THE MONEY MAN is putting R1,000 on the Stormers to win by four or more points at Loftus.
Last week was a good one, as I managed to recover most of the previous week's losses and still won R4,200. I'm sitting on R24,200, only R800 less than what I started with, meaning on my return on investment I'm down 3%. But I am confident that deficit will be overhauled by the end of the tournament and we'll finish with a positive net gain.
Reds vs Sunwolves
The bookies have the Reds favoured to win by 17 and with the Sunwolves valiantly holding the Stormers to a 17-17 draw in Singapore, you may well be tempted to believe the Japanese side will lose by fewer than that. Here's why you'd be wrong: the Sunwolves are a completely different team when playing on the road as opposed to at home in Tokyo and Singapore. Two perfect examples to illustrate this point are their fixtures against the Cheetahs and Stormers. They took a 75-point beating against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, but lost by a single point to the same opposition in Singapore. Against the Stormers in Cape Town, the Sunwolves lost by 27 points, but last week they drew 17-17 with Robbie Fleck's team in Singapore. Add to this the simple fact that Aussie teams hold no fear of playing the Japanese, as proven by the Rebels' 26-point win over the Sunwolves and the Sunwolves' 18-point defeat to the Force. The Reds are by no means a strong outfit, but they are miles better than the Force, and in Brisbane they will be up for a game they have to win. Which they will. I'm taking a R1,000 bet on the Reds to beat the Sunwolves by 17 or more. It pays R900 plus my stake back.
Chiefs vs Rebels
The Chiefs are favourited to win by 16.5 by the bookies. They've had a tough schedule and lost their last game by 13 points against the Highlanders. And their last three wins have only been by an average of three points. So, is there any value in backing the Rebels with a 16.5 handicap? And the simple answer is no. The Rebels lost to the Bulls by three, the Highlanders by 24 and the Hurricanes by 25. They are not a strong team and four of their five wins have come against the Reds, Cheetahs, Sunwolves and Force, all teams with woeful records. So let's back the Chiefs, with a R1,000 bet placing, to comfortably win by 17 or more.
Force vs Blues
The 'mighty' Force offer punters the green-light special this week. And by that I mean a banker of bankers. The bookies have the Blues to win by 3.5 points; how they came up with that handicap I just don't know. The Force managed to avoid an eighth straight defeat by beating the Sunwolves. The Blues on the other hand have five wins, four losses and a draw, with one of the victories coming against the champion Highlanders. The Blues haven't lost to Aussie opposition this year and will be targeting this must-win game as a banker for a much-needed bonus-point win. They will in all probability win by double digits. As my banker for the weekend, I'm backing the Blues to defeat the Force by four or more points with a R2,500 bet placing, which will win me R2,250 and my stake back.
Lions vs Jaguares
This game causes me some concern. The bookies, rightly, have the Lions favoured at 14.5 points. Although I think the Lions will get the job done, my major issue is the attractive brand the Lions play. Their style suits the Jaguares perfectly. The open, free-flowing game would have cost the Chiefs the match against the Jaguares if not for a late try. For R500, I pick the Jaguares to not lose by 15 or more at Ellis Park. This could well be a 90-point game, but I expect it'll be close. Hell, if the Lions play anything like they did against the Hurricanes three weeks ago, they could even be in for a shock.
Sharks vs Kings
This is a red-light special. Stay well away. Will the Sharks win? Most certainly. Teams usually lower their performance to match that of their opponents and this game will probably be one such occasion. On SuperBru, I picked the Sharks to win by 20, but I'm not placing any bet on this match because I'm saving my money for the last game of the weekend.
Bulls vs Stormers
The bookies can't split these rivals and I'm not sure why. The Stormers have dominated these derbies recently and you should not be fooled by their draw against the Sunwolves. Don't let that result stop you from cashing in on this game. The Stormers have gotten better, while the Bulls are a mediocre team at best. This young Stormers team have no fear of travelling to Loftus, in fact it seems they look forward to it. The Stormers will beat the Bulls by at least four or more points and for R1,000, I'm taking that bet to win R1,300 plus my stake.
R300 will win you R3,000 but all four bet placings have to win in order for you to collect the payout.
– 1/3 on the Reds to lead the Sunwolves at half-time and full-time
– 9/10 on the Chiefs to lead the Rebels by eight or more points at half-time
– 9/10 on the Blues to defeat the Force by at least four points
– 13/10 on the Stormers to win by four or more against the Bulls at Loftus
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images