THE MONEY MAN is betting on the Bulls to beat the Cheetahs by 10 or more points at Loftus on Saturday.
From a betting point of view, last week was the worst I've ever experienced in Super Rugby. On the bets I placed, including the in-running ones, I lost R9,000, taking us from R3,000 and a profit of R5,000, to a loss of R4,000 overall.
Highlanders vs Force
The Force have lost their three games by an average of 34 points. They do not offer much in attack and their defence has been atrocious. Meanwhile, the Highlanders have yet to put a foot wrong since losing their opening game against the Blues. The bookies are putting a 17.5-point headstart on the board for the Force, but you'd have to be a fool to back them even with that start. I will not touch this game, but if I had to pick I would go Highlanders to win by 18 or more points.
Lions vs Crusaders
The Crusaders dominated the Sharks last weekend and should've won more convincingly. The 19-14 scoreline flattered the Sharks. The Lions will give them a much sterner test on Friday night and the bookies have the Crusaders as slight favourites by giving the Lions a 2.5-point headstart. I really fancy the Lions to do the business at Ellis Park. Their only loss this year came against the Highlanders, who are one of the form teams so far. They've swept other teams aside and beat arguably the strongest side, the Chiefs, in Hamilton. I think the bookies have got this wrong and should have favourited the Lions. I'll be placing a R1,000 bet that the Lions record an outright win over the Crusaders. I'll also be paying close attention to this game and will be offering in-running advice and betting tips on my Facebook page.
Blues vs Jaguares
For me, the Jaguares have been the biggest disappointment of the tournament. Their only win was against a very poor Cheetahs team. That said, the biggest margin they've lost by is five points and all three defeats came against sides (Sharks, Chiefs and Stormers) with a winning record. It could be argued that a more clinical team could well be 4-0 instead of 1-3. The Blues have looked average since that first-round victory over the Highlanders and have only managed to draw against the lowly Reds. The bookies are giving the Jaguares a 10.5-point start in this match and I'll be putting down R500 on them to cover this spread and not lose by 11 or more points.
Brumbies vs Chiefs
If you're looking for an upset this weekend, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more attractive betting option than what's on offer in this game. The bookies are giving the Chiefs a 4.5-point headstart on the scoreboard and although formidable at home, the Brumbies hardly warrant that type of favouritism. This game, in all honesty, should really be a coin toss. I am putting down R1,000 on the Chiefs to not lose by five or more.
Kings vs Sunwolves
Let's hope this doesn't end in a draw so that one of these teams can get their first victory. Both the Kings and Sunwolves have been predictable punching bags for their opponents this year and when searching for form, the only thing we can look at is who's being punched less. The Kings have played the tougher schedule against teams with winning records and predictably have lost by an average of 31.25 points per game. The Sunwolves, on the other hand, have lost by an average of 10.75 points per game, but have played against weaker opposition. The Kings are at home and therefore the favourites. The bookies have them to win by three or more points, but I think the Sunwolves will cause an upset. Based on the number in front of me, I'll be placing a R1,000 bet (to win back R1,300) that the Sunwolves will clinch an outright victory in Port Elizabeth.
Bulls vs Cheetahs
The Bulls are back home after an unconvincing three-point win over the Sunwolves and the bookies have them as favourites to win by 10 or more against the Cheetahs, who've offered nothing this season. The Bloemfontein-based outfit are one of the three worst teams in the competition. Even though this is a derby match, I see the Bulls walking away with bragging rights. As my banker for the weekend, I'm putting down R2,000 to win R1,800 plus my stake, on the Bulls to beat the Cheetahs by double digits.
Waratahs vs Rebels
The Waratahs are 2-2, which is incredibly flattering considering both wins came against the Reds. The Rebels are 3-2, but those wins were against three of the worst performing teams (the Force, Reds and Sunwolves). Hardly makes for good viewing. This game should be quite close and the only form guide we can go by is defeats to the Highlanders, who beat the Rebels by 24 points and the Waratahs by four. The bookies have favoured the Waratahs to win by 10 or more points, but I think it'll be closer. In fact, the Rebels may even nick a victory. So on that basis, I'm placing a R1,000 bet, to win R1,900 plus my stake, that the Rebels will not lose by 10 or more points in Sydney.
– 9/10 on the Highlanders to win by 18 or more points against the Force
– 9/10 on the Lions to beat the Crusaders by 2.5 or more points
– 9/10 on the Jaguares to not lose by 10.5 or more points against the Blues
– 9/10 on the Chiefs to beat the Brumbies by 4.5 points or more
– 13/10 on the Sunwolves to win outright against the Kings in Port Elizabeth
– 9/10 on the Bulls to defeat the Cheetahs by 10 or more points
– 9/10 on the Rebels to not lose by 10 or more points to the Waratahs
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images