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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Tigers can hold their nerve in crucial showdown

Saracens value to spoil Quins' big day out

Leicester's JP Pietersen scores in the derby win over Northampton
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Bath v Leicester
BT Sport 3, 2pm Saturday
Harlequins v Saracens
BT Sport 3, 4.30pm Saturday

Twickenham and Wembley are the venues for today's TV Premiership action and with just four rounds of matches to go for teams to reach the playoffs, the stakes are high.

Bath finally got back to wining ways in the European Challenge Cup against Brive last weekend but suffered three successive league defeats before that and would probably prefer to be running out at the Rec, where they twice hammered the Tigers last season, than give up home advantage for the big stage of Twickenham.

Things have been unsettled behind the scenes at Leicester after Aaron Mauger left on a high with an emotional victory at rivals Northampton, but it seems unlikely that the Tigers will struggle to follow up that effort given they have had an extra week's break and incoming coach Matt O'Connor is already well known to many of the players.

Bath will go above Leicester into the fourth playoff place if they win, but defeat could leave them seven points adrift. It will be a huge test of their nerve and the way the players' heads dropped towards the end of their 53-10 defeat at Saracens must be a huge concern.

The Tigers have a strong side out and appear to be picking up so they look the value at a shade of odds-against.

Saracens are still on course to defend both their English and European crowns, but with tricky trips to Northampton and Wasps ahead of them they won't want to give anything away against Harlequins at Wembley.

Quins have also had the advantage of a break last weekend while their opponents had a European quarter-final to negotiate, but Sarries are so well organised that they can take their 38-13 victory over Glasgow in their stride, and a double-figure handicap looks justifiable.

There is pace and invention in both sides but Saracens have the best defence in the league and coped well with a dangerous Glasgow backline last week - they worked hard to deny chances then pulled away late on - and this match could take a similar shape.

Recommendations
Leicester
2pts 21-20 Betway, Hills
Saracens -6.5 on second-half handicap
2pts 10-11 Betfair

The Tigers have a strong side out and appear to be picking up so they look the value at a shade of odds-against.
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