The Currie Cup is back after a very short turnaround and we take a look at the weekend’s 3 matches and suggest a bet in each.
Cheetahs v Griquas – click here to bet
The Cheetahs and Griquas get things going on Saturday afternoon and both sides were in action mid-week and in the case of Griquas this will be their 3rd game in 8 days.
The Cheetahs are flying high at the top of the log after 3 bonus point victories in their first 3 matches. They have had the advantage of a virtual Super Rugby strength team and in mid-week they were prolific in the first half in running up an unassailable lead against the Pumas, although they eventually only won by 11 points which would have been very disappointing to those who backed them on the handicap. The Cheetahs beat a weakened Sharks team by 35 points in their first match at home and then they beat Western Province by 13 in Bloem.
Griquas play their 5th match of the tournament and they finally got their first victory at home in mid-week when they beat Western Province 44-34. Their form on the road has not been as impressive though and they lost by 5 points to the Lions in Johannesburg and were well beaten by the Sharks in Durban last Friday night, going down by 38 points in conditions that certainly did not suit them.
Cheetahs -17.5 at 9/10
Griquas +17.5 at 9/10
Suggested bet: Handicap, Cheetahs -17.5 at 9/10.
This should be a free flowing and high scoring game but I think the effect of the Griquas having to play 3 matches inside 8 days will be too much for them.
Western Province v Blue Bulls – click here to bet
Both Western Province and the Blue Bulls will play their 3rd game in the week when they meet at Newlands on Saturday.
Province were very disappointing in mid-week losing by 10 points to Griquas in a game in which they started double digit favourites. It was their second defeat on the road having lost by 13 to the Cheetahs and at home they had to come from behind last Saturday to beat the Pumas by 15 points.
The Bulls came unstuck on Wednesday against a strong Sharks defence going down 28-20 in Pretoria. They previously hammered the Lions by 32 points also at Loftus and in their only away match to date they saw off Griquas by 6 points in a high scoring encounter in Round 1.
These sides last met at Newlands in 2015 with Province winning by 15 points.
Western Province 7/10
Western Province -2.5 at 9/10
Blue Bulls +2.5 at 9/10
Suggested bet: Handicap, Blue Bulls at +2.5 points at 9/10.
Western Province haven’t convinced me that they are the real deal this season and I think that the Blue Bulls will have more success against them in terms of try scoring than they did against the Sharks. I think the Bulls can win this but will settle on the handicap bet.
Golden Lions v Sharks – click here to bet
The final match of the weekend sees the 5/2 tournament favourites, (click here for outright betting) the Lions take on the Sharks in Johannesburg.
The Lions are coming off a disappointing 54-22 loss to the Bulls at Loftus last Saturday but on the positive side they did not have to play in mid-week and they will have fresher legs than their opponents. This will be their second home match of the season after getting past Griquas by 5 points in a high scoring encounter in Round 2 and a defeat here would leave them with a tough task to make the playoffs.
The Sharks have bounced back strongly since they lost to the Cheetahs away in the opening week but at that point their Super Rugby players were still involved in the tournament and they were very much a second string side. They subsequently won at home against the Pumas and Griquas, not conceding a try in either of those games and then on Wednesday they were too strong for the Bulls winning 28-20 in Pretoria.
The Lions have won the last 2 meetings in Johannesburg between the sides by 12 points in 2016 and 8 points in 2015.
Golden Lions 14/10
Lions +4.5 at 9/10
Sharks -4.5 at 9/10
Suggested bet: Handicap, Lions +4.5 points at 9/10.
The Lions are still far from full strength but I do feel that at home, bookmakers are perhaps under-estimating them especially given the fact that they will have the fresher legs of the two sides and I think that at the very least they can stay within the handicap.
Note: Prices correct at the time of posting but are subject to change