THE MONEY MAN will be putting R1,000 down on the Vodacom Bulls to beat the Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday.
Round 10 is upon us and there is plenty to smile about this weekend – some great games coming up and one or two I believe the bookies have got wrong. Last week we crushed it and made a nice profit turning the charity account from R5,000 to over R18,000. My strategy, though, will stay the same and continue to look for good value bets. So far this year I am 6-3 on my banker bets which is a huge strike rate in betting terms. For those who made big money last week, well done. I really am delighted if I’ve helped you, so let's get stuck in for our third winning week on the trot.
Crusaders (-1.5) vs Chiefs (+1.5)
Weather: 40% chance of rain
The last time these two teams met, in Hamilton, the Chiefs hammered the Crusaders 40-16. It was a bruising affair and in fairness to the Crusaders they were without Israel Dagg, Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock and Dan Carter. Those four are in the starting XV for Friday's match and without doubt they will bolster a side that is desperate for a win. The 4-4 Crusaders have to win this game if they hope to make the play-offs. I know no better team with their backs to the wall than the Crusaders. This game will come down to who wants it more and I have little doubt the team in red will have that fire in their bellies. It will be close and probably not pretty to watch, but the Crusaders will emerge victorious. I have bet R250 and got even money on the Crusaders to win by three or more.
Hurricanes (-5.5) vs Waratahs (+5.5)
Weather: Rain forecast
The 7-0 Hurricanes host the 4-3 Waratahs, who have not played anything like the defending champions. All four of their wins have come against Australian opponents and we all know how weak that conference is turning out to be. The Hurricanes have not blown teams away but they have found a way to win, even though they started with a lengthy road tour. Not enough can be said about how John Plumtree has helped the forward pack, who provide their dangerous backs with the go forward ball they require. The Hurricanes will go 8-0 after this game and they will win by at least six points. I have not bet on them, but do have them in my accumulator.
Highlanders (-6.5) vs Blues (+6.5)
This game I advise you strongly to avoid for betting purposes, and I have even left it out of my accumulator. The 5-2 Highlanders should beat the 1-7 Blues, but it wouldn’t shock me if they didn’t. The issue I have with the game is the 6.5 handicap. The Highlanders don’t win games by big margins and the Blues don’t lose games by big margins. I expect this New Zealand derby to be close and if you have to bet then take the 6.5 points the Blues get as they won’t lose by seven or more points.
Brumbies (-11.5) vs Rebels (+11.5)
Weather: Rain forecast
At the beginning of the week the Brumbies were favoured by 14.5 points, meaning the bookies had expected them to win by 15 or more points. Obviously that was too generous and people took advantage of that mistake. It’s impossible to advise until I see team sheets but people have been backing the Rebels because the handicap has shortened by three points which is considerable in the betting world. When these teams met in Melbourne a few weeks ago the score was 20-15. The Rebels are well coached and allowing five points for home-field advantage I still think 11.5 is too generous especially as conditions are predicted to be wet under foot. The Brumbies lost to the Blues last week and I’ve already told you their victories have not impressed me much, as they’ve beaten up on the hapless Reds for two of their wins by a combined score of 75-3. I took the Rebels early in the week with +14.5 for R500 but I still don’t see the Brumbies winning by 12 or more points. Take the points and the Rebels to finish within 12 points, you should be safe.
Force (+4.5) vs Stormers (-4.5)
It was a great team performance by the Stormers last week but I won’t be placing money on this game. Sure, the Stormers should win, but they could just as easily lose. It is the last game on tour and a team on a high usually experiences a low after such a showing. I would take the Force to come within six points, even as bad as they are.
Sharks (-1.5) vs Bulls (+1.5)
Sorry Sharks fans but this week again you are my banker, but not for the win. How the bookies have the Sharks as favourites is beyond me. Even the most die-hard Sharks fan would be lying to themselves if they believe they are the favourites for this match. The Sharks are a team in turmoil and if they lose this game their season is hopelessly lost, but I just don’t see how they can win it. The Bulls are fielding a very good side and the Sharks still have suspensions and injury problems, their ill-discipline, poor tackling (20 missed tackles a game), and their lack of a kicker all point to a beating. Handré Pollard will kick them out of the game. The Bulls are my banker and I have put R1,000 and taken the 2.5 points on offer earlier in the week. I have also put a further R500 on the Bulls to win by seven or more points which will pay me R900 plus my wager back.
Cheetahs (-6.5) vs Reds (+6.5)
I would rather limp into any place other than Bloem if I were a Reds player. They take their rugby seriously in that neck of the woods and they can expect no mercy from a gritty Cheetahs side desperate for another victory. The Cheetahs will destroy them and win easily. I will be putting down R500 for the Cheetahs to win by seven or more points.
We made some good money from my accumulator last week and I am going to put down R500 on the Cheetahs (-7.5) 1/1, Bulls (-5.5) 5/2, Hurricanes (-4.5) 8/10, Crusaders (-2.5) 1/1. If they come in the payout is R12,200 or 24 times whatever stake you bet. Good luck this weekend and enjoy the games.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images