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Nic Ladds 17th Oct 2009 - 11:56

Two Heineken Cup thrillers to spice up your Sunday

Sunday's serving of Heineken Cup action features arguably the match of the weekend at the Recreation Ground and a close encounter in Wales which should leave rugby fans on the edge of their seats.

Ospreys v Clermont - 12:45 live on Sky Sports 2

After watching Ospreys chuck away their lead last week to end in a draw with Leicester, punters may be wary of taking 4/7 about the Welsh side, but they could have too much for their French visitors Clermont who are 13/10.

Ospreys were coasting against the Tigers last week but they virtually stopped playing and conceded a flurry of late points to end in a stale mate (18/1 to happen this time) and they will need to iron out those mistakes against a well organized unit who currently top their domestic league.

The handicap asks the Welsh side to give up three points at 10/11 and that demonstrates just how close this game could be but home advantage could be the key with both Clermont's domestic losses this season coming away from home.

Lee Byrne is out for the home side which is a blow but they still have the likes of Tommy Bowe, Shane Williams and Jerry Collins in their ranks which is enough to worry any side, while Clermont recall Brock James to fly half after Brent Russell's poor display against Viadana last weekend.

As the odds would suggest this looks set to be very tight and a winning margin of 1-5 (4/1) or 6-10 (5/1) to the home side looks in the right region, while 1-5 to Clermont is available at 9/2.

The best bet though looks Ospreys on the dozen winning margins market to win by 1-12 points at 7/4 as if they get going they can punish the French side and the hope is that they will not switch off like they did last week and in turn cement a crucial victory.

Ospreys v Clermont betting

Bath v Stade Francais - 15:00 live on Sky Sports 2

One of the games of the weekend awaits for the final offering of Heineken Cup action and the two cannot be split with both Bath and Stade Francais playing off a scratch handicap both at 10/11.

Bath suffered a fairly heavy 26-12 defeat to Ulster away last time while Stade Francais were mightily impressive in dismantling Edinburgh at home but playing away at The Rec is a different proposition.

The home side though have got off to a slow start and drew to Leicester and lost to Wasps at home so far and this will buoy the French side who do have a dreadful away record.

Bath's Lee Mears is out which is a blow but as an attacking force Bath are awesome with the likes of Matt Banahan, Nick Abendanon and Matt Carraro all dangerous going forward.

Stade have some familiar faces to be wary of including James Haskell and Tom Palmer, while they have arguably the best number 8 in the world in the shape of Sergio Parisse and if they start dominating up front then Bath could find themselves in trouble.

A winning margin either way of 1-5 points (9/2) or 6-10 points (11/2) look in the right range and it is hard to see either side running up a huge total.

Stade will remember their double loss against Harlequins last season where they went down at The Stoop in the final minute and the feeling is that the French side can nick it from Bath who are very hit and miss.

It is hard to ignore Stade's poor European away record but if they are to be true challengers to go all the way, then this is exactly the kind of match they will both want and need to win.

Bath v Stade Francais betting

 
 
 

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