The Aviva Premiership kicks off tomorrow with a fantastic double header at Twickenham featuring the four leading sides from the capital. Wasps take on Harlequins while Saracens are up against London Irish in what promises to be an informative day in regards to each club’s title aspirations.
First up is Wasps versus Harlequins (2pm) and, after a disastrous 2011-12 campaign in which Wasps narrowly avoided the drop, Dai Young’s side will be out to banish those memories as they seek to regain their place among Europe’s elite.
A whole host of new arrivals including Stephen Jones, Rhys Thomas, Will Taylor and Lee Thomas join young talents like Christian Wade, Joe Launchbury and Billy Vunipola already at the club, and the new look squad perhaps deserves more respect than the bookmakers are giving them.
Harlequins won their maiden Premiership title last season but, with several names moving on during the summer, and only Dave Ward and Ben Botica added to the squad, it’s not easy to see why they are behind both Leicester and Saracens in the outright betting, available to buy on Sporting Index’s Premiership win index at 27.
Quins are heavy favourites to see off Wasps tomorrow but a win for the latter at 5/2 on Betfair appeals.
Saracens are probably the biggest danger to Leicester in this year’s title race, but they won’t have a stadium to call their own until February next year and that may count against them in the long run.
We will have to wait to see how the wholesale changes at London Irish during the summer translate onto the pitch. Thankfully Brian Smith was able to keep hold of winger Tom Homer, who weighed in with a staggering 278 points last season, but the bookies don’t think that will be enough for the Exiles and they are a best-priced 3/1 with Coral to pull off an upset against general 2/7 shots Saracens.
Sarries are easily the most likely winners, but a better bet might be selling total points at 40 with Sporting Index. Both teams are likely to be cautious in their approach and two of the last three games between the sides were low-scoring affairs.