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Nic Ladds 18th Dec 2009 - 19:46

Saturday's first serving of Heineken Cup action

Another feast of Heineken Cup action to while away your Saturday to and with all the matches hopefully escaping poor weather, it should be a rugby union bonanza for punters and fans alike.

Edinburgh v Bath - 13:35 live on Sky Sports 3

Crunch time for both these sides as they need to win to have any hope of qualifying for the quarter finals and with home advantage, Edinburgh are 8/15 while Bath are 11/8.

The away side won this fixture at The Rec last week 16-9 and we can expect another close match here with the handicap asking Edinburgh to give up three points at 10/11, while the draw at 20/1 may even tempt some.

Edinburgh will be buoyed by the return of Scotland flanker Ross Rennie who has been out since Boxing Day 2008 and the flanker is 25/1 to mark his return with the first try while it is also a big day for Chris Paterson playing his 50th game for Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup and he is 16/1 to go over first.

Bath managed two tries last week with Pieter Dixon (33/1) going over first and winger Michael Stephenson (12/1) getting the second showing that maybe they won't miss Matt Banahan so much after all.

This should be close and with home advantage in front of a passionate crowd there is every reason to think the home side can win and a margin of 6-10 or 1-5 points, both at 9/2 look spot on and in turn they should be able to cover the three point handicap and condemn Bath to an early Heineken Cup exit.

Edinburgh v Bath betting

Toulouse v Cardiff - 13:35 live on Sky Sports Red Button

A very difficult trip to Toulouse awaits Cardiff and although they just managed a win at home last week, this is an entirely different proposition and the Blues are 7/2 to get a win with the home side at 1/6.

With the handicap set with Toulouse giving up 10 points at 10/11 you get the idea of the magnitude of the task Cardiff face and a loss will leave them needing to win their remaining games should Sale beat Harlequins on Sunday.

Cardiff make one change with winger Tom James injured, Richard Mustoe comes in for him and along with Leigh Halfpenney is 12/1 to score the first try, something neither side managed last week.

Toulouse will be confident of scoring a few this time and the likes of Vincent Clerc (10/1), Yves Donguy (10/1) and Maxime Medard (12/1) leading the attack it is easy to see why and all three went over when they demolished Sale in their last home Heineken Cup game.

Hard to see anything but a home win here with an 11-15 point win at 9/2 leading the market, while a shock 6-10 point win for Cardiff is as big as 12/1.

Cardiff are likely to have to wait to get their chance to secure qualification as Toulouse in France are a daunting prospect and the home side should be able to cover the 10 point handicap and leave the Blues looking to the next round of matches to seal their through.

Toulouse v Cardiff betting

Treviso v Northampton - 13:35 live on Sky Sports Red Button

Northampton won last week in Italy against Treviso but they made hard work of it, going behind early and only winning by 12 points and some may fancy the home side receiving a 14 point head start on the handicap at 10/11.

The Saints are 1/8 favourites with Treviso at 9/2 and while no one doubts that they will win, the matter in question is the manner of the victory.

Treviso beat Perpignan at home and given Northampton's performance last week the home side should be able to stay in the handicap so look to winning margins for the Saints of 6-10 points at 6/1 or 11-15 at 5/1.

Shane Geraghty has been dropped to the bench in favour of Stephen Myler (20/1 for first try) while Ben Foden (14/1) looks a fair bet to score the first try while for a flying home start, Marius Goosen could be the call at a big 25/1 to score first.

Northampton will be looking for the bonus point win to almost secure their passage through to the next round but if they aren't on top of their game, they could suffer the same fate as Perpignan did when overwhelming favourites.

Treviso v Northampton betting


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