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Nic Ladds 26th Dec 2009 - 15:36

Harlequins can edge the battle at Twickenham

Harlequins look like they mean business back in the Guinness Premiership as they make six changes to their Heineken Cup team from last week and they are 11/10 to get the better of Wasps.

Wasps are at odds of 8/11 to come away victorious and they will be full of confidence having beaten Leicester in the Premiership by two points but this game was preceded by defeats to Saracens and Leeds Carnegie and they will need all their resilience to repel a resurgent Harlequins.

The Quins pack has a fresh, menacing look about it with Ceri Jones, Chris Robshaw, Will Skinner and Nick Easter all returning while Danny Care (20/1 for first try) and David Strettle (12/1) are both back in the side to give the home team a much stronger looking starting line up.

Wasps welcome back Danny Cipriani who returns from a fractured fibula to start a fly half in only his sixth start of the campaign and he is 20/1 to mark his return with the first try and Steve Kefu also returns and he is 16/1 to go over first.

Despite faring poorly in the Heineken Cup, 'Quins have been grinding out some solid victories in the league, beating Leeds, Gloucester, Worcester and Bath by narrow margins and have drawn with high flyers London Irish and they look capable of edging Wasps out in a close one again.

The evenness of this tie is represented by the handicap which has Wasps giving up two points at 10/11 and while they are technically not at home, Harlequins look good for the start.

Given that this looks close, those fancying a play in the winning margins market should look for the spreads near the head of the market with a 1-5 point to either side at 9/2 while a 6-10 point win to Harlequins is 6/1 while the same margin to Wasps is slightly shorter at 11/2.

With a rumoured 77,000 tickets sold the atmosphere is going to be something special and this should be a joy for fans and neutrals alike and in this daunting arena, it could well come down to a battle with the boot between Nick Evans and Danny Cipriani and whoever holds their nerve the best with their tactical and place kicking should have their team on top.

Preference goes to Harlequins who have shown week after week that they can battle and dig in when it matters and they even ran Sale close last week when fielding a team that was far from full strength so they are fancied at 11/10 while a wager on for the first scoring play to be a drop goal could be worth a small bet as both sides may look to get early points on the board and that can be backed at 16/1 for either side.


Harlequins - 11/10


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