Simon Mail previews the latest Premiership action including Saracens' home clash against last year's finalists Wasps...
"It looks a tall order for Wasps to end their losing run with a trip to Saracens this weekend. The hosts are in much better shape than their opponents and Wasps, with a far stronger team last season, were beaten 30-14 at Allianz Park 12 months ago."
Harlequins v Sale Sharks
Live on BT Sport 2
Harlequins have already displayed a lack of consistency again in the opening month of this season which suggests a top-four finish will be beyond them. Quins stumbled to an opening defeat against London Irish before responding with wins over Gloucester and Wasps. But their unbeaten home record was ended by Leicester and John Kingston's side were beaten at improving Northampton last weekend.
Sale have hardly been in top gear either with Steve Diamond's side losing three of their opening five games. Defeats at Wasps and Saracens were largely predictable and this will be seen as a much better chance of recording their first away victory. The Sharks found their scoring touch last weekend at home with Byron McGuigan claiming a hat-trick in their dominant 57-10 win over Gloucester.
Their meetings in recent years have been very closely matched with Harlequins edging to home wins in the last two seasons. The hosts defeated Sale 29-26 back in January and in the previous campaign grinded out a 16-14 victory. Quins have the talent to claim another win this weekend, against a side which does not travel particularly well, but the best value option could be to back them to prevail by no more than 10 points.
Back Harlequins to win by 1-10 points @ 23/10 (Sportsbook)
London Irish v Leicester Tigers
Live on BT Sport 1
London Irish made the ideal start to life back in the Premiership but reality has hit home in their following four games. The newly-promoted side pulled off a shock win at Twickenham after beating Harlequins 39-29 but they have been unable to catch out any of their subsequent opponents. Irish are only off the bottom of the table due to Worcester's winless start to the campaign and it looks as if it will be between those two clubs in the relegation battle this season.
Leicester have recovered strongly after losing their opening two matches of the season. Questions were rightly being asked of Matt O'Connor's side but the Tigers have responded impressively with three wins in a row. Their victory at Harlequins was a step in the right direction and they backed it up last weekend after repelling champions Exeter in a 20-13 win at Welford Road.
With so much momentum in Leicester's favour, this looks a very difficult challenge for London Irish to arrest their slide. The Tigers will have gained so much from beating Exeter in a competitive tussle and are fancied to claim a fourth successive win. The Exiles have lost each game this season by a minimum of 12 points and could struggle to keep in touch with Leicester. The handicap mark is pitched at nine points and the visitors look worth supporting to cover this in a comfortable success.
Back Leicester -9 to win @ 10/11 (Sportsbook)
Saracens v Wasps
Live on BT Sport 1
Saracens are motoring along nicely and the Men in Black look certainties to be in the title hunt next year. Sarries have won four of their opening five Premiership matches with their only defeat coming at Bath last month. Mark McCall's side have won their last three matches and warmed up with a comfortable 25-3 win at Worcester last weekend. Despite failing to find top gear in attack, Saracens have moved seamlessly to within a point of top spot.
Wasps reached the Premiership final last season but there are already worrying signs which suggest a repeat run could prove a tough ask this time. Dai Young's squad has been decimated by injuries but he will still be concerned at the way in which his sluggish side have lost their last three games. Wasps relied on an unbeaten home record last year but have alredy lost twice at the Ricoh Arena this season after their limp 25-9 defeat to Bath last weekend.
It looks a tall order for Wasps to end their losing run with a trip to Saracens this weekend. The hosts are in much better shape than their opponents and Wasps, with a far stronger team last season, were beaten 30-14 at Allianz Park 12 months ago. All of Sarries' wins this season have been by at least 22 points and the favourites are confidently backed to cover a 13-point handicap against a Wasps team short of confidence and form.
Back Saracens -13 to win @ 10/11 (Sportsbook)
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2017/18 Rugby P/L