Bristol's Joe Joyce winning a lineout

Bristol’s Joe Joyce wins a lineout during the 2020 European Rugby Challenge Cup Final between the Bristol Bears and RC Toulon in Aix-en-Provence, southern France, Friday, Oct.16, 2020. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

  • Bristol Bears are 1.5 away favorites over Wasps in a Gallagher Premiership Rugby match on Saturday, September 25
  • Wasps are making their season debut. Bristol lost 26-9 to Saracens in their opening match
  • Bristol have only won one match ever away to Wasps

Will Wasps be the fresh side against the Bristol Bears when they meet in their Gallagher Premiership Rugby match on Saturday? Or should you go with the club that’s got a match under their belts?

It’s the season bow for Wasps. The Bears launched their season last week and were thrashed 26-9 by Saracens.

Bristol is a banged up bunch following that setback and have only ever won one match at Wasps’ Coventry Building Society Arena. Yet it is the Bears who are being made 1.5-point favorites to come way with the win.

Wasps vs Bears Odds

Team Spread
Wasps +1.5 (+115)
Bristol Bears -1.5 (-145)

Odds as of September 23rd at DraftKings

Kickoff for Saturday’s match is slated for 10am ET. The forecast is calling for mainly sunny skies, 21 mph wind, and a temperature of 72 degrees.

Wounded Bears

Bristol were both beaten and beaten up in their opener against Saracens. Along with the one-sided result that went against them on the scoreboard, the Bears come limping into this match.

Fijian winger Siva Naulago is out indefinitely. The rugby league convert suffered a broken arm. As well, ex-Wallabies winger Luke Morahan is also out with a strained hamstring. To make matters worse, both injuries were suffered in training.

Two players who bowed out of the Saracens setback through injury have been declared fit for Saturday’s match. All Blacks fullback Charles Piutau, who left the loss after suffering a couple of deep bruises, will play. Also back after being banged up in the opener will be Welsh international fly-half Ioan Lloyd.

Bears director of rugby Pat Lam is uncertain whether either second-row Joe Joyce (shoulder) or winger Henry Purdy will be available. Both are recovering from offseason surgeries.

Wasps Prepare to Sting

Former Springboks back-row forward Nizaam Carr is an uncertain starter as he readies for the debut of his second tour of duty with Wasps. He just wrapped up his COVID-19 quarantine following his arrival from South Africa, so match fitness may be an issue.

The availability of back-row Thomas Young (ribs) and center Michael Le Bourgeois (quadricep), who were both injured against the Dragons in Wasps’ final pre-season game, is also uncertain.

England loosehead prop Tom West and England hooker Gabriel Oghre are back in training, while new signing  Springbok scrum-half Francois Hougaard, who missed all of preseason play, has not been ruled out of Saturday’s side.

Definitely out are fly-half/fullback Charlie Atkinson (knee),  hooker Alfie Barbeary (hamstring), lock James Gaskell (back), lock Joe Launchbury (knee), center/fly-half Ryan Mills (foot), winger Paolo Odogwu (knee), lock Theo Vukasinovic (Achilles) and back-row Jack Willis (knee).

An Unforgiving Place

Road trips to Coventry have not gone well over the years for the Bears. They’ve won there only one time, taking a 30-19 verdict in November of 2018. Bristol won at home to Wasps in the last meeting between these two sides, ending an 11-match losing streak against the Black and Golds.

Bristol have lost two in a row overall in the GRP. The Bears haven’t lost three straight since January of 2020. The Bears show one loss through their past 10 away matches. Wasps are 3-3 in their last six matches.

Take the fresh home side and the points.

Pick: Wasps +1.5 (+115)

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Robert Duff

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