The race for the playoff spots continues this weekend and we take a look at the Super Rugby action from a betting perspective.
Lets start with a look at the outright betting where the Hurricanes are 5/4 favourites to win the Tournament ahead of the Crusaders priced at 47/20, the Highlanders 25/4, the Chiefs 8/1 and the Lions at 10/1. You can get 19/1 and better the balance. – click here for outright betting.
The Blues and the Hurricanes get things going on Friday morning, South African time, the Blues will be looking to break their long losing run against New Zealand teams. They started underdogs away to the Waratahs last week but managed to win by 3 points but they have lost all 4 of their home matches this season including local derbies to the Highlanders and the Chiefs. They face a Hurricanes side that has reeled off 8 successive victories including beating the Lions by 9 points at home last week. They have won 2 out of their 3 matches on the road although this will be their first New Zealand derby away from home this season. The Hurricanes have won their last 3 matches in Auckland and have to go back to May 2014 for a Blues victory. The Blues have been hard hit by injuries this season and with those players starting to return I think they could cause a few surprises between now and the end of the group stages. Despite their winning run the Hurricanes haven’t looked at their best in recent weeks and I expect the Blues to push them close here and even think a small wager 3/1 on the home team to win the game is in order.
The Sunwolves return from an unsuccessful tour of New Zealand to face the Reds on Saturday morning, South African time and they will be pleased to be facing Australian opposition again having played against 3 New Zealand sides in a row. This will be the Sunwolves fourth home game against Australian opposition this season, having lost to the Waratahs by 21, the Rebels by 20 and the Brumbies by 7. The Reds held on to beat the Lions by 5 points at home last week and while their only away win was against the Jaguares, I must admit to being a bit surprised that they are only giving the Sunwolves a 6.5 point start and will be backing the Reds to beat the handicap.
The Crusaders have won their last 8 home games in succession against the Waratahs and it is no surprise to see them starting as massive favourites in Christchurch this weekend with the current line (-20.5) Crusaders. The Crusaders are on a 6 match winning streak including beating the Rebels by 45 points in Melbourne last week whereas the Waratahs are coming off successive home losses to the Blues and the Lions. I reckon the Crusaders will win this easily enough but the handicap is set very high and I am going to take a watching brief from a betting point of view at this stage.
The Brumbies have generally had convincing wins when hosting the Rebels although the one exception was a defeat in 2015 where the Rebels won a low scoring encounter by 5 points. The Brumbies have lost 3 in a row, the last 2 of which came at home against the Crusaders and the Jaguares, but the Rebels are on a woeful run of form and have lost 5 on the trot. The handicap here is at 4.5 points at the time of writing and I think that the Brumbies have what it takes to beat the spread against a Rebel side that is fading quite badly as the season progresses.
The Stormers have proven to be a different beast when they have played at home this season and they have won 5 from 5 although the only New Zealand opposition was the Blues who they beat 37-20. They were very impressive last week at home to the Bulls, winning 29-17 and they welcome a Chiefs side that are coming off a home loss to the Jaguares but its only home defeats this season have come against New Zealand opposition. The Chiefs have won 3 of their last 4 in Cape Town but they don’t seem to have quite the depth of previous seasons and I think the home team are the value here at even money.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Bulls absolutely dismantled the Sharks on a wet evening in Durban, winning 40-10 but the Sharks have proved unpredictable and last week they really turned it on to beat the Highlanders 38-12 in Durban, having seen off the Stormers in their previous home start. The Bulls are coming off successive defeats at home to the Highlanders and away to the Stormers and despite a lot of the optimism around their play they are still sitting at the foot of the South African Conference. The Sharks have only won 1 from 5 on the road but they pushed the Lions earlier in the competition and only went down by a point to the Hurricanes and I think if they can produce anything like they did last week against the Highlanders they can win this one and I will be backing them to do just that at current odds of 12/10.
Blues v Hurricanes – click here to bet
Blues win at 3/1 and Blues on the handicap (+9.5) and 9/10
Sunwolves v Reds – click here to bet
Reds (-6.5) at 9/10
Brumbies v Rebels – click here to bet
Handicap, Brumbies (-4.5) at 9/10
Stormers v Chiefs – click here to bet
Stormers win at 1/1
Bulls v Sharks – click here to bet
Sharks win at 12/10
Note: Prices correct at the time of posting but are subject to change