Saturday, 08 April 2017 00:23

Munster – Glasgow

Irish giants Munster will host Glasgow Warriors in the 19th round of the Guinness Pro 12. The match won`t be played at Munster’s usual ground, the intimidating Thomond Park, but at the Irish Independent Park in Cork, where they regularly play some of their home games. The ground barely has 8000 something seats, but it has been sold out two days before the game, so the atmosphere should be very good.

Munster is pumping on all cylinders right now. The hosts trail Pro 12 leaders Leinster by just 2 points and are on the back of a marvelous 41 – 16 win over Toulouse in the European Cup which gave them a place in the semifinals. Munster could hardly play any better right now and they will surely fancy a win against their Scottish opponents on Irish soil.

Glasgow lost by 15 at Saracens in the European Cup last weekend, a result that knocked them out of the competition. The Pro 12 is now Glasgow`s only remaining objective, but things are not looking good at all. The visitors are just 6th in the standings, 10 points behind the 4th place, and a loss today would virtually see them lose any chance for the playoffs.

Team news: Both teams will make changes to the lineups that played last week in the European Cup. Warriors will make 3 changes, Munster will make no less than 10.

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Munster and the Glasgow Warriors played three times this season, with today`s hosts winning all meetings. Munster won 16-15 in Glasgow in the Pro 12, while in the European Cup group they won 38-17 at home despite playing over 60 minutes with 14 men (!!!) and 14-12 away.

The difference between the two sides is pretty accurately depicted in this season’s H2H results and the price on Munster to win this match seems to be excellent.

Munster’s 10 changes in the lineup is really the only reason for the price being so high and it`s true that the Munster starting lineup is devoid of some of their best talent. However, it`s still a very competent lineup and the bench will be incredibly good, ready to pump on the gas in the second half.

Glasgow`s only chance in this game is for their wide game to click to perfection, as that`s the area in which they can dominate or go toe to toe with any side in Europe. However, Munster is very strong out wide as well and should be able to contain Glasgow. If they do that, the match is won, as Munster is more powerful and overall by far the better side.

It`s also worth noting that both sides played in the European Cup last weekend, but Glasgow has 1 less day of rest and they had to travel in England to take on the (arguably) best team in Europe, while Munster played at home against Toulouse. It could be an important advantage for Munster, particularly as they will field many rested players and own the much better bench – so they should be the much more fresh team here.

Morale is also going in different directions, as Munster blew out Toulouse in their way to the semifinals, while Glasgow lost by 15 against Saracens and got knocked out of the competition.

Not playing at Thomond Park is a disadvantage for Munster, but on the other hand they did brilliantly at Irish Independent Park lately, winning their last two Pro 12 games there by an average of 30,5 points. With a sell out crowd cheering Munster, they should be just fine at this ground.

Glasgow`s travels outside Scotland in the Pro 12 have been dreadful this season. Their only win worth noting was way back in September, in the first round, at Connacht – even though Connacht was decimated by injuries back then. The other 3 victories were against Newport, Zebre and Treviso, the worst teams in the league, who regularly get badly beaten. Glasgow barely won those 3 games with unimpressive performances, neither of them by more than 9 points.

In their last 3 away games in all competitions, Glasgow lost by 20 at Ulster, by 11 at Ospreys and by 15 at Saracens, all teams comparable to Munster in strength.

If this was a match at Thomond Park I would have backed Munster to cover the spread with maximum stakes, even with them putting many key players on the bench. I will deduct a few units due to the match being played at Irish Independent Park, but this is still Munster’s second home and I expect them to win by about 10-12 points.

If Munster encounters problems in dominating the first half with their weakened lineup, their incredible bench and extra day of rest should complete the job in the last 25 minutes. Munster’s bench has the ability to win the second half by 10+ points if they will need it, so I trust the handicap on the home side here.

All in all, my tip is Munster to cover the 5,5 point handicap. Prediction: Munster – Glasgow Warriors 28 – 18.

Pick: Munster -5,5
Odds: 2.03 @ 1xBet
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 8.24
Event date: 8 April