- Leinster (-115) is the title favorite heading into a Round of 16 matchup with Ulster
- La Rochelle (+500) and Toulouse (+450) are also in the mix after winning in 2021 and 2022
- Dublin’s Aviva Stadium hosts the Heineken Champions Cup final on Saturday, May 20th, 2023
The European Rugby Champions Cup enters the knockout stage on March 31 with 16 elite clubs going head-to-head for a chance to advance to the quarter-finals in early April. After losing in last year’s finals, Leinster is the favorite to capture the title for the first time in five seasons. But it won’t be easy. The Round of 16 is loaded with eight former Champions Cup winners.
European Champions Cup Odds
Leinster open as favorites
Leinster (-115) has claimed the European Rugby Champions Cup on four occasions, but not since the 2017/18 season. The Irish club was defeated 24-21 by La Rochelle (+500) in a hard-fought final last year. They enter the Round of 16 stage atop Pool A with a perfect 4-0 record while outscoring opponents by 150 points in its four pool games.
On April 1, they will host fellow Irish club Ulster (+10000), which finished the pool stage 1-3 with a minus-39 point deficit. With a victory in that one likely, Leinster will then enjoy home-field advantage in the quarter-finals when they play the winner of the Leicester (+2500) vs. Edinburgh (+8000) match.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) March 13, 2023
Toulouse and La Rochelle
Toulouse (+450) lost to Leinster in the semi-final last season. The rugby powerhouse is looking for its sixth Heineken Champions Cup title. After going 4-0 in the pool stage, they secured the No. 2 seed in Pool B behind La Rochelle (+500), who had a slightly better point differential (+63 to +57).
Both these French clubs are juggernauts that have won the past two championships. La Rochelle rebounded from a finals defeat to Toulouse in 2021 with a victory over Leinster last season. La Rochelle also downed the Irish club in the 2021 semi-finals.
Other Cup contenders
Leinster, Toulouse and La Rochelle have dominated European Rugby over the past 15 seasons. However, two English teams have captured the title in recent years.
Exeter (+1600) won the championship in 2000 and Saracens (+800) claimed three titles in a four-year span between 2016 and 2019. Both ended pool play with three victories and a loss, but Exeter had a 71-point surplus compared to just 26 for Saracens. While the Cell C Sharks (+1400) recorded three Ws in pool play, the South African club is not on the level of the top European teams.
Nowell will earn about £200,000 a year more when he signs with Ronan O’Gara’s Heineken Champions Cup holders than he would have done if he had stayed at Exeter Chiefs, his boyhood club. https://t.co/NXsqenDg99
— Times Sport (@TimesSport) March 14, 2023
Leinster outscored Racing 92 and Gloucester by a combined 152 points in their four games (two each) in pool play, but they shouldn’t be viewed as unbeatable. Given the recent success of both Toulouse and La Rochelle, we think either French club is a stronger wager at +450 and +500, respectively.
La Rochelle could become the first team to advance to three-straight finals since Toulon claimed three Champions Cups in a row from 2013-2015.
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