Our traders are finding it hard to separate these two teams, with the handicap set at Zero, the line (slightly surprisingly) on -0.5 for Leinster and Saracens favoured in match betting at 10/11.
All things point to a tight game in St James’ Park on Saturday, with Saracens perhaps the more likely to take it based on the prices offered. And you’d have to think that’s fair enough: the English side look a fearsome outfit and dispatched Munster without much fuss in the previous round. There’s also the 30-point walloping they dished out to Premiership leaders Exeter last Saturday to consider.
For Leinster’s part, their performances have improved recently, but there’s a definite sense that this side isn’t as strong as it was last season. Consequently, we’d go along with the idea that Saracens will take this one, but that there won’t be much in it. This one will be close, and it’s very hard to see the winning team putting the points equivalent of two tries or more on the loser.
So, if we think Saracens are going to win, it’s not a stretch to imagine they’ll be leading at both half-time and full-time (extra time not included).
Take their last 20 wins: in 13 of them, they’ve led after both 40 minutes and 80 minutes. We might expand these parameters to include losses or draws if we thought Saracens weren’t going to win, but because we’re edging towards thinking they’ll emerge victorious, it’s more likely than not in that case that they’ll lead at HT and FT.
Again, sticking with the idea that Saracens will take this, we’re thinking about who might do the damage for them. Where better to look than to their flying Welsh winger, Liam Williams?
Williams often starts at fullback for his country, but has tended to appear in the 11 shirt for Sarries. You’d have to think Saracens scores will come from out wide on Saturday, with Leinster’s midfield defence usually proving pretty tough to get through.
When the Irish side have been forced to scramble, they’ve occasionally looked vulnerable – as most teams do. Saracens boast a 10 capable of bringing wide men into the game either out of hand or via the boot, so we reckon Williams will be the one to break the tryscoring deadlock, all the more so given his rather exceptional form over the past few months.
Take it each-way and you’ll be paid 2.25/1 if Williams fails to score the first try but grabs the second or third.
Odds correct at time of posting.