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Spivtastic Euro Cup Easter weekend

Discussion in 'Other Sports Betting' started by Doc, Mar 27, 2018.

  1. Doc

    Doc Member

    Messages:
    34
    So, this weekend we have:

    Scarlets -4 vs La Rochelle (Fri)
    Munster -4 vs Toulon (Sat)
    Clermont -6 vs Racing (Sun)
    Leinster -6 vs Saracens (Sun)

    In the baby-Spiv, we have

    Newcastle -14 vs Brive (Fri)
    Pau -11 vs Stade Francais (Fri)
    Connacht -4 vs Gloucester (Sat)
    Edinburgh -6 vs Cardiff (Sat)

    Thoughts to follow in due course
  2. Doc

    Doc Member

    Messages:
    34
    First reactions - but will be carefully checking team announcements, injury updates, weather etc....so caveat emptor

    Scarlets sent out a signal by resting several of their big guns (internationals) last week, so I think they're really targeting a win here against La Rochelle who are in their first attempt at this competition. First instinct is to back Scarlets- La Rochelle haven't won an away game since November.

    Munster one is tough enough to call, with Munster having a ton of injuries in the backline. If they can cobble together some kind of defensive effort with fit players they can win this. Toulon are imperious at home, but they've only won 4 away games all season. Leaning towards -4

    Will probably avoid the Clermont - Racing game. Clermont have given up on the T14 this season so probably leaning towards them, as Racing are very much in the mix there.

    Leinster-Sarries is another one where the injuries will be watched carefully. Leinster, notwithstanding their back row depth, are stretched in that area - Ruddock and O'Brien are reportedly in contention, but the Leinster medical bulletins tend to be over-optimistic. Van der Flier is definitely out and Conan is a major doubt. 3rd choice scrumhalf Nick McCarthy is also a doubt, and they've had a rash of injuries to their three quarters - Dave Kearney and Noel Reid joining Henshaw on the sidelines. That combined picture complicates matters with regard to their overseas players (of whom they can only have 2 in their squad) - Fardy, Lowe and Gibson-Park. With all players fit, you feel the latter would miss out, but they may need him on the bench with probably Lowe missing out. They may not want to risk both Ruddock and O'Brien. Sarries are definitely without Vunipola and apparently Farrell and Kruis are major doubts. If all the above miss out, then there'll be an experience deficit and home advantage will be more important. Best guess is Leinster to win, but 6 points is a tough ask, albeit one the optimist in me foresees.
  3. Doc

    Doc Member

    Messages:
    34
    Normally I'm very cautious about betting here, but Brive are in big trouble in the league - currently in a relegation spot but with two teams ahead of them by only 2 league points. Newcastle are flying high in the league under Dean Richards and I could see this one being a procession.

    Definitely steering clear of the Pau-Stade Francais one for now. Both teams will be way more focused on the league. Stade are one of the above 2 teams battling to stay out the relegation zone, while Pau are hanging on to 6th place with Lyon and Castres 4 and 5 points behind. Could be two sets of espoirs here.

    I'm very interested to hear some news coming from Gloucester to get an insight into their mindset. They're in contention in the league, currently in 6th place. Connacht's league form has been pretty terrible, but they have played well in Europe this year. They'll need big performances from Aki and Marmion, and with hero John Muldoon to retire this year, I suspect they'll really be targeting winning this competition - not least because it seems their only way into the senior competition next season.

    Edinburgh -6 seems to be the obvious bet here - both sides are on a roll, but home advantage should see Edinburgh home.

    More on both comps later in the week
  4. Doc

    Doc Member

    Messages:
    34
    So, never got back to the predictions last time out. Instinct 50% right on the main competition and only 1/3 on the secondary!

    This weeks matches and odds:

    Major Spiv:
    Leinster -11.5 Scarlets Saturday
    Racing -4 Munster Sunday

    Minor Spiv:
    Gloucester -7 Newcastle Friday
    Cardiff -4 Pau Saturday
  5. Doc

    Doc Member

    Messages:
    34
    No team news yet for the games in the main competition, but teams for tomorrows game between Gloucester and Newcastle are out. I'm not a regular watcher of the English league, so can't make that informed a call. General context is that winning this competition gets automatic entry into Europe (otherwise restricted to the top 6 in the league). Top 4 in the league make playoffs. Gloucester are currently in 6th with Newcastle in 4th, with only 7 points separating 3rd from 7th in the league (6 points between 2nd and 3rd, and 8 points between 7th and 8th. So competition is hot. Making the league playoffs would be seen as a bigger prize for both, and I assume it is on that basis that the bookies are favouring Gloucester heavily. All games are at 'neutral' (but in the country of the first listed team) venues. Both sides have tough run-ins, so I suspect focus won't be so strong. In these circumstances team selection will tell a lot (if you know who is normally picked - but I don't! LOL) the the first few minutes normally dictates the match result.
    I've no inkling with regard to the other game, but can say that Cardiff are on a fantastic run of form, and their thrashing of Embra in the QF suggests they are targeting silverware. The -4 seems like very tasty, especially as Pau are locked in a battle to make top 6 in their league (which is playoffs AND Europe)

    In the Leinster game there are a few injury concerns for Leinster, which suggests that they may be slightly off full strength in some key areas, and probably particularly in impact off the bench. Most worrying is scrum-half McGrath, who if he isn't fit means other changes (due to restriction on overseas players). Conflicting reports about whether he'll make it, but latest ones suggesting he definitely won't. I'd still expect Leinsters tight 5 and big game experience to kick in, but the -11.5 seems too big an ask to me, especially with the injury concerns. Scarlets came to Dublin twice last year in the league finals and beat both Leinster and Munster, so they won't have any fear.

    Racing Munster is harder to call. Rumours that Zebo may drop to the bench seem strange to me. Munster this year remind me very much of the 06 vintage. Good players in most positions and excellent players in some, but by comparison to the best teams, they overperform in big games, hanging in and winning games against teams of (on paper) perhaps better players on aggregate. Racing impressed in winning away to Clermont, albeit with help from some very dodgy refereeing (although Munster got their rub of the green too!). Racing have yet to close the deal and while Munster haven't won a big trophy with many/any of these players they do have the grand slam heroics and memories of some key players. 30 degree weather in the south of France is an ask for both teams, but I think Munster can do it, or at least make it into a nailbiter decided by a point or two. Munster +4 seems sensible
    slick likes this.
  6. traeth

    traeth Moderator

    Messages:
    1,701
    Hi Doc , I agree with you that +12 cap is generous.

    Scarlets team

    15. Rhys Patchell
    14. Leigh Halfpenny
    13. Hadleigh Parkes
    12. Scott Williams
    11. Steff Evans
    10. Dan Jones
    9. Gareth Davies
    1. Rob Evans
    2. Ken Owens (capt)
    3. Samson Lee
    4. Tadhg Beirne
    5. David Bulbring
    6. Aaron Shingler
    7. James Davies
    8. John Barclay


    Replacements
    16. Ryan Elias
    17. Dylan Evans
    18. Werner Kruger
    19. Steve Cummins
    20. Lewis Rawlins
    21. Aled Davies
    22. Steff Hughes
    23. Wil Boyde

    A decent Scarlets side but a weak bench whilst here's the Leinster side

    15. Rob Kearney
    14. Fergus McFadden
    13. Garry Ringrose
    12. Robbie Henshaw
    11. Isa Nacewa
    10. Johnny Sexton
    9. Jamison Gibson-Park
    1. Cian Healy
    2. Seán Cronin
    3. Tadhg Furlong
    4. Devin Toner
    5. James Ryan
    6. Scott Fardy
    7. Dan Leavy
    8. Jordi Murphy

    16. James Tracy
    17. Jack McGrath
    18. Andrew Porter
    19. Ross Molony
    20. Jack Conan
    21. Nick McCarthy
    22. Joey Carbery
    23. Jordan Larmour

    A very strong side with a very good bench.

    To win this match the Scarlets need all their players to perform , an early injury in the backs would seriosly weaken them. They need to get points early as they did last year. The Scarlets back three need to be switched on to cope with Sexton's kicking game, I have reservations about the options that Steff Evans takes.
    The only Leinster weakness I can see is at scrum half , here's hoping that there are players carrying an injury.
    I'm going for an outstanding performance from Cubby (James Davies) to give the Scarlets the win.
    I'm not very confident and will make my betting decision tomorrow.

    p.s. 5 of my ex team mates are travelling on the 6a.m. ferry tomorrow for the match
  7. Doc

    Doc Member

    Messages:
    34
    Hi Traeth

    nice to have some dialogue!
    Some comments on potential Leinster weaknesses
    Kearney is in good form, but he has always been succeptible to being stepped in open field. McFadden is usually pretty solid in defence, as in Nacewa, but the latter is 35 and has mainly played centre this season. He did show a bit of toe versus Saracens on one break, but at 35, you'd have to wonder if he got isolated in a foot race. Ringrose is an excellent defender at 13 though, and the outside three are much less vulnerable with him there. Henshaw may be rusty after a layoff (you'd imagine they tested his shoulder thoroughly in training) although he has come back well in similar circumstances before
    Sexton was poor in the league semi final last year, but he has been in great form recently. I agree on 9, with the only caveat that most of his performances have been in weaker sides and without Sexton at 10. He'll have Sexton in his ear the whole game, so (from a Leinster viewpoint) hopefully he just passes the damn thing quickly and well to Sexton and lets him control. Leinster pack is very strong and in good form and that is where I see this being won. Scarlets are good, but I think they lack the horsepower for this task.

    Leinster bench also less strong than often the case in big games recently. That could be a factor as both sides play high tempo, the forecast is for warm dry weather and Scarlets are very fit.
  8. traeth

    traeth Moderator

    Messages:
    1,701
    Leinster 38-16 Scarlets
    smashed the cap
    Scarlets did well to get this far, but they would need all the players at the top of their level to have a chance against a team who have performed well year-in, year-out over the last 10 years.
    Leinster were phenomenal. They went through the usual multiple phases, but when switched they gained yards each time. An excellent performance. Sexton as usual dictated the game and I was impressed by Gibson-Park who I'd expected to be the weak link but I was proved wrong
  9. Doc

    Doc Member

    Messages:
    34
    So, Gloucester won handily enough - from what I saw they seemed more committed than Newcastle, who perhaps are focussing on their top 4 finish in the league.
    Cardiff beat the cap as expected, although Pau did come to play to be fair to them.
    Leinster beat Scarlets out the gate to harden their status as firm favourites.
    Munster dominated position and posession but played pretty poorly - notably at 2 and 10, with (for once) Conor Murray having an ordinary game (finished well enough after a very ropey start). Defensively though they were a mess coughing up 3 fairly soft tries and although they closed to within 5, all of that was in garbage time when Racing were playing the clock down. Racing turned up for sure, but they'll know that they weren't really tested and it will be a whole different ball game against Leinster.

    Leinster are installed as -8 for the final which seems very tasty. Despite their performance on Saturday, there are a significant number of Leinster players who'll be expected to be back fit and in contention to make their squad even stronger.

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