Hooper insists he still managed to take positives from what was another good hiding at home to Harlequins and says the defence, which has conceded 128 points in its last three games, is an area that they’re addressing.
The weather might not be conducive to scoring plenty of tries but with the talent that the Sharks have at their disposal, they are due to give someone a good hiding, and Bath look ripe for one.
Recommended bet: Sharks -11 on the h’cap (10/11)
Sale: 15. Simon Hammerlsey, 14. Byron McGuigan, 13. Conor Doherty, 12. Sam Hill, 11. Tom Roebuck, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Will Cliff; 1. Ross Harrsion, 2. Curtis Langdon, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 4. James Phillips, 5. J.P du Preez, 6. J.L du Preez, 7. Jono Ross (Capt.), 8. Daniel du Preez.
Replacements: 16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Valerey Morozov, 18. Will-Griff John, 19. Matt Postlethwaite, 20. Cameron Neild, 21. Faf de Klerk, 22. AJ MacGinty, 23. Luke James.
Bath: 15. Tom de Glanville, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Max Clark, 12. Josh Matavesi, 11. Will Muir, 10. Rhys Priestland, 9. Ben Spencer, 1. Juan Schoeman, 2. Tom Dunn, 3. Christian Judge, 4. Josh McNally (c), 5. Mike Williams, 6. Josh Bayliss, 7. Miles Reid, 8. Zach Mercer.
Replacements: 16. Jack Walker, 17. Jamie Bhatti, 18. Henry Thomas, 19. Ewan Richards, 20. Ethan Staddon, 21. Will Chudley, 22. Tian Schoeman, 23. Alex Gray
Saturday February 13th
PREDICTION – QUINS BY 8
Leicester have not won away from home in the Premiership for the best part of two years and the chances are that run won’t come to an end this weekend, as Quins are 11-point favourites and have a more settled look to their line-up. Plus Jasper Wiese, Tigers’ standout player, is not playing.
While Leicester have definitely made strides forward under Steve Borthwick and are using their maul to good effect to score tries, they are probably still some way off stopping a rampant Quins side that has taken on a new lease of life since DoR Paul Gustard left.
Quins have threats all over the park and are capable of scoring points very quickly if they are in the mood. They also possess the league’s top points scorer in Marcus Smith, who is a 90% kicker, and average 30 points per game.
Leicester should have their moments in the game, though. Opposing teams average more carries, more passes, more rucks and more lineouts won and also have the ball for longer periods of play against Quins than any other team,
Tigers’ points tally is not too shabby, either, at an average of 25 per Premiership match, so we are going to steer away from the handicap and the team and total points market and focus on the first half points instead.
In drawing against London Irish and then beating Wasps and Bath away from home, handsomely, Quins have always managed to get points on the board early.
Across those three matches, 56% of their 104 points have come before the break with an average of 19. Meanwhile, Tigers average 12 first-half points since the turn of the year.
Quins to win (1/4, Skybet, Paddy Power, Betfred)
Over 24.5 points in the first half (4/5, Paddy Power)
Harlequins: 15. Mike Brown, 14. Louis Lynagh, 13. Joe Marchant, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Aaron Morris, 10. Marcus Smith, 9. Danny Care, 1. Joe Marler, 2. Scott Baldwin, 3. Simon Kerrod, 4 Matt Symons, 5. Stephan Lewies, 6. Archie White, 7. Will Evans, 8. Alex Dombrandt.
Replacements: 16. Elia Elia, 17. Santiago Garcia Botta, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Glen Young, 20. Richard de Carpentier, 21. Martin Landajo, 22. Brett Herron, 23. Ben Tapuai.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Ben White, 22. Johnny McPhillips, 23. Dan Kelly.
Saturday February 13th
PREDICTION – CHIEFS BY 6
Chiefs still aren’t playing anywhere close to their capabilities, and that’s to be expected with seven players missing on international duty.
But, as DoR Rob Baxter stressed, they have rediscovered their inner steel in winning ugly at Worcester and Newcastle.
On current form, Irish will provide a sterner test of that mettle. Their multi-capped side is starting to gel together nicely and will be prepared for the full-on physical battle that you get when you play the Chiefs.
Scarcely hit by Six Nations call-ups and laden with veteran overseas talent, this Exiles squad is tailor-made to capitalise on absentees in the opposition line-up.
Remarkably, Irish’s last away win in the league (22-19) was at Sandy Park but as much as we expect Irish to put in a creditable performance, it is hard to see achieving back-to-back wins there, although giving them as many as 11 points on the handicap looks a bit disrespectful.
Josh Hodge is one of three changes in the Chiefs’ starting XV and we expect the former Newcastle man to show they can live without Stuart Hogg at full-back with a good performance. Tight-head Harry Williams returns from England duty.
Irish +11 on the handicap (10/11)
Josh Hodge anytime try-scorer (4/1, Paddy Power)
Exeter: 15. Josh Hodge, 14. Alex Cuthbert, 13. Tom Hendrickson, 12. Ollie Devoto, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Joe Simmonds, 9. Jack Maunder, 1. Alec Hepburn, 2. Jack Yeandle (capt), 3.Harry Williams, 4. Will Witty, 5. Sam Skinner, 6. Dave Ewers, 7. Richard Capstick, 8. Sam Simmonds
Replacements: 16. Jack Innard, 17. James Kenny, 18. Marcus Street, 19. Don Armand, 20. Sean Lonsdale, 21. Stu Townsend, 22. Harvey Skinner, 23. Ian Whitten.
London Irish: 15. James Stokes, 14. Ben Loader, 13. Curtis Rona, 12. Terrence Hepetema, 11. Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10. Paddy Jackson, 9. Ben Meehan, 1. Will Goodrick-Clarke, 2. Agustin Creevy, 3. Lovejoy Chawatama, 4. Steve Mafi, 5. Rob Simmons, 6. Ben Donnell, 7. Blair Cowan (c), 8. Albert Tuisue.
Replacements: 16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Allan Dell, 18. Ollie Hoskins, 19. George Nott, 20. Matt Rogerson, 21. Jack Cooke, 22. Nick Phipps, 23. Theo Brophy Clews.
Sunday February 14th
PREDICTION – WASPS BY 5
Worcester are fielding their third-choice fly-half in a n experimental side but the 3/1 on offer from SBK Bet about a Warriors win for the first time in 13 league outings against Wasps still seems out-of-kilter with how close this game could be.
Jamie Shillcock will start his first Gallagher Premiership match in almost a year, at fly-half, as Scotland international Duncan Weir faces a lengthy lay-off having sustained a shoulder injury at Leicester last weekend and Billy Searle is still recovering from a gashed thigh. He partners 23-year-old Gareth Simpson at half-back.
Wasps’ half-back pairing is also on the green side with Sam Wolstenholme and Charlie Atkinson lining up at nine and 10, respectively. But, elsewhere, they should have enough nous and ability to get the job done and win for the first time in three matches.
Josh Bassett doesn’t get the raps he deserves, possibly because his try-scoring record isn’t as high as it could be. But the former Bedford flyer creates as many tries as he scores and his return to the Wasps side could be significant.
Now that the spectre of relegation has been lifted, Worcester’s young guns can play without fear and we expect them to give it a good go. But, equally, this could leave faultlines in defence that Wasps’ gas men, like Bassett and Zach Kibirige, could expose.
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Nick David, 10 Jamie Shillcock, 9 Gareth Simpson, 1 Ethan Waller, 2 Isaac Miller, 3 Nick Schonert, 4 Graham Kitchener, 5 Justin Clegg, 6 Ted Hill (capt.), 7 Matt Kvesic, 8 Cornell du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Andrew Kitchener, 20 GJ van Velze, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Oli Morris.
Wasps: 15. Matteo Minozzi, 14. Zach Kibirige, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 12. Jimmy Gopperthm 11. Josh Bassett, 10. Charlie Atkinson, 9. Sam Wolstenholme, 1. Tom West, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Kieran Brookes, 4 Levi Douglas, 5. James Gaskell, 6. Brad Shields (capt.), 7. Ben Morris, 8 Tom Willis.
Replacements: 16. Tom Cruse, 17. Ben Harris, 18. Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19. Theo Vukasinovic, 20. Sione Vailanu, 21. Ben Vellacott,
22. Jacob Umaga, 23. Michael Le Bourgeois.
– Over 44.5 match points (4/5, Bet 365)
– Wasps to win by 1-7 points (16/5, Paddy Power)