THE MONEY MAN is betting on the Stormers to beat the Cheetahs by 23-plus points at Newlands on Saturday.
We enter round 16 on a decent streak and a good bank roll. The R5,000 given to me by SARugbymag.co.za is now sitting at R16,475, which is a decent amount to play with.
My first bet is a lottery bet, because it needs all the underdogs to win outright. But for a R50 accumulator bet it pays R89,000 and in this life funnier things have happened. Crusaders 13/10, Bulls 22/10, Rebels 28/10, Chiefs 11/10, Reds 13/10, Cheetahs 5/1, Lions 12/10 @ R50 will pay out R89,106.39 if the improbable happens.
My next bet is an accumulator that has more chance of succeeding: most tries scored between Nemani Nadolo/Julian Savea, take the draw 9/10; Bulls to score nine or more points in first half 5/6; Sharks -6.5 points 7/10; Highlanders -1.5 points 9/10; Force -3.5 points 9/10; Stormers -13.5 8/10, and Waratahs outright 7/10. All these bets accumulated @ R100 will pay back R6,429.54.
Crusaders (+2.5) vs Hurricanes (-2.5)
Simon Borchardt, the managing editor of SA Rugby magazine, has written a good piece on the Crusaders' chances in Nelson on Friday. The Crusaders are indeed fielding a weaker side due to injuries and the following players are all out: Joe Moody, Sam Whitelock, Kieran Reid, Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty and Israel Dagg. Yes, the Crusaders have to win, but that will not prevent the Hurricanes, who are fielding an almost full-strength side, from cruising to victory. I am putting R1,000 on the Hurricanes to win by at least three points or more.
Brumbies (-7.5) vs Bulls (+7.5)
Both teams can still finish first in their respective conferences and winning in Canberra on Friday would go a long way towards accomplishing that. With the injured Jan Serfontein going home, not many people give the Bulls much of a chance. The Brumbies are clear favourites. The Bulls are my team and for that reason I am hoping for a Bulls victory and I won’t be betting on the outcome of this game. However, I will be putting R500 on the Bulls to have scored nine or more points by half-time. The Brumbies should win a fairly high-scoring game and score four or more tries.
Sharks (-8.5) vs Rebels(8.5)
It seems like a long time since we've been treated to a Friday night game, but I’m not sure this game can be called a treat. A poorly coached Sharks team will play a well-drilled Rebels team. The bookies have given the Rebels 8.5 points, which could be a mistake, while Mark Keohane has picked the Rebels to win this game outright (and as the SARugbymag.co.za Superbru leaderboard shows, he’s more often right than wrong). Fear not Shark fans, Mr Keohane is wrong and your team will win this game and eliminate any chance the Rebels had of post-season action. They will do it with ease and win by 10 points or more. I am putting down R250 @ 3/1 on the Sharks to win by 17 points or more.
Highlanders (-1.5) vs Chiefs (+1.5)
Weather: N/A (under roof)
This should be the pick of the games to watch this weekend with a single point separating these teams with identical 9-4 records. Whoever wins this game is guaranteed a play-off berth. For me, home-field advantage and a couple of key people out for the Chiefs, points to a narrow Highlanders victory. Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam are still not available for the Chiefs. If you factor in that the Highlanders have already beaten the Chiefs away from home, the case for a Highlanders victory gets stronger. For me the Highlanders have been the more consistent side this year and if it wasn’t for running out of steam against the Lions, they would have a better record. I won’t be going crazy on this game but I will be putting down R500 for a Highlanders victory by two or more points @9/10.
Force (-3.5) vs Reds (+3.5)
The worst two teams in the tournament do battle in this game and with only five wins between them it could be an ugly affair. I’m hoping the Reds with Quade Cooper back can play some of that rugby they are capable of. The Reds beat the Force 18-6 in Brisbane this year and may well just not be bad enough to do the double over the most disappointing team of the year. This game is a toss-up and I expect the Reds could well win this one so take the 3.5 points the bookies are giving you, I know I will. l’m putting R500 on them to finish within four points.
Stormers (-14.5) vs Cheetahs (+14.5)
Weather: Heavy rain
As I write this column less than 1km from Newlands Stadium, it's absolutely bucketing down, and it's not predicted to be any better on Saturday. Last year in similar weather the Stormers shut out the Cheetahs 33-0. The Stormers will win this game, there is no doubt about that, even those die-hard Cheetah fans are not silly enough to believe any different. The Cheetahs are still hurting and carrying many injuries so I don’t see them putting up much resistance and 3/1 for the Stormers to win by 23 or more may be the best value bet. I am going to put R500 on that to win R1,500. Go Stormers!
Lions (+2.5) vs Waratahs (-2.5)
I like the Lions. They are a team that plays for each other and I believe Johann Ackerman has done a great job as coach, but this is a bridge too far. The Waratahs are a better side with more talented players. They will front up to the physicality of the Lions and may, in fact, dominate them. The Waratahs have improved as the tournament has progressed and I get the feeling the Lions have not much left in the tank as they’ve given it their all each game. This game is my banker and I am putting R4,000 on the Waratahs to win by three or more points @9/10, which will pay back R3,600.
Good luck this weekend folks, with all your bets and play responsibly.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images