Prior to the Aviva Premiership semis last weekend, news.ladbrokes confidently tipped up a Northampton v Bath final at Twickenham. We were half right.
Mike Ford’s men did the business in fine style against old rivals Leicester, crushing the Tigers 47-10 to land seven-point handicap bets for news.ladbrokes followers.
Defending champions Northampton couldn’t quite keep up their end of the bargain though, going down 29-24 to Saracens, who lost last year’s final to Jim Mallinder’s crowd in extra-time, at their Franklin Gardens headquarters.
Saracens and Bath can’t be separated in the bookies’ betting at 1/1 apiece over 80 minutes, but Mark McCall’s side’s added experience makes them the value for a second title in five years.
Bath finished seven points clear of Sarries, who only booked a place in the playoffs on the final day of this year’s campaign, but the Somerset outfit hold a woeful recent record against their next opponents, beating them just once in their past ten meetings.
Furthermore, Bath are vastly less experienced in big games, having failed to make it this far domestically since 2003/04, when they lost 10-6 to Leicester.
Sarries, on the other hand, will be appearing in their fourth Aviva Premiership final in six years, and also made the showpiece of the last Heineken Cup campaign in 2013/14.
Bath and England prop David Wilson said it himself in the build-up to the match:
“It’s my first major final so it’s going to be incredible to walk out there and take it all in. To be honest the fact that most of our squad haven’t played in a major final might make a difference.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, suddenly realise you’re in a big game and choke.”
Perhaps Wilson was too honest for his own good with this assessment, but he makes a fair point.
It promises to be close, as the combined scoreline for these sides home and away this season was 45-45, but Saracens just about rank as the value.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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