While the 2023 Six Nations may be dominating the headlines in the sport at the moment, there’s equally enthralling rugby taking place in the UK’s Gallagher Premiership.
Although there are a couple of teams at the top of the table who will prove incredibly difficult to beat – the uncertainty surrounding particular players due to potential injury and fatigue as a result of international duties means that the Premiership’s champion is still far from a foregone conclusion.
With 13 fixtures now having taken place (at the time of writing), read on as we take a look at the clubs favored by those who bet online to take home the nation’s top-flight domestic rugby competition.
It will come as no surprise that Saracens are the short-priced favorites at 4/5 to win the Premiership, as the north London club has shot out to a very strong lead atop the table with 56 competition points. You only have to look at their form, with the Joe Shaw-coached side winning 12 of their 13 games to date – with their only loss coming at the hands of London Irish.
Their victory over the third-placed Exeter particularly impressed me, with Owen Farrell and company dominating their opponents 35-3. When speaking with the media post-match, Shaw alluded to the impact the Sarries number 10 has on his team’s success.
“Owen has just turned 31, he has 100 caps, been on three British Lions tours, won everything domestically, and captained his country,” Shaw said. “If you know anything about rugby then you’ll realize what an unbelievable, special talent we have had for this generation. He is absolutely fantastic.”
Farrell is just one of a number of English internationals the Saracens boast, with a further seven picked as part of Steve Borthwick’s squad to take part in the Six Nations. Those names include Elliot Daly, Ben Earl, Jamie George, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Max Malins, and Mako Vunipola. With such a strong contingent of their club experiencing the rigors of international rugby, will that help or hinder their chances of winning their first Premiership since 2018/19? Only time will tell.
Sitting in second on the table on 48 points, the Sale Sharks have managed 10 wins in their opening 13 games this season. Similarly to league-leaders Saracens, the Greater Manchester club isn’t short on talent, with four members of their squad being called up to don England’s red and white.
They’re coming off the back of two disappointing performances however, having been on the receiving end of two thumpings by the Bristol Bears and Exeter 43-19 and 46-3 respectively. They’ll need to turn that form around quickly, and with three consecutive top-four clashes against Northampton, Exeter, and Saracens – late February and early March will prove crucial in the context of their season.
For those who believe Sale can go all the way, they currently sit as the second favorite in the betting lines at 11/2.
One day they look like world-beaters, the next they look like cellar dwellers. Winning seven of their 13 games so far this season, the Exeter Chiefs have been a model of inconsistency. With dominant wins over the likes of Sale and Northampton, to coincide with head-scratching losses to Gloucester and Newcastle – you don’t know what you’re going to get from the Rob Baxter-coached side.
That could bode well for them in the knockout stages however, as when they’re on a song and the likes of Stuart Hogg are running riot, they can beat anyone. With that in mind, the Chiefs could prove good value at 7/1 to lift the Premiership trophy in 2022/23.