Gallagher Premiership: The Top 5 handicap busters

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Bookies don't often get it horribly wrong when setting rugby handicaps but there have still been a few exceptions to the rule this season.

Wasps had put 50 points on Bath the week before and were hosting a Harlequins side still recovering from the news that DoR Paul Gustard had left the club at the end of January 2021.

Understandably, the bookmakers made the previous year’s beaten Gallagher Premiership finalists favourites, and by a good margin too. 

Wasps were -8 on the handicap and expected to keep their impressive start to the season going.

But the loss of a few key players to international duty and injury, plus an opposition that rediscovered its mojo, conspired to make this a very one-sided game in the other direction, Quins running out winners by 49-17 – a swing of 40 points.

Wasps, however, were on the right side of the next-best handicap-busting result so far this season. In overturning their defeat to Exeter in last season’s final in Round 5, they overcame a six-point deficit on the handicap to win 34-5 – a swing of 35 points.

While Bristol were overwhelming favourites to beat local rivals Bath in Round 7, no-one predicted a margin of 45 points (48-3). With Bristol being -13 on the handicap at kick-off, this meant a swing of 32 points.

Bristol featured again in the fourth-biggest swing, their 20-7 win away to Exeter in Round 6. The 13-point differential between the teams on top of a nine-point handicap in the Bears’ favour meant the bookies were out by as many as 22 points.

And in at number five is bottom-of-the-table Gloucester’s 40-24 win at home to Wasps in Round 2 – a result that looks all the more remarkable considering the Cherry & Whites haven’t won in the league since then. With Gloucester receiving five points on the handicap, that made for a 21-point swing.

The Top 5 handicap busters

  1. Wasps 17-49 Harlequins, Round 7
  2. Wasps 34-5 Exeter, Round 5
  3. Bristol 48-3 Bath, Round 7
  4. Exeter 7-20 Bristol, Round 6
  5. Gloucester 40-24 Wasps, Round 2

 

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