Saints out to take top spot from Saracens and start year in style
Northampton Saints host Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens bidding to register a seventh consecutive Aviva Premiership win and leapfrog leaders Saracens at the top of the table.
Ladbrokes have priced the Saints at 1/4 to oblige, highlighting the scintillating form director of rugby Jim Mallinder’s side are currently in. Harlequins can be backed at 3/1 to secure a surprise victory while the draw is available at 18/1.
Last season’s beaten finalists have been busy underlining their transformation during the current campaign.
Having failed to beat any of the previous term’s top three in eight attempts the Saints have avoided defeat to big guns Saracens, Leicester and Harlequins this season, with the latter vanquished 13-6 at The Stoop in September.
More recently, Bath, who currently occupy second place in the Premiership, were thumped 43-25 last time out, ensuring Northampton maintained their 100 per cent home record on the domestic front.
And that emphatic victory would not have come as a surprise to the fans who frequent the Gardens, with their in-form outfit winning their home matches in the league by an average of over 20 points this season.
Given that Saracens were dispatched by a 21-point margin in October, backing the Saints to triumph by 20 points or more might not be too fanciful at odds of 9/2.
However, Conor O’Shea’s Quins side are not to be taken lightly having conceded the fewest number of points in the league so far.
A rain-soaked Stoop led to some attritional rugby being played when these teams last met which means opting for a more conservative handicap margin could be the way to go.
Given that the travelling side only lost their last encounter with Northampton by seven points, backing them with an eight-point start at odds of 10/11 would appear to make sense.
With regards to scoring, supporting Harlequins to score the first try of the match offers another enticing value bet.
The away team are 13/8 to cross the line first having done so in four of their last five fixtures in all competitions.
Northampton are 4/7 to achieve the same feat although they’ve only registered maximum points before their opponents in two of the same number of games.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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