The Pro14 will be the latest league to return from a Covid-19 enforced shutdown when Italian sides Benetton and Zebre clash on Friday night. This will be a sprint of a restart even by the standards in the new normal, with each team playing a pair of derby matches before we move straight to the semi-final stage during the first weekend of Septemeber. The final is the following week on Saturday, 12 Septemeber.
This will, unfortunately, be a league without its full complement of teams for the restart as conditions in South African mean that the pair of derby matches between the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings have not been scheduled at this time. The Italian sides will play each other home and away, with Glasgow and Edinburgh doing the same in Scotland. The Welsh and Irish sides will each play two different opponents from within their home country before the playoffs begin. Those playoffs will see the top team from Conference A play the second in Conference B and the top side in Conference B take on the runner up in Conference A.
Here is a look at the runners and riders with odds from BetXChange.
Pro14 Title Odds
Leinster – 0.55
The structure of the restart means Leinster are already confirmed as Conference A winners as they sit on a massive 61 points with 13 wins from their 13 games so far. There is no money in taking the Irish side at this price, but it would take a strong conviction for any of the other teams who could make the playoffs to bet against the Dublin based side.
Edinburgh – 5.00
The team in the Scottish capital leads Conference B on 47 points as they won 10 of their opening 13 games of the season. Their points differential of 163 is the second-best in the league being Leinster and they will be desperate to stay ahead of Munster to avoid playing the best points scorers in the league in the semi-final. If they can make it to the final then anything can happen in a one-off game and they are potentially worth a punt.
Munster – 5.00
Munster would love to fight their way ahead of Edinburgh to get the top spot in Conference B. They are two points behind the Scottish team and have a very tough game against Leinster first up. If they can find their way ahead of Edinburgh then it will likely be because they beat Connacht on the final day of the regular season.
Ulster – 6.50
Just a point from clinching a semi-final spot, Ulster will (likely) have to go through the two best teams in the competition in the Winner of Conference B and then (presumably) Leinster to win the title. A win over Leinster at the Aviva in the second round of derby matches would really boost their confidence ahead of the start of the playoffs. The Scarlets aren’t completely out of the running here either, but they would need a strange series of results to jump either Edinburgh or Munster.
Glasgow – 20.00
Likely need a miracle to even make the playoffs as they sit in third in Conference A a full nine points behind Ulster with only 10 points to play for. They would have to beat Edinburgh with bonus-point wins in consecutive weeks while Ulster would have to slip up against Leinster (probable) and Connacht (unlikely).