Betting on form
Sky Bet's Jordan Fiddes expects European form to play it's part this week
By Jordan Fiddes - Twitter: @SkyJordanFiddes. Last Updated: 11/10/13 3:32pm
Toulon: Favourites to lift the famous trophy for a second year running
After their Heineken Cup glory last year, Toulon remain the favourites to lift the European trophy again this season.
The Jonny Wilkinson inspired campaign in 2012/13 ended with a one-point victory over Clermont in the final - who also lead the way in the outright market.
The holders have been handed a favourable group with Exeter, Cardiff and, this week's opponents, Glasgow, all over 40/1 to lift the Cup.
Captained by Wilkinson, Toulon have a +15 handicap against the Warriors, who currently sit top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table.
After winning their opening five games in the domestic competition, the Scots will be in buoyant mood and with a 15 point start, punters will be interested.
Of course, they are heading to the cauldron that is the Stade Mayol - a place Toulon have not lost since January - so the early price of 1/16 for the home side is understandable too.
Chris Ashton: Joint favourite to open the scoring against Connacht
Up against it
The biggest handicap on Friday is for the much-fancied Saracens side, who finished top of the Aviva Premiership last term.
They face a Connacht side who have lost their last four league matches by more than 11 points and have been hampered by a number of injuries.
The Sarries are, of course, odds-on to win the game but the home-side have a huge 14 point start which they would have covered in five of their six Heineken Cup games last year.
The travelling side, however, come into the game full of confidence - boasting the meanest defence and best attack of all the English sides - so expect them to score tries.
Strettle and Ashton lead the try scorer markets - they are 6/1 each to cross first - after they scored six tries between them in the opening five Aviva Premiership games.
Toulouse are the biggest favourite of the opening weekend as they host perennial strugglers Zebre.
The Italians lost all of their European games last season and 26 out of 27 league games so it is no surprise that the home side are a massive 1/1000 to win the game.
Munster will have a much sterner test away at Edinburgh on Saturday, yet they are -8 favourites in the handicap market.
The two-time winners of the competition have won 11 of the last 13 meetings against this week's opponents with four of those coming away from home.
Form English side, Northampton, don't have such a good record away from home in the Heineken Cup, losing 11 of 14 trips across the border in France.
This week, they face the current French Champions in Castres and will be slight outsiders at 11/10.
They will be a popular bet, however, largely due to their off-season recruitment and good start to the Premiership campaign.
In contrast, Harlequins have experienced an indifferent start to their domestic season but face a Scarlets side who have struggled in this competition of late.
The visitors have lost nine of their previous 10 games in the Heineken Cup and have been given an 11 point start against the Londoners.
Conor O'Shea's men have a good record in this competition though - winning 11 of their last 13 - and are another home side with a short price at 1/7.