THE MONEY MAN is putting R1,000 on the Stormers to beat the Blues by one point or more at Newlands on Friday night.
When I looked at this week's betting, and did the exercise of handicapping before comparing with the bookies, I was astounded that I had the Stormers by six. The bookies could not separate these teams and have the Stormers by one.
This may seem insignificant to those who don't follow sports betting, but it is a massive difference. I don't know, or in fact care, who wins on Friday, but the Stormers to win by one or more at 9/10 is a great value bet.
I'm not going to try and rationalise what WSB are getting wrong with their handicapping, I'm just going to make the bet of R1,000 to win R900.
It may well be that WSB have it spot on, they do make a living from this line of work, but I believe the value lies in the overreaction to a horrible New Zealand tour. I can guarantee that if the Blues had arrived to play the Stormers after the Chiefs, the Stormers would have been favoured by at least 10.
In Friday's first game, the Chiefs will take on the Crusaders in Suva, Fiji.
No doubt an argument can be made why a Super Rugby game is being played there. Only a moron would believe it.
Don't think for a moment the players are enjoying a holiday in Fiji. No one in their right mind would want to play a game in the middle of the ocean, where the stadium and facilities are questionable at best.
This makes betting on this game a tricky proposition. Like the current state of Super Rugby, and the intellectually challenged self-serving executives who guide this game, don't look for a logical winner. Throw logic and form out of the window!
The team that handles the disruption of playing in Fiji will win this game. The Chiefs seem to have the Crusaders' number and may handle this situation better. They certainly did last year and beat the Crusaders by 10.
I will rely on my old friend Mr Statistics to guide my bet on this match. My bet is R750 to win R750 plus my stake back that the first half has more combined points than the second half.
The stats show this is a high probability:
– These teams have played a combined total of 21 matches this year, and in 15.5 of them, more points have been scored in the first half than in the second. For those such as our numerically-challenged president, that is almost 74% of the time.
– The Crusaders give up very few second-half points. They have conceded 8.55 on average in the second half this season; a very respectable and miserly number.
– However, there is one team better than the Crusaders at conceding fewer points in the second half, and they are the Chiefs. From a proficiency rating perspective, they give up 25% fewer points in the second half of games this year – a paltry 6.20 points per second half – which almost beggars belief.
– If you are unmoved by such unemotional indicators, then try this for size: Suva is not a big rugby field and with 86% humidity conditions will be slippery and energy-sapping. I anticipate a low-scoring game with less thrills served up as we watch players look to the heavens – hands on hips or arms over head – and try figure out just WTF they are doing playing a game in the middle of nowhere.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images