by Ryan D Jaeger
The big question on everyone lips as we go into the 2012/2013
season is whether Leinster can make history and win three in a row.
The threat from English and French Clubs to break away and form a rival
competition overshadowed much of the pre-season.
Leinster are deserved favourites to win the tournament at 7/2, followed by
Toulouse and Toulon both at 11/2. Toulon have made even more big name
acquisitions over the last year and the depth of their playing roster makes them
a real threat.
In the first of a two part series of previews we take a look at the
six pools and make our picks of the qualifiers.
Odds to qualify from each group provided by
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Pool 1 Preview and Odds
(Munster, Edinburgh, Racing, Saracens)
Sarries and Munster have both had patchy early season form with the Irish
side looking particularly unconvincing. Both these teams should qualify from
this group with the fixture between them determining who qualifies top. Despite
their heroics last season. we just can't see them beating either of the top two
teams who both play a style suited to this competition. Racing has lots some key
players since last year and don't look like Championships material. Their game
is simply too limited.
Sarries and Munster at 6/4 to win Pool 1,
Racing at 9/2 and Edinburgh at 8/1. We pick Sarries and Muster in that order.
Pool 2 Preview and Odds
(Ospreys, Treviso, Leicester, Toulouse)
A tough, tough pool for Leicester. Their encounter with the
Ospreys will be key in determining whether they qualify from the pool. The
Ospreys will field an excellent pack but their backline doesn't fill us with
confidence. Leicester is a big game team but the concerns with their 10/12/13
axis is far from settled. Benetton Treviso has shown some steady progress and
could spring an upset at home.
Toulouse have had a lacklustre start to the Top 14 in France but
their demolition jib of big spending Toulon last week has put everyone on
We have to go with Toulouse and Leicester as the qualifiers, in
Pool 3 Preview and Odds
(Biarritz, Connacht, Harlequins and Zebre.)
It is all there to lose for the Harlequins. The seem to have continued their
form from last season. Problem for them is that they have a tricky match in
Galway where visiting teams have struggled against Connacht. Biarritz will
present somewhat of an unknown force for Quins. The Basque team currently lie
mid-table in the Top 14, suggesting that they should not trouble Quins at the
Stoop later in the season. Zebre will find that the Step up to this level is
every bit as tough as they imagined.
Quins are 4/6 to win the pool and should do so.
Outright Heineken Cup Odds
Here are the latest outright winner's market odds for the 2012/2013 Heineken