Aviva Premiership: Outright Preview

We preview the upcoming Aviva Premiership season kicking off Friday the 1st of September.

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The 2017/18 Aviva Premiership season gets underway this coming weekend and we’ve got you covered with our outright betting preview.

The jewel in the Northern hemisphere’s domestic rugby season kicks off this coming weekend, with clubs around England set to commence battle for the first since May’s thrilling final between the Exeter Chiefs and the London Wasps.

The 2016/17 season proved to be an absolute cracker and there’s no reason that this season won’t provide the same sort of fireworks. Anyway, that’s enough with the niceties, let’s get stuck into this one like a fetcher at the breakdown.

New Kids on The Block
The Aviva Premiership has seen a mass overhaul in not only playing personnel but also coaches, with the likes of Johan Ackermann being lured to English shores to take on new rugby projects. The former Golden Lions mentor will be tasked with taking Gloucester from also-rans to Premiership ‘Champs. And while Ackermann did take a while to turn the Lions around, he has far more resources in Gloucester then his did in Gauteng.

On to the players now, and there are a few transfers that stand out, especially Saracens signing of Liam Williams. The Welsh international has opted to trade the quiet life in Swansea for the hustle and bustle of London, which is a smart move on his behalf as this Saracens dynasty looks set to continue for the next half decade.

The other two incoming players that are likely to catch the eye this term are Wallaby Rob Horne and South African young gun Ruan Ackermann. The latter is set to link up with his father at Gloucester while the former will be looking to add some grit to a Northampton backline that has failed to live up to their monstrous billing.

To Win Outright
Saracens 1/1 | Wasps 5/2 | Exeter Chiefs 4/1 | Leicester 12/1 | Bath 18/1 | Harlequins 40/1 | Northampton 40/1 | Gloucester 66/1 | Sale 150/1 | Newcastle 200/1 | Worcester 500/1 | London Irish 500/1

The Contenders
Okay, so the ‘books have gotten these prices absolutely spot on, but if you're looking for a belter in the top 4 then Leicester could be your team.

The Tigers were consistent enough last year and made the semi-finals. They’ve made some smart recruitments, especially in their back division which saw English internationals George Ford and Johnny May make their way to Welford Road. These two men will bring a lot more threat to the Tigers backline.

Moving on to some of the shorter priced teams now, and we start with the defending champions Exeter. The Chiefs certainly raised a few eyebrows last term as they claimed the Aviva Premiership crown. And while the team had been moving up the ranks since they were promoted to the top tier of English rugby in 2009, few would have expected them to pip Wasps and Saracens to last year’s title. Whether they can repeat the feat this year is up for debate, as you just know ‘Saries and Wasps are going to be chomping at the bit to get their hands on the title.

Speaking of Wasps, the 2016/17 season was another case of so close but yet so far for the star-studded side from England’s capital. Having dominated the regular season, Dai Young’s men looked set to claim their first title since 2007/08 but a dramatic extra time defeat to Exeter saw their barrenness streak extended. And while they will be determined to go one better this term, it’s hard to see them achieving this particularly with star backs Frank Halai and Kurtley Beale having left the club.

Like Wasps, Saracens have also lost a few of their big guns with devastating winger Chris Ashton moving to Toulon and the ever-reliable Petrus du Plessis having traded North London for South London by linking up with London Irish. They have also lost a plethora of their stalwarts to retirement with Will Fraser, Kelly Brown, Neil de Kock and Jim Hamilton all hanging up their boots. It’s going to take a mighty effort from the young guns and the new recruits if this Saracens side is to go the distance this season.

Season Betting Angle
I think this could prove to be the most open Premiership in recent memory. Both Saracens and Wasps have lost some key men which will cause all sorts of problems come the Six Nations when the big boys go on International duty. As such, I’m going to avoid the big boys for the time being and invest in some of the higher priced sides.

As I mentioned in the ‘Contenders’ segment of this piece, I quite fancy a dabble on the Tigers who are currently trading at a generous price of 12/1. The other team that catches my eye on the betting board, is Gloucester. Yes, they’ve lost a key player in goal kicking scrum-half Greig Laidlaw, but they have some big lads and I think Johan Ackermann will be able to get this team playing to his tune – although that tune will be very different to the one Ackermann composed at Emirates Airline Park.

To sum it up, I’d suggest a one-unit strike on Gloucester and a one-and-a-half-unit strike on the Tigers.

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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