It is a rest weekend in the Six Nations, which means that rugby fans need to look elsewhere to get their rugby betting fix this weekend. The place to start is the Aviva Premiership, where the tournament enters the closing quarter of the season with all sides still in contention for either the play-offs or the relegation battle.
One of the key match-ups this weekend sees third-placed Leicester take on bottom side Sale. The Tigers have had a lacklustre time of it recently, missing their international players more than most of the other sides. At the same time, things seem to be settling down again in Sale after the coaching upheaval that bedevilled their winter. It should prove to be a fascinating contest, but with this being Leicester's only home game in March I expect them to go all out for – and achieve – a bonus point victory. Back them to win by more than 7 points.
Another intriguing game is Friday night's contest between Worcester and London Wasps. This is of particular interest because both teams have taken nine bonus points this season, the most in the league. That suggests that a close game is likely, and possbily a high scoring one.
Staying with the subject of bonus points, Sunday sees Saracens welcome London Welsh to their new artificial pitch. Sarries may be lying in second place, but only Sale have scored fewer than their four bonus points. Welsh, meanwhile, will be fired up for this game after being summoned to an RFU disciplinary hearing for playing an ineligible player in nine of this season's games. At present they stand only one place above Sale at the foot of the table, but could in theory lose all of their points from those nine games if the hearing goes against them. Most major online sportsbooks heavily favour a Saracens home win, but with so much at stake I'm going for a narrow Welsh victory at odds of around 29/12
Down in the southern hemisphere, this weekend is the third one of this year's Super Rugby. The nature of the competition makes it hard to judge just how teams are playing in relation to one another at this early stage, but in South Africa two unbeaten teams meet two winless ones on Saturday.
First up are the Bulls, who host Australia's Western Force. The Force have lost both their matches so far and already have the worst points difference in the competition, even allowing for the fact that they have played a game more than some teams. The Bulls are always a strong side at home in Pretoria and I expect them to win at betting odds of 1/10 with Pinnacle.
Finally, Kings Park in Durban sees a real contest, between the host Sharks and the Western Stormers. The visitors are coming off an eight point loss to the Bulls, whilst the Sharks made surprisingly hard work of a seven point win against the Cheetahs last weekend. Again, the home side are the favorites, but I have a feeling that the visitors will just shade this one, so add them to your sports picks at odds of 13/8 with Bet365.