The Super Rugby season is fast approaching the business end and we take a look at all of this week’s matches from a betting angle.
Let’s start with a look at the outright betting where the Crusaders who were available at close to 3/1 a few weeks ago are now trading as outright favourites at 8/10. The Hurricanes remain their closest rivals in the betting at 33/10 despite a defeat to the Brumbies away last week and fellow New Zealand side the Chiefs are 13/2. The Lions and Waratahs are both priced at 14/1, the Highlanders 16/1 and the Jaguares at 20/1 and you can get 100/1 and better the balance – click here for outright betting
The Crusaders enjoyed a bye last week and they return to action looking for their 11th consecutive victory. They have won all 6 of their home matches including beating New Zealand sides, the Chiefs and the Hurricanes by 22 and 11 points respectively. The Highlanders were stunned last week losing 45-22 to the Chiefs in Fiji and the only consolation that they can take out of that game was they recovered from being 42-0 down at the break. The Highlanders beat the Crusaders when they met earlier in the season in Dunedin but the Crusaders have won 5 out of the last 6 in Christchurch. I wasn’t at all impressed by the Highlanders last week and I think a rested Crusaders side can put them away and can beat the handicap by 7.5 points.
The Reds have lost their last 5 matches including going down by 23 points to the Blues in Auckland last week. They have played the Brumbies and the Waratahs at home this season, losing by 11 to the Waratahs and beating the Brumbies by 8. The Rebels are still in contention for the Australian Conference but their hopes took a blow last week when they lost 26-31 to the Waratahs at home. Their two away matches against Australian opposition has seen them beat the Brumbies by 3 and lose to the Waratahs by 24. The Rebels have won 2 of their last 3 in Brisbane but I am leaning towards a home win here as I think the Rebels will be quite deflated after the defeat to the Waratahs last week and the Reds are playing some decent rugby at home this season.
Crusaders v Highlanders – click here to bet
Crusaders Handicap (-7.5) at 9/10
Reds v Rebels– click here to bet
Reds win at 15/10
The Chiefs turned in one of the performances this season when they hammered the Highlanders in Fiji 45-22 last week and that result has put them very much in the playoff picture. They have been a bit rocky at home of late losing to the Crusaders and the Jaguares with a victory over the Waratahs in between those two games and that 12 point win over the Waratahs was the only home match against Australian opposition this season. The Brumbies have reeled off 3 successive victories but it looks like too little too late and you can still get 80/1 on them making the playoff. Their best performance of the season came last week at home against the Hurricanes when they won 24-12 but their record playing the Chiefs away is poor with 5 successive losses although 4 of those 5 defeats were by less than 13 points. The bet I fancy is the Chiefs to beat the handicap of 13.5 points mainly because they are right in contention for the tournament whereas the Brumbies, despite last week’s heroics at home know that they are pretty much done and dusted when the regular season ends.
It was not that long ago that the Hurricanes were the favourites to win the tournament but 3 successive defeats, during which time they have scored no more than 14 points, is a serious concern for the franchise. They were well beaten on the road by the Brumbies last week but they have won all of their home games this season including the 3 New Zealand derbies against the Chiefs, Highlanders and Crusaders. The Blues had a good victory over the Reds at home last week comfortably beating the handicap and winning by 23 points but they have lost all 6 New Zealand derbies they have played this season although pushed both the Chiefs and Highlanders close on the road. I expect the Hurricanes to bounce back here but they won’t have it all their own way and will be backing them to win by 12 points or less a result which would have arrived in the last two Hurricanes home matches against the Blues.
The Waratahs win over the Rebels last week means they are now in control of the Australian Conference and they will be looking for a bonus point win over a much improved Sunwolves side. The Sunwolves scored late to beat the Bulls 42-37 at home last week and they have mixed results in Australia so far this year, losing to the Brumbies by 10 but getting beaten by 27 points by the Rebels. The Waratahs beat the Sunwolves by 21 points in Tokyo earlier this season and with an excellent opportunity to consolidate their lead at the top of the Conference I am expecting more of the same and will be backing them to win by 17 points or more.
After a promising looking start to the season the Bulls are set to miss the playoffs once again and they are currently at the bottom of the South African Conference with the Stormers on 25 points, 16 points behind the Lions. They have lost their last 3 successive matches including going down by 5 points away to the Sunwolves last week and that compares to the Jaguares who have reeled off 7 successive victories, 4 of which were over in Australia and New Zealand and last week they were too strong for the Stormers winning 25-14 in Buenos Aires. The Jaguares hammered the Bulls 54-24 at home earlier this season but the Bulls have only won the match between the two in Pretoria and that was a 26-13 win last year. I think the betting for this game looks about right and I am not going to have a huge involvement but I will go for a speculative play in the score first/full time market where the Jaguares are 28/10 to score first but lose the match.
The final match of the weekend is the big South African derby between the Stormers and the Sharks in Cape Town and the Stormers will be looking to bounce back from 4 successive losses including going down to the Jaguares away last week. They have won 5 out of their 7 home matches but have lost their last 2 against the Lions and the Chiefs. The Sharks came from behind to beat the Lions 31-24 in Durban last week and they are not without hope of making the playoffs and are currently priced at 17/10. The Sharks have battled on the road this season with only one victory and they have lost both local derbies against the Bulls and the Lions although the winning margin in each case was no more than 7 points. The Sharks beat the Stormers 24-17 in Durban earlier in the season and they have won 2 of their last 3 in Cape Town. Given that they have more to play for than their opponents I am quite happy to be taking anything better than even money that they win this match.
Chiefs v Brumbies – click here to bet
Handicap, Chiefs (-13.5) at 9/10
Hurricanes v Blues – click here to bet
Winning Margin, Hurricanes by under 12.5 points at 19/10
Waratahs v Sunwolves – click here to bet
Handicap, Waratahs (-16.5) at 9/10
Bulls v Jaguares – click here to bet
Score First/Full Time, Jaguares score first and lose at 28/10
Stormers v Sharks – click here to bet
Sharks win at 21/20.
Note: Prices correct at the time of posting but are subject to change