Written 15th October 2019
Premiership Rugby Week 1 Betting Preview
Premiership Rugby is back as the action kicks off at Bristol this weekend. We’ve picked the opener as one of our games of the week, with Bristol and Bath bound to give us an exciting start to the season. Elsewhere, defending champions Saracens take on Northampton in the game of the weekend. Even though there are plenty of players still at the World Cup, Saracens will put on a show to prove they are in the running to win back their title.
Check out our preview for our two top games of the week, as well as a brief look at the rest of the fixtures in Week 1 of the Gallagher Premiership. Throughout the season, make sure to take a look at our Premiership Rugby betting tips for previews every week, and head over to Bet UK’s online betting for the latest rugby betting odds for all matches.
Bristol Bears v Bath - Friday 18th October at 19:45
We kick off the season at Ashton Gate as Bristol host Bath in front of what will likely be a sell out crowd. Neither of these sides will be expecting to win the Premiership this season, but starting the season with a fierce rivalry like this is the perfect way to get back into domestic rugby.
Bristol were one of the quieter teams in the off season this year, but still made a couple of key improvements. England internationals Nathan Hughes and Dave Attwood will be expected to make their debut at Ashton Gate this Friday after summer moves. Attwood will be facing his old team in what is set to be a baptism for the ex-Bath lock. Bristol are 2 for 2 in the Premiership Rugby Cup so far. They’ve ended up on the winning side against London Irish and Gloucester, while losing to Harlequins and Exeter. The results were to be expected from a Bristol side that mostly struggled last year. A victory in the opener against Bath could be the kick on that they need to push for their first playoff finish in 12 years.
It’s hard to look back on Bath’s season last year to predict how they will get on this time around. They’ve got a new Director Of Rugby in Stuart Hooper and will welcome back some faces after long term injuries blighted Bath last term. Bath didn’t add much quality in the summer, but when you take into account the returning players they missed, those players alone will bring a huge boost. Bath have struggled in the Premiership Rugby Cup so far. They did manage a win against Worcester, but the Warriors are the heavy favourites to be relegated this season. Elsewhere, they lost to Exeter, Leicester and Gloucester. That’s not an easy run in, but it is hard to inspire your squad after 3 defeats from 4.
Bet UK’s Verdict
We think home advantage will sway this one for Bristol. When they sell out their home ground, with 26,000 fans pushing them on, there aren’t many more hostile stadiums in British rugby. We saw that in last season’s opener and it should be a similar game this time around.
Saracens v Northampton Saints - 3:00pm Saturday 19th October
Saracens enter the season as favourites once again after improving on an already world class squad last season. Northampton Saints were one of rugby’s most entertaining sides last year, but I’m sure they would trade some of that entertaining play for a season of Premiership success.
England full back Elliot Daly was the biggest signing for Saracens this summer, a sign to the rest of the league that they are determined to win the Premiership and Champions Cup once again. However, Daly is one of 15 Saracens players away at the Rugby World Cup. That will be the biggest worry for Mark McCall, when will he have a full squad with full fitness? Every side is in the same situation but with 15 missing, few teams have been hindered more than Saracens. That hasn’t stopped them dominating in the Premiership Rugby Cup however. The Premiership Rugby Cup is the cup competition that runs alongside the Premiership, and started back in September. In 4 rounds so far, Saracens have won 3 games, only losing once to Sale Sharks. One of the teams they have beaten was Northampton Saints, with a 54-28 win at Franklin’s Gardens. Saracens’ scoring hasn’t suffered at all, with 149 points scored in just 4 games, an average of just under 38 points per game.
Northampton are trying to build on an impressive 4th place finish last season and will want to prove that a play off finish is the new norm, rather than a one off. Chris Boyd has continued to fill his squad with talent from New Zealand, a strategy that will more than likely pay off. Unlike Saracens, Northampton haven’t been too heavily hit by the Rugby World Cup. They are only missing 7 players from their squad, but are struggling to prepare without some of their star players. Whereas Saracens are still flying in the Premiership Rugby Cup, the same can’t be said for Northampton.They’ve been beaten by Sale, Wasps and Saracens, but did manage a win last time out against Leicester Tigers. They’ve conceded 151 points in those 4 games, including 54 against Saracens. The pre season won’t have settled any worries for Northampton fans about their leaky defence, and with an opener against Saracens, it’s unlikely to get any easier.
Bet UK’s Verdict
We expect Saracens to carry on from their Premiership Rugby Cup and put Northampton to the sword. As we mentioned, despite the players that they are missing, they are still a cut above most of the teams in the Premiership. A heavy win for Saracens will set them on the way to another title defence.
The Rest Of The Week 1 Fixtures
Worcester Warriors (5/6) v Leicester Tigers (EVS) - Saturday 19th October at 15:00
This is the second time in a month that Worcester have hosted Leicester, after a 57-23 win in the Premiership Rugby Cup back in September. That result came as a shock to many given the pre season predictions for both sides. Neither side impressed last season, but where many think that Leicester have improved, Worcester fans are being prepared for the worst. Back in the Gallagher Premiership, we expect Leicester to return to their best form and open their account with a win, heaping misery on Worcester in the process.
Sale Sharks (10/27) v Gloucester (41/20) - Saturday 19th October at 15:00
In most weeks, this game would be the one to watch. This was actually the fixture on the final day of last season, when Sale edged it with a 46-41 win in a 13 try game. We could see a fixture just as exciting this time around as both teams look to start their playoff push with a win. Gloucester arguably have the edge over Sale, even with the players missing at the World Cup. Expect another high scoring game, but with Gloucester taking the win this time around.
Exeter Chiefs (2/11) v Harlequins (15/4) - Saturday 19th October at 15:00
Exeter Chiefs fans are arguably amongst the most frustrated in the Premiership at this point. They’ve lost 3 of the last 4 Premiership finals, despite finishing top of the league for the last 2 years. Their regular season performances have actually improved, but we might see them focus on the playoffs this time around. Harlequins were inches away from a play off place last year and will put up a fight against Exeter. Exeter’s loss against Leicester in September will provide hope for Harlequins, but we expect the Chiefs to get off to a strong start here.
Wasps (2/13) v London Irish (17/4) - Sunday 20th October at 15:00
The final game of the opening weekend sees the return of London Irish to the Premiership. So far, Irish have struggled in the Premiership Rugby Cup, excluding a surprise win over Gloucester. Wasps haven’t fared much better but have had a much harder run in ahead of the start of the season. London Irish are also missing 6 players at the World Cup, compared to just 2 from Wasps. All signs are pointing towards Wasps starting the season with a win and spoiling the party for London Irish’s return.
Play Book Of Dead at Bet UK
*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
If you are betting on Premiership Rugby, please gamble responsibly and remember that when the fun stops, stop. All players must be 18+, begambleaware.org