Northampton Saints vs Exeter Chiefs

The Chiefs come into this match on a five game winning run while the Saints have lost two of the last three games. It was not so long ago that the Saints were in a position for the playoffs but their poor form at home has seen that ambition very quickly disappear. The Chiefs are peaking at the right time and look like favourites to retain their title. Their demolition of Newcastle was scary to watch for all future opposition. It may have been a weakened Newcastle team but the Chiefs had all their processes working in sync. There doesn’t seem to be any weakness in this Chiefs team and the Saints will have their work cut out for them. The Chiefs obvious strength lies in their forwards led by the undisputed player of the season, Sam Simmonds. This guy is unbelievably and keeps scoring tries, now extending his own record for most tries in a season. It’s still mind boggling how Eddie Jones overlooked him for the England team. Saints strangely enough have a better record away from home than at home. In this league if teams lose their home games they will not make the playoffs. The Saints team rely heavily on Welsh star Dan Biggar and if the players around him can show the same fight that he does then they could run the Chiefs close. The home team has shown that they are very strong on attack but unfortunately they concede too many soft tries. They will also need to be better disciplined as the Chiefs rarely kick for posts. They kick for the corner and use their rolling maul to score tries. The Saints will have to be at their defensive best to keep the rolling maul at bay and will need Courtney Lawes and all his experience to stop the threat.

TIP: The Chiefs have the Sale Sharks breathing down their necks for second place so they will need the bonus point win to keep the Sharks away from second spot and the all-important home semi-final. The Saints will also be desperate for a win to secure their place in European competition next season. All this makes for an interesting clash but could well come down to the brute strength of the Chiefs pack against the Saints eight. The Chiefs don’t only have a great pack but have the likes of Stuart Hogg and Tom O’Flaherty ready to tear defences apart with their speed. This looks like a battle that the Saints can’t win therefore I’m tipping the Chiefs for an easy victory. The bookies have the Chiefs as favourites and these are the best odds on the away win: Worldsportsbetting 1.28, Playabets 1.25 and Sunbet 1.29

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

Northampton Saints vs Exeter Chiefs

  • In the last six meetings there have been five Chiefs wins compared to the one win for the Saints.
  • In the last eight meeting between these sides, there have been six home wins and just two away victories..
  • The last time the sides met the Saints won 13-12.

Latest results for both teams

The Chiefs won their last match 74-3 against Newcastle while Saints won their last match against Wasps 30-25.

PREDICTION

Since Exeter was knocked out of the Champions Cup their results have been outstanding. The reason for this is consistency in selection as Coach Baxter has been selecting his best XV each match. The power of the Chiefs can’t be over stated as the scrum is powerful but even more potent is the loose trio of Simmonds, Dave Ewers and Jacques Vermeulen. The Saints are going to have to find a way to stop this trio as they will continually get over the advantage line. The strengths of the Chiefs don’t stop there as Henry Slade remains the best centre in the league and was sublime in their last match with his distribution skills setting up two tries. Saints will need to get the likes of big Taqele Naiyaravoro and Ollie Sleightholme involved in the game as they are proven try scoring players. The Chiefs will be too strong overall for this Saints team therefore I predict an Exeter win by more than 13 points

  • Probable Starting XVs

Northampton Saints

15 Tommy Freeman, 14 Ollie Sleightholme, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Fraser Dingwall, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tom James, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 Dave Ribbans, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller

Exeter Chiefs

15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (captain), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Alec Hepburn

Odds for this bet

The best odds on the Exeter victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting 1.28

Playabets 1.25

Sunbet 1.29

Odds comparison on the Exeter handicap:

The complete odds on the Exeter handicap:

Worldsportsbetting (-9.5) 1.90

Sunbet (-8.5) 1.82

Playabets (-9.5) 1.89

Predictions and Odds in details

The champions struggled early on in the season and many thought that they will relinquish their crown but they have come back storming in the latter half of the season like true champions. The Saints have blown hot and cold all season and you never know which Saints team will turn up. In this match if they are not fully focused then the Chiefs will romp to an easy victory. As with all games the forward battle will decide the game and unfortunately for the Saints there is no stronger forward pack than the Chiefs. The battle between Dan Biggar and Joe Simmonds stands out as one of the highlights with the Exeter ten keen to show that he is ready for higher honours. The odds on the Chiefs don’t offer punters much value in a game that I expect Exeter to dominate. The suggested value bet is Exeter on the handicap. The best odds on the Exeter handicap is as follows: Worldsportsbetting (-9.5) 1.90, Sunbet (-8.5) 1.82 and Playabets (-9.5) 1.89

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