Premiership Rugby: Saracens offer value to win top of table clash at Exeter
Simon Mail previews this weekend's Premiership action which includes a clash between the top two teams Exeter and Saracens...
"Saracens have been simply unstoppable this season and have put together a 22-match unbeaten run stretching back to April's defeat to Leinster. Mark McCall's side have won all nine Premiership games this season in their title defence."
Worcester v Northampton
Live on BT Sport 1
Warriors could edge to points
Worcester were among the favourites for relegation this season but have given themselves a decent chance of staying up after winning three of their first nine Premiership matches.
The Warriors are ninth in the table but have found their form at Sixways after victories in their last five games in all competitions. Worcester defeated Pau 23-7 last week to move top of their Challenge Cup pool.
Northampton should be well rested after their scheduled European match in Romania against Timisoara Saracens was snowed off. The Saints have yet to establish any consistency under new boss Chris Boyd, with the side tenth in the league standings, after losing six of their nine fixtures. Northampton were beaten in their last two Premiership games and their only away win in the competition came at Bristol.
The betting suggests this will be a very tight clash but Worcester merit support with home advantage likely to tip the match in their favour. The Warriors have built a strong record at Sixways recently and Northampton have struggled away from home. But all of the Saints' league defeats have been by less than 12 points, so a narrow Worcester win looks generously priced.
Saracens hard to bet against
Exeter v Saracens
Live on BT Sport 2
There is no doubting the game of the weekend with the top two in the Premiership facing each other at Sandy Park. Exeter made a brilliant start to the season, winning their opening eight league matches, before a slight wobble.
The Chiefs' run ended with a narrow defeat at Harlequins before their Champions Cup hopes were hit after losing at home to Gloucester. But Rob Baxter's side responded strongly last weekend by winning 29-17 in the return European fixture at Kingsholm.
Saracens have been simply unstoppable this season and have put together a 22-match unbeaten run stretching back to April's defeat to Leinster. Mark McCall's side have won all nine Premiership games this season in their title defence. Saracens have also been dominant in Europe after winning their first four games including a 26-14 victory at Cardiff last weekend.
This is the first meeting between the teams since Saracens defeated Exeter to win the Premiership at Twickenham in May. These two sides have been in a different league to all the other clubs with second-placed Exeter already 12 points clear of Gloucester in third. The Chiefs have shown some frailties recently which suggest unbeaten Saracens are the value at odds-against. All six of their away wins have been by 12 points or less so another tight victory has to be the play.
Wasps to grind out Bath win
Wasps v Bath
Live on BT Sport 1
Wasps have not been convincing this season although Dai Young's side still find themselves fourth in the Premiership standings. A return of five wins and four defeats underlines their inconsistency although they have been hit hard by injuries. Wasps were knocked out of the Champions Cup, after losing 42-27 in Toulouse, but Young took encouragement from their performance describing their attack as the best it has been all season.
Bath's European hopes were also ended after their 42-15 defeat against champions Leinster which extended a worrying run of form. Todd Blackadder's team have only won one of their last ten matches in all competitions and it is clear confidence is low in their camp. Bath are sixth in the league but have only managed three wins from their opening nine fixtures.
This game features two teams badly in need of a victory but more optimism seems to be coming from Wasps. The way they played in France offered encouragement and the hosts are backed to come out on top. Bath held them to a 35-35 away draw in the Champions Cup back in October but Wasps look strong enough to win this contest although it could easily be another close match.
Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster
P/L 2018-19 season