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Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Maro Itoje value to make mark for Saracens against Bath

Connacht and Munster look the Pro14 handicap picks

Maro Itoje makes ground with the ball for Saracens against Gloucester
1 of 1

Saracens v Bath
BT Sport 2, 3pm Saturday
Pro14 games
Premier Sports from 3pm Saturday
Glasgow v Dragons
FreeSports, 7.35pm Saturday

Saracens have a perfect 20-point haul after four games and it is not surprising that bookmakers expect more dominance from the Premiership champions when they host Bath.

The handicap line has been chalked up at 26 and Sarries have won the teams' last two meetings at Allianz Park 41-6 and 53-10, scoring 14 tries to one. Head coach Mark McCall is only a few names away from naming his strongest side.

By contrast, Bath have written an open letter to supporters this week about the club's direction, despite winning their last two matches. Their under-scrutiny head coach Todd Blackadder is without Joe Cokanasiga, Zach Mercer and Jamie Roberts who contributed five of the six touchdowns in their excellent success at Harlequins a fortnight ago.

Brilliant South Africa back-rower Francois Louw is back in the Bath fold but Saracens' pack should still be too strong and England ace Maro Itoje is a nice price to cross the whitewash.

Itoje bagged a brace at home to Gloucester on Sunday and grabbed three tries in Sarries' last six games last season.     

Connacht and Munster are the handicap picks in the inter-provincial derbies that highlight another busy Pro14 programme.

Pro14 and European kings Leinster send a terrific team to Galway but they have been involved in two tight tussles at Cardiff and Scarlets on the road this campaign and Connacht, who get a seven-point start, beat Scarlets 33-20 at the Sportsground last Saturday. In round one, a missed late penalty denied Connacht a home victory over Glasgow after a ding-dong battle.

Munster have beaten Cheetahs 38-0 and Ospreys 49-13 at home this season and they can give up 15 points to Ulster at Thomond Park.

The Red Army forwards look formidable and fly-half Joey Carbery dazzled in defeat at Cardiff last week. Ulster have jetted back from a hard two weeks in South Africa and while they won their first two games in Belfast against Scarlets and Edinburgh, they were scrappy intense affairs.

Recommendations
M Itoje to score a try in Saracens v Bath
1pt 7-2 Betfair, Paddy Power 
Connacht +7
1pt 10-11 Coral, Ladbrokes
Munster -15
1pt 9-10 Betfred


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Sarries have won the teams' last two meetings at Allianz Park 41-6 and 53-10
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