Free Picks: Rugby Heineken Cup Week One Tips

Richard O'Hagan

Monday, October 7, 2013 7:51 PM GMT

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 7:51 PM GMT

It is the opening round of group matches in the Heineken Cup, Europe’s premier club rugby competition. We look at some of the best games on the board and decide where we are best suited to place our sports picks.

Connacht v Saracens

A massive challenge for the Irishmen as they take on the team who top the Premiership in England and who have yet to lose a game this season. Don’t expect that to change here, with the visitors firm favorites for the win. For the most value for your sports picks, look for Saracens to take this by at least ten points. 

Ulster v Leicester 

Without doubt one of the ties of the round, as one of the top sides in Ireland take on the current English Premiership champions. Both will be keen to get off to a good start in this tournament, but Leicester haven’t travelled that well this season and this game comes less than a week since their bruising draw with Northampton at Welford Road. A narrow home win. 

Castres v Northampton

Northampton know that they ought to have won that game against Leicester and now have a long trip to Castres to take on one of the French challengers. The resource difference between the French sides and the rest of the competition make any visit over the Channel a tricky one and this may be a step too far for the Saints. Another narrow home win. 

Harlequins v Llanelli 

Two British sides whose form has been indifferent this season meet at the Stoop on Saturday. It is hard to see the Scarlets making much headway on this occasion, but Quins’ shaky defence should make this a high scoring affair, so back the 'Over' at betting odds of 45.5 points. 

Gloucester v Perpignan 

Gloucester’s form this season has been so poor that the last thing they needed was a visit from a resurgent Perpignan side who are keen to stamp a mark on their return to this tournament. An away win by more than twelve points. 

Exeter v Cardiff 

This Sunday fixture has the makings of a close game. The two sides are evenly matched in everything except European experience, where the Blues have the edge. Exeter haven’t shown their best form at home this season, but on balance should just edge this, maybe by as few as three points.

Also check out our preview of Week 1 of the Amlin Challenge Cup.

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