Aviva Premiership: Saracens v Wasps Preview

Rugby players pack down for scrum

The pick of this week's Aviva Premiership action sees Saracens take on Wasps on Sunday the 8th of October.

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The Aviva Premiership serves up a delectable dish this Sunday with 2015/16 Champions Saracens taking on 2016/17 runners-up Wasps. Both sides are in a state of flux due to a number of their seasoned campaigners either retiring or moving on to pastures new during the off-season. Player turnover has hindered the visitors much more than the hosts though, with Wasps currently sitting ninth on the log and 'Saries only a point off log leaders Northampton.

Saracens v London Wasps | Sunday 9 October | Allianz Park | 16:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Saracens 2/13 | Draw 30.1 | Wasps 9/2
Saracens 9/10 (-14.5) | Wasps 9/10 (+14.5) *Expected handicap

Saracens may only be a solitary point off the table toppers but it has not been as composed a start from the champions of Europe as one would expect. Yes, they've racked up some solid wins, including a mammoth 55-24 victory over Northampton the opening day, but they haven't dominated all facets of the game as they have in the past. Their backline has looked good but their pack haven't impressed as one would expect. Perhaps that's due to the absence of some notable players as well as a rotational system, but I just haven't been as impressed with the Saracens heavies as I have been in the past.

Wasps come to town in wretched form and could well be torn apart by the Saracens back division, which is likely to feature the talented Owen Farell. The England international has been used sparingly by coach Mark McCall thus far, but with Champions Cup action a week away, the Saracens mentor will want to give his first choice pivot some much-needed game time. And with Wasps really without first choice ten Danny Cipriani, this game could well turn into the Owen Farrell show.

The Coventry outfit were always going to struggle to be as effective with ball-in-hand after Kurtley Beale returned to Australia. The Wallabie, who has been in sensational touch during the Rugby Championship, was the fulcrum of Wasps attack from January onwards. And is one of those players you struggle to replace.

While Beale's absence was alway going to blunt Wasps' attack significantly, an early-season injury to mercurial fly-half Danny Cipriani has further weakened Wasps on offence. The Englishman is one of the few players in the Wasps camp that can spark something out of nothing. And whilst his understudy, veteran Jimmy Gopperth, is a solid ten, he doesn't have the ability to spark a backline into action a la Cipriani.

Verdict: Saracens (-14.5) 9/10 *Handicap to be added upon release
I suspect the 9/10 handicap will be around the 14.5 mark which, while rather high, offers terrific value for minus punters as Wasps are really, and I mean really, struggling at the moment. They were poor against Bath last week and they'll be poor against 'Saries this Sunday. My advice here is to add the straight home win to all multiples and get on the minus handicap as soon as it comes out.

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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