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6-1 Chiefs can charge to Anglo-Welsh Cup crown

Premiership kings Exeter have reached last three cup finals

Sam Hill makes a break for Exeter in last year's Anglo-Welsh Cup final
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Best bet
Exeter 6-1
Premiership champions Exeter are going great guns in the league and the European Champions Cup so the Anglo-Welsh Cup is unlikely to be high on the priority list but they still rate good value at 6-1 to triumph. 

The Chiefs have reached the last three tournament finals - they triumphed in March 2014 before narrow defeats to Saracens in the spring of 2015 and Leicester seven months ago - and there seems to be no end in sight to the superb Sandy Park production line with spring-heeled back-rower Sam Simmonds the latest of their youngsters to gain international squad recognition.

Assimilation to team tactics, of powerful pack-work and direct running from backs, is seamless in the West Country too.

Sandy Park is a stronghold whatever the competition and Exeter host Pool Three big guns Northampton and Saracens, while Pool Two rivals Dragons, Harlequins and Sale are traditionally much worse travellers.  

Next best
Ospreys 33-1
Unsurprisingly, Saracens head the market and Leicester are Exeter's rivals in behind at 5-1 as they too have excellent recent history in the competition despite the international demands on their senior playing staff in the autumn and during the Six Nations.

However, for a second each-way wager, chance a charge at 33-1 from the Ospreys.

The Ospreys endured a shocking start to the Pro14 season but they have fronted up well in Champions Cup defeat to both European treble-chasers Sarries and last year's runners-up Clermont and enjoyed a confidence-boosting league success over the Dragons.

Losing large numbers of international stars and suffering plenty of injuries did not stop them from finishing level on points with Exeter in last season's pool, only missing out on progress because of tries scored.

And if the Tigers do trip up in Pool Four, then it's the Ospreys who are more likely to take advantage than relegation-threatened London Irish and top-six chasing, if not top-four dreaming, Newcastle. 

Ospreys lost the 2007 final 41-35 to Leicester but gained revenge against the Tigers the following year with a 23-6. 

Worcester v Sale
D Hammond to score a try 21-10
The tournament-opening clash at Sixways is not televised but could prove an entertaining clash with both sides putting out quick, proven backlines.

Sale are favourites despite their struggles on the road this season, with Worcester winless in the Premiership. However, back the hosts' left wing Dean Hammond to score a try at 21-10.

Hammond bagged a brace in the Warriors' 41-35 defeat at Harlequins on Saturday after being a late call-up to the bench and he crossed against Bath in the league at the start of last month.

Last season, he scored eight tries in 16 Premiership and Challenge Cup appearances.

Exeter to win Anglo-Welsh Cup
2pts each-way 6-1 Hills
Ospreys to win Anglo-Welsh Cup
0.5pt each-way 33-1 general
D Hammond to score a try in Worcester v Sale
1pt 21-10 bet365     

2017-18 Anglo-Welsh Cup – Pool One: Bath, Cardiff, Gloucester, Wasps; Pool Two: Dragons, Exeter, Harlequins, Sale; Pool Three: Northampton, Saracens, Scarlets, Worcester; Pool Four: Leicester, London Irish, Newcastle, Ospreys.
Pool One teams play Pool Four teams once each, Pool Two teams play Pool Three teams once each; pool positions are decided by total points, then tries scored, then points difference, then fewest red cards, then a coin-toss; semi-finals are pool winners – rank 1 v rank 4, rank 2 v rank 3; final will take place at Kingsholm, Gloucester.

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Sandy Park is a stronghold whatever the competition and Exeter host Pool Three big guns Northampton and Saracens
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