Saints have the best chance of the English clubs

Jim Mallinder and Northampton Saints are chasing European Champions Cup glory this weekend
Jim Mallinder and Northampton Saints are chasing European Champions Cup glory this weekend

Rugby Union’s European Champions Cup reaches the quarter-final stage this week but with all four Aviva Premiership sides playing away from home in the last eight, bookies don’t give any English team a chance of lifting the trophy.

Northampton Saints have the best chance according to the odds, Skybet rating them at 20/1 in the outright market but as they head to Clermont Auvergne on Saturday, they’re as high as 7/2 with Stan James to get to the semi-final.

Nevertheless, Saints catch the eye in bet365’s handicaps when starting eight points in front.

Also on Saturday, Bath look the part at 4/7 (BetVictor) when given an eight-point advantage while in Easter Sunday’s two clashes, William Hill rate Racing Metro at 10/11 when starting five adrift of visiting Saracens and tournament favourites Toulon should have the measure of Wasps – the French outfit are 10/11 via Paddy Power to cover their opponents’ 15-point cushion.

Manchester United’s victory over Liverpool at Anfield before the international break made the Premier League top-four picture look somewhat clearer, giving the Old Trafford giants a five point lead over their rivals from just down the East Lancashire Road.

And betway responded by cutting United to just 3/10 to end up in the Champions League places.

Another defeat for Brendan Rodgers’s side, this time at Arsenal, could as good as put paid to their own hopes of sneaking into fourth, in turn anchoring the Gunners in situ and it’s the north London outfit that bookies plump for, William Hill installing them as 17/20 favourites to claim a crucial maximum haul.

The Reds head to the Emirates Stadium as BetVictor’s 10/3 underdogs and they’re 14/5 (Stan James) to just about stay in the hunt by grabbing a share of the spoils, just as they did on home soil in December’s reverse fixture.

But in-form Arsenal’s home record is bettered only by that of leaders Chelsea so they get the nod to make it seven wins on the in the spin in all competitions.

Arsene Wenger’s charges look decent value at 8/1 with bet365 to follow United’s lead by seeing off Liverpool, any Gunners success by one comes in at a healthy 3/1 (BetVictor) and Olivier Giroud, who has struck four times in three outings, is the stand out first scorer option at 4/1 courtesy of Winner.com.

Chelsea entertain Stoke on Saturday and look set to continue their seemingly inexorable march to the title, Stan James offering the Blues at just 3/10 to send the Potters home empty-handed.

The visitors can at least trouble their hosts though so a wager on both teams to find the net (8/5, BetVictor) isn’t without appeal at Stamford Bridge, where Jose Mourinho’s team are 13/5 via bet365 to triumph without keeping a clean sheet.

At Old Trafford, Manchester United are a relatively safe bet at 1/3 with Paddy Power to get the better of struggling Aston Villa, Skybet rate their neighbours Manchester City at 4/6 to pick up the three points at Crystal Palace and Stan James go 11/10 about Tottenham ultimately proving too strong for Burnley at Turf Moor. That trio, meanwhile, combine at 7/2 (bet365) in a tempting treble.

Sunderland have enjoyed the upper hand in recent Tyne-Wear derby showdowns with rivals Newcastle but Sunday’s renewal is a tasty 9/4 at Ladbrokes to finish all-square and it’s also 9/4, this time via Stan James to be inconclusive at Goodison Park, where Everton tackle Southampton.

At the wrong end of the table, it could go from bad to worse on the road for QPR, just 3/4 thanks to bet365 to emerge with nothing from their visit to West Brom, Skybet price Swansea at 10/11 to ensure Hull are still embroiled in a dogfight by edging them out at the Liberty Stadium and BetVictor offer 12/5 about bottom club Leicester and West Ham dividing the points.

In Golf, Bubba Watson is 11/1 courtesy of bet365 to retain his title in next week’s Masters, the first major of 2015.

Rory McIlroy heads the betting, however, at 11/2 (Stan James) and Ladbrokes chalk youngster Jordan Spieth up at 10/1 to land his maiden major at Augusta.

Tiger Woods has been desperately trying to regain his fitness but makes for no appeal in the betting at 40/1 via betway, with the likes of Rickie Fowler (33/1, BetVictor) and Matt Kuchar (33/1, Winner.com) set to offer punters a better run for their money from an each-way perspective.

Bet of the week: Rickie Fowler to win the Masters – 33/1 (BetVictor)

Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com