Bet on Highlanders, Bulls

Where you should put your money in Super Rugby this weekend, according to MARK KEOHANE.

The odds are stacked in favour of the home teams again this weekend, with the exception being in Melbourne where the Sharks are favourites to beat the Rebels. I agree with the bookies in all their preferences, with the exception of Newlands. The Highlanders were impressive in Durban last week and travel to Cape Town with a head of steam. They take on a Stormers side that has been poor all season and I can't see the locals digging themselves out of the hole that they have dug for themselves. has a new section on their site this week called Flash Sale. In it they list each match with an even-money (double your money) spread. You can also get the draw, at 10-1, which means that once you've added (or subtracted) the handicap spread from the final scoreline and the teams are level, the match is a 'draw'.

I'm going to have a go at the 'draw' option in the match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies in Christchurch. I have the Crusaders winning by three, which is what offer as well. So, take the three away from the Crusaders' final score and if the teams are then level, the match is a betting 'draw' and you cash in at 10-1. Therefore just a R50 bet would see you net a return of R550.

Blues vs Reds
Although the Reds have enjoyed a slight advantage in their overall head to heads, in Auckland the Blues have dominated, winning five of the eight matches, and drawing one. I reckon they'll add to that statistic and have them winning comfortably, by 10 points. The bookies have set the even-money spread at six points, but even when one takes those six off the Blues' final score I think they'll be ahead on the scoreboard. R100 would net you a R200 return in that case.
Super Rugby head to head
Overall: Blues 8, Reds 11, Draw 1
In Auckland: Blues 5, Reds 2, Draw 1

Rebels vs Sharks
The Melbourne side has never beaten the Sharks and I can't see that trend changing this weekend. It's true that Jake White's team came unstuck in Durban last weekend and they have had to make the long haul from west to east as they start their overseas tour, so travel fatigue could count against them, but still, they should have the ability to bounce back. The bookies have the even-money spread at two points, which means that at the final whistle, take two points off the Sharks' and see if they still 'win'. I've got them to take it by seven, so am backing the Sharks at even money on R100 will see a R200 return.
Super Rugby head to head
Overall: Rebels 0, Sharks 3
In Melbourne: Rebels 0, Sharks 2

Crusaders vs Brumbies
The New Zealand franchise has recovered from a slow start but they are still not the force of previous seasons. They come up against a Brumbies side that is playing with a lot of pace and confidence. This should be the pick of the round, the best match in terms of a spectacle. I've got the Crusaders to win it by three, which is the spread the bookies have set. That's why I'm going for the even-money 'draw'!
Super Rugby head to head
Overall: Crusaders 12, Brumbies 8
In Christchurch: Crusaders 8, Brumbies 2

Chiefs vs Lions
Right, here we go. The Lions couldn't have started their overseas tour with a tougher match and they're going to find it a long trip away from home. The Chiefs will put 15 points' daylight between themselves and the Lions. The bookies have set the spread at 17, which makes taking a bet difficult. I'll stay out of this match from a betting perspective.
Super Rugby head to head
Overall: Chiefs 12, Lions 5*
In Hamilton: Chiefs 7, Lions 1
* Includes Cats

Waratahs vs Hurricanes
The second most attractive fixture of the round. One never knows what you're going to get from the Hurricanes but I reckon that in Sydney the Waratahs will be too strong. They're well organised and well coached and the bookies have set the even-money handicap at four points in their favour. I'm going for them to win by five, which means that it's a tough call from a betting perspective.
Super Rugby head to head
Overall: Waratahs 8, Hurricanes 11
In Sydney: Waratahs 6, Hurricanes 3

Stormers vs Highlanders
Fortress Newlands? No way, not when it comes to the Highlanders. In their 10 matches at the venue over the years they've won five matches each, and that's a high percentage of victories for the away team. They'll enjoy their stay in Cape Town this visit too and coming off the back of a strong performance in Durban last week they can post an impressive double on their South African tour. The bookies make the Stormers to win by two. That means that you can add two points to the Highlanders total at the end of 80 minutes. I've got them to win comfortably in any case, so for me this represents the bet of the round. A confident R200 on the Highlanders would net a return of R400.
Super Rugby head to head
Overall: Stormers 7, Highlanders 9, Draw 1
In Cape Town: Stormers 5, Highlanders 5

Bulls vs Cheetahs
A good old South African derby at Loftus. There'll be plenty of grunt, blood and sweat, along with plenty mistakes. The Bulls were truly awful in the wet in Perth last week but back on familiar home turf they'll go up a gear or two. They'll need to, because the Cheetahs will also fancy their own chances. The bookies have the Bulls to win by five, but I think it will be around 10. Back the Bulls to win on the scoreboard even when you've added five to the Cheetahs score at the end of the game.
Super Rugby head to head
Overall: Bulls 12, Cheetahs 9*
In Pretoria: Bulls, 6, Cheetahs 4
* Includes Cats

Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images