A week off from Six Nations action means the Premiership again takes center stage in England this weekend. This is a unique round, as Steve Borthwick has kept a number of his England squad in camp while sending other players back to their clubs to keep up their fitness.

Here is a look at some of the games with odds from BetXchange.

Bristol VS Newcastle – Ashton Gate, Bristol

It is hard to believe, but because of a scheduling quirk – and the demise of Woucester and Wasps – this will be the first Premiership game at Ashton Gate in 77 days when the Falcons visit on Friday evening.

There are a couple of changes to the side following their close defeat at the hands of league leaders Saracens at the end of January, with Noah Howard playing at 15 and Jake Woolmore getting the nod at prop. They will certainly miss unavailable stars like England regulars Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler, while Charles Piatau still misses through injury.

Newcastle is just two places above the bottom of the log Bristol, but because of how tight the league is, they are just seven points off a finals spot. They will look to their trio of Pumas in the backline – centers Matias Orlando and Matias Moroni, along with wing sensation Mateo Carreras – to provide the skills to get them over the line here. I don’t think they will win, but Newcastle has more than enough firepower to cover the 8.5 points they are being given.

Gloucester VS Harlequins – Kihgsholm, Gloucester

Two teams in the mix for a finals spot meet at Kingsholm as Gloucester and Harlequins sit fifth and sixth on the log, respectively. They actually have the same number of points (32), just one point behind Northampton in the final playoff spot.

With defeats for each last time out – Gloucester went down 24-17 at Exeter while ‘Quins were thumped 42-24 by London Irish – both know a win is essential to get their season pointed back in the right direction.

Harlequins will give a club-record 352nd appearance to scrum-half Danny Care, while Joe Marler has been made available to play. Luke Northmore will also make his return from injury from the bench. Another player returning to Premiership action will be Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit who has been out since Christmas Eve. Watch for Santi Carreras to continue to wow at fly-half in the absence of Adam Hastings.

This should be tight, but I will take the home team to win and cover.

Leicester Tigers VS Saracens – Welford Road, Leicester

Last season’s winners sit eighth in the table, but a run of games at Welford road over the back half of the season has them set to run down Northampton, who are just three points better off than the Tigers. Sarries have run away from everyone with 56 points and just one defeat so far this season, though they could find it tough sledding here.

Both of these squads have been struck by the players that England has retained for their camp this weekend. Leicester will be without Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Freddie Steward, and Jack van Poortvliet. Sarries don’t get the use of Mauro Itoje, Owen Farrell, Jamie Goerge, and Ben Earl. With so much attrition on both sides, take Leicester to win.


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