2017-18 European Champions Cup Rugby - First Round of Pool Matches

Saracens player resting

Richard Prew

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 4:03 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 4:03 PM GMT

The first round of pool matches take place over this weekend with ten games across the five pools. Join expert capper for valuable betting picks.

The best of the betting picks for these games are as follows. All prices are from Bet365

Ulster vs. Wasps - Pool 1

Friday 2:45 pm ET

Wasps, who made the 1uarter finals last season, face a tough start in Belfast on Friday night. Firstly their form isn’t great they have started the domestic season with only two wins from their first six games in the Aviva Premiership. Secondly, their squad is injury hit and not quite as strong as last year with player salaries beginning to impact the ability to have depth in the squad under their salary cap and thirdly their schedule is very tough.

Wasps have a five-day turnaround after facing Saracens at Allianz Park on Sunday to this game and the Saracens coach described the situation as "grossly unfair". European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said they "look to avoid" such issues but it was "not always possible".

Ulster has won five games out of six in their Pro 14 group and they have a consistent home advantage in Belfast in front of a fervent crowd. Not the strongest of the Irish provinces but still a tough ask for Wasps who are +240 outright to win this game, Ulster is -300. I will be backing Ulster -6 at -110 here on the point handicap
 

Exeter vs. Glasgow - Pool 3

Saturday 2:45 pm ET

Premiership Champions Exeter had a very slow European campaign in their first season in the competition last year before picking up form after their qualification hopes were over. This time around with that experience behind them they will expect to be more competitive earlier and make the knockout phases. They sit second in the Aviva Premiership with 4 wins out of 6.

Glasgow are formidable opponents though and are played six won six in the Pro 14 this year. They form the bulk of the national side, are fitter than in previous years and play attacking rugby. Whilst they should be underdogs here in Saturday’s game to see them at +8 on the points handicap is odd. I don’t expect them to lose by more than one score which is implied. So at -110 Gasgow +8 in this game.
 

Northampton vs. Saracens - Pool 2

Sunday 12:30 pm ET

Pool 2 starts with an all English clash between two sides currently in the top three of the domestic Aviva Premiership competition.

Northampton have disappointed for several seasons, never being in contention for silverware but early signs are that their prospects have improved this season. Playing Saracens first up is a difficult task though. The defending double European champions are the strongest English team and play to a very defined pattern that is tough to counter.

Saracens have won five out of six games in the Aviva so far this season including beating Northampton 55-24 on 3rd September. I expect them to cover -6 at -110 on the handicap.

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