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Can Saracens continue their perfect run in Europe? Get our best bets for the European Champions Cup games between December 14-15

Ben Darvill 12 Dec 2018

European Champions Cup 3 best bets for the games between December 14-15. Read on for our best bets for the matches in the European Champions Cup including the Scarlet's trip to face Ulster and Saracen's clash with the Cardiff Blues.

Ulster vs Scarlets (Friday, 19:45 GMT)

Ulster come into this one sitting in second in Pool 4 with two wins under their belts. A narrow 25-24 win over the Scarlets in their last game was as surprising one, and it has elevated the Irish side up to nine points from three games at the halfway stage of the competition. In the Pro14, Ulster have looked good, winning six of their 10 games and collecting 29 points meaning they sit in third-place at this stage. The Scarlets on the other hand have been very poor this season and, after three matches, they are teetering on the edge of an early elimination from the Champions Cup. Three defeats in a row shows they have been poor in Europe, and the two points they have accrued means they are a massive 12 short of Racing at the top of the table. Interestingly, the Scarlets are also in the same Conference as Ulster in the Pro14, and have notched the same amount of wins and points as their next opponents. In the league, the Scarlets were able to defeat Ulster 29-12, but they fell to a loss by one point in their last game, with the exceptionally close match going against the home team.

Looking at the results of the two teams, we feel backing the away team with a handicap is the way to go. While the Scarlets have lost there times in a row this year, they have not been hammered in their matches, scoring 64 points in three games and conceding 84 points. Ulster meanwhile have not set the stage alight, with 61 points scored and 78 conceded showing that they are not overly convincing when going forward. With this in mind, we feel that even if Ulster do win, it will be a close run match, with the one point margin of victory in their last game a precursor for how close the return match could be. 

Gloucester vs Exeter (Friday, 19:45 GMT)

Gloucester have been in good form this season in both the league and abroad as they continue to battle on two fronts. Admittedly, the home side sit in third with 28 points in the league, 14 short of Saracens at the top, but they are the third best side in England and they will feel that Sarries will drop points at some stage this year, and if they can maintain their impressive form then they could still catch the reigning-champions. In Europe the side have secured two wins in three and sit in second-place with eight points. Another win would only strengthen Gloucester’s position in the group, and it would put another massive dent in Exeter’s own campaign.

The Chiefs arrive in second in the Premiership with a single defeat in nine meaning they are two short of Saracens at the top. While they have enjoyed their domestic run, they have struggled in Europe. A single draw and two defeats sees the side sit in fourth with three points, meaning they are five behind Gloucester in second and eight short of Munster at the top. Exeter simply have to win this game, but they have to comeback from a 27-19 loss to their opponents at Sandy Park in their last European match. 

Despite this, we think that Exeter will return to winning ways this week as they had been on a par with Saracens up until their mini-slump. A 23-6 win for Exeter in the Premiership at the end of November will remind the Chiefs that they can beat Gloucester, and the fear of elimination from the Champions Cup will only further fuel their resolve.  

Cardiff Blues vs Saracens (Saturday, 13:00 GMT)

Cardiff Blues have not been in the best of form this season domestically as they languish nearer to the bottom of Conference A than they do to the top. Just four wins in 10 has seen the Welsh side pick up 23 points, meaning they are 18 behind Glasgow at the top of the table. In Europe too they have been poor, winning just one of their three matches which has seen the side pick up four points, meaning they are a massive 10 short of Saracens at the top of the table. Their last outing in Europe saw the side hammered 51-25 by Saracens at Allianz Park, while their only win of the year has come away against Lyon in a 30-21 victory. Interestingly, their only home game in Europe so far culminated in a 29-12 loss to Glasgow, with Cardiff Arms Park not the fortress the side want it to be. 

Saracens on the other hand have been superb this year and they are yet to lose a single game this season. Currently sitting at the top of the Premiership, Sarries have won nine in nine and have a two point lead over second-place Exeter. In Europe, Saracens have won three in three and have a four point lead at the top of Pool 3 after a fine start to their campaign. Another win would increase the distance between Sarries and third-placed Cardiff, and it is very difficult to look past an wi for the English side considering how many points Saracens put on Cardiff in their last clash, while the Blues were well-beaten by Glasgow in their only other home game in the Champions Cup this year.

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