Rec clash between Bath and Exeter could be cagey
Edinburgh can continue fine run at Connacht
Bath v Exeter
BT Sport 1, 7.45pm Friday
Connacht v Edinburgh
BBC Alba/TG4, 7.35pm Friday
Dragons v Cheetahs
BBC2 Wales, 7.35pm Friday
West Country rivals Bath and Exeter size each other up in the Premiership a week before their rescheduled Anglo-Welsh Cup final and a clearing forecast raises hopes of an entertaining clash at the Rec like December's battle at Sandy Park.
However, December's 42-29 scoreline is an exception to the recent total-points pattern of league meetings between the teams. It was the only one of the last six to contain more than 43 points while the last two at the Rec have a combined tally of 64 and only 20 came from tries.
A bet on three or fewer tries, therefore, could prove value.
Solid defence and minimising errors, rather than expansive attack, may well be the tactics mantras of head coaches Todd Blackadder and Rob Baxter.
This is clearly a contest that they want to win as they have been quick to bring back Six Nations internationals and first-team regulars. Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau and England centre Jonathan Joseph start for hosts Bath while the Chiefs have picked Red Rose backrowers Don Armand and Sam Simmonds and Dragons prop Tomas Francis.
Bath need a third straight home league win to stay in touch with the top four and the playoff places. Champions Exeter head the standings but will be keen to address the issues that have seen them slip to four away defeats on the spin in all competitions.
In the Pro14, Edinburgh will take a huge step towards booking a playoff berth if they can win at Connacht and look worth a wager with a three-and-a-half-point start.
The 2016 Pro12 kings are never underestimated in Galway and have won the teams' last four meetings but a 19-11 home loss to Zebre last month is one of a number of inconsistent results and Edinburgh have won their last four league matches including inflicting a rare Kingspan Stadium reverse against Ulster.
Bonus points are keeping the Cheetahs above Cardiff in the Conference A standings and they will be confident of putting in a performance at Rodney Parade against the disappointing Dragons that keeps their tally ticking along.
Hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld looks worth backing to claim a seventh try of the campaign. He is a feature of the Free State franchise's forwards moves close to the line and pops up in support of the backs as well.
Under 3.5 tries in Bath v Exeter
1pt 5-4 Sky Bet
2pts 17-20 188Bet
T van Jaarsveld to score a try in Dragons v Cheetahs
1pt 13-5 bet365
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