Sky Bet's Jordan Fiddes explains his fancies from Sunday's Heineken Cup action
By Jordan Fiddes - Twitter: @JordanFiddes85. Last Updated: January 12, 2013 8:22pm
Niall Morris: Backed to deliver for Leicester at Ospreys
It is the return of the Heineken Cup this weekend and time for Europe's big names to deliver in their penultimate group games on Sunday.
Despite only one English side being in action, I'm able to bow to my patriotic instincts, backing Leicester as they take on the Welsh outfit Ospreys, who have been dealt a real blow ahead of the Tigers' visit.
There was a lot of talk before this one about who would win the battle in the centres.
The attention has since relocated from the backs, however, with the news that Ospreys' Wales international centre Ashley Beck will be out of action for two months with an ankle injury.
Therefore, a lot of emphasis will be placed in the forwards where the Welsh may well come up short as in Argentinian prop Marcos Ayerza, Leicester have a man who knows how to win tough games.
Not only has he featured 40 times for his country, he has won nearly 75% of the games he has played for the Tigers.
With Ayerza in the front row alongside Tom Youngs and the returning Dan Cole, Leicester are more than capable of setting a platform for their star-studded backline to convert into points.
Niall Morris makes his 15th start for the Tigers and he has already scored six tries in his short career.
With that record, I'm going for Morris to score the opening try in this one at 11/1.
If you don't fancy those brave odds, he's a very good price at 9/4 to score anytime.
With internationals Ben Youngs, Toby Flood and Manu Tuilagi outside the experienced pack, I can see a nice victory for the men from the Midlands.
This is a good chance to beat the bookies too as they have Ospreys at very slight favourites. Leicester have a +1 handicap but, once again, the alternative handicap is where the value lies.
In this week's treble, add Leicester -5 at 2/1 as the two-time champions look to secure a victory which will all but seal qualification from Pool 2.
Another famous Heineken Cup name, Munster, will also be looking for an away win on Sunday.
While a victory will be the primary objective, they have good reason to be targeting a bonus point too.
Currently lying in third, the extra point would give them a huge boost and a great chance of qualifying for the quarter-final stage.
The bookmakers have given their opponents, Edinburgh, a 10-point start, but I'm backing the Irishmen to beat that and take the bonus point.
At -10 they are 10/11 and that is the second entry to my Sunday treble.
Although they are third in the table, they are only one point behind second-place Racing Metro and have an impressive defensive record.
They currently lie fourth in the defensive table, having only conceded 50 points in this year's competition.
Therefore, while they are in search of the points, they will also be hard to break down, so for Munster to beat this week's handicap looks a solid bet.
The final fixture on Sunday sees French side Toulouse take on Treviso of Italy in a real European affair.
Toulouse, understandably, are massive favourites for this one, with Sky Bet giving them a 25-point start.
For me, that's too big for any team in this competition, especially at just 10/11, so I have found some worth elsewhere.
In the Top 14 Toulouse have scored more tries than anyone else with 38 and, as they are chasing Leicester in Pool 2, they will be pulling out all the stops to gain a big scoreline.
Therefore, Toulouse to score a try as the 'first scoring play' at 2/1 is my final addition to this week's treble.
This week's treble works out at a little over 17/1 this week so it will be a nice return if all three come in.
A word from the Sky Bet trading room...
"Although there is the potential for some one-sided score lines on Sunday, we have taken a fair amount of bets on the handicaps in the three games.
"Leicester have proven popular with the punters on the outright market at evens and they also like the look of the 'double result' of Leicester half-time/Leicester full-time at 15/8.
"Of course, everyone is staying well away from Treviso, as they do most weeks, and Toulouse on the 'alternative handicap' markets have taken a battering this week.
"People are seeing a landslide there and, so far, the most popular handicap is Toulouse -51 at 12/1."