Time to step up
Sky Bet's Jordan Fiddes predicts the English sides to bounce back in the final Heineken Cup Pool games
By Jordan Fiddes - Twitter: @SkyJordanFiddes. Last Updated: 17/01/14 12:52pm
Saracens: Expected to transfer their league form into the latter stages of the Heineken Cup
Saracens highlighted the difference in class between the domestic and European competitions last week as they went down 21-11 in Toulouse.
Sweeping aside all before them in the Aviva Premiership proved irrelevant as they were dominated by the Frenchmen's pack.
They'll be looking to put things right again this weekend when they host Irish outfit Connacht and, if the odds are anything to go by, they'll manage that comfortably.
You'll have to be a millionaire to win any money in the outright market as the English league leaders are 1/100 to win the game.
The handicap is a little trickier, however, as the home side begin the match at -22 points, something they have only managed to surpass against whipping boys Zebre in this season's Heineken Cup.
It was a narrow score line when the two sides met at The Sportsground back in Round One but, it's fair to say that the Sarries have hit their stride somewhat since then.
In the Aviva Premiership, Mark McCall's men have won their last six games and, prior to last weekend's defeat in France, they had won their last ten in all competitions.
The 23-17 win over Connacht in October was a relief to the travelling English outfit as the Galway side came within inches of snatching a dramatic last-gasp victory.
It wasn't to be on that occasion but, if you think they could go one better this week, you can get a healthy 16/1 in the outright market.
To play it safe, it's a good bet to go for the away side on the handicap of +22 at 10/11.
Miles Benjamin: Helping Leicester continue their amazing home form in the Heineken Cup
Fellow English giants, Leicester, find themselves as odds-on favourites too this weekend, albeit with a much shorter handicap.
Their short price is largely due to home advantage - the Tigers have remarkably not lost a Heineken Cup game at home since October 2006 - though a 22-16 win for Ulster in Round One means it's just 8/13 on the Welford Road outfit.
The match will decide who finishes top of Pool 5 with a bonus point victory for Richard Cockerill's men making a real statement heading into the knockout rounds.
On the 'Alternative Handicap' market, Leicester are a solid 3/1 to win by more than 12 points - to give them the bonus point - something that they have managed in half of their home games this season.
One of the shocks of the European Cup so far this year came in Round One when Edinburgh upset the odds - they were 6/1 to win - and claim the competition points against Munster.
It's revenge for the Irish stalwarts this week as they welcome the men from Murrayfield to Thomond Park.
Lying at opposite ends of the Pro12 table means that Munster have a 15 point handicap to tackle coming into Sunday's game.
The win for Edinburgh back in October was their first win over Munster in the Heineken Cup and they are a massive 8/1 to replicate that this week.
One thing which may work in the travelling side's favour is that the two-time Heineken Cup winners have already qualified for the next round, yet they'll be after a home tie in the quarter finals so shouldn't be taking them too lightly.
Saracens' very physical encounter with Toulouse last weekend may have a bearing in the later stages against Connacht so expect an Irish comeback.
Leicester's incredible home record should prevail against Ulster - especially with the vociferous Welford Road faithful behind them.