‘Back Blues to bounce back’

SARugbymag.co.za's new betting guru tells you where to put your money in round three of Vodacom Super Rugby.

Last week saw me go 6-1 in my SuperBru and 3-4 versus the spread. Gambling has a way of separating the men from the boys. It also has a way of separating men from their hard-earned cash if they lack the discipline.

I was encouraged and humbled by your interaction, so keep the questions coming. Last week I was 0/2 with my largest bet riding on the Stormers, which in past years would be a recipe for bankruptcy. But not this year.

Gert Smal has that group of coaches and players playing with character. While the form guide is a little clearer, I still advise you to take it easy and wait for the games that offer value.

Week three offers some great match-ups and a solid opportunity to build our cash reserves for the season.

Highlanders (-7.5) vs Reds (+7.5), Dunedin

Weather in this game is a non-factor as it will be played under a roof. The Reds, winners last week, have not fared well in New Zealand and this game should be no different. In fact this is my banker and I expect the Highlanders to beat the Reds by 14 points. I am going to be putting R500 down for them to cover the -7.5 handicap and cruise to victory. Last week's cyclone weather really levelled the playing field in Brisbane and if they play another kick-and-chase game they will take a beating.

Force (+2.5) vs Hurricanes (-2.5), Perth

The Hurricanes are at the tail-end of a successful road trip that has seen them beat what may well prove to be the two whipping boys of this tournament. Though beating the Bully Boys and the Lions back-to-back is no mean feat, it's hardly the stuff of legends and they will have a rested and fired up Force team to contend with this weekend. The weather is predicted to be ideal for rugby. I won’t be betting on this but I do think the Hurricanes are potential title-contenders and will be including them at 7/10 in an accumulator bet.

Cheetahs (-3.5) vs Blues (+3.5), Bloemfontein

Be careful of the weather in this game as conditions may not be ideal for running rugby. The early forecast is for thunder and lightning. It’s never easy playing after a bye and this is a game the Blues will have targeted to win. This is their third game on the trot and they should be a more cohesive unit. I will be taking the Blues with the +3.5 points they are getting and would not at all be surprised to see them win this one outright. I won’t be going big with this game and will be putting them into my accumulator.

Chiefs (-4.5) vs Crusaders (+4.5), Hamilton

Clear skies are predicted for what should be a ding-dong battle. It's hard to bet against the Crusaders, especially when you can get a 15/10 return for an outright win or +4.5 points on the scoreboard to start the game. The Chiefs have named a strong team and I will be giving this game a wide berth and recommend you guys do the same. I expect this one to be very close –  if you have to bet, take the Crusaders on the handicap at 9/10.

Rebels (+6.5) vs Brumbies (-6.5), Melbourne

Blue skies again for this Australian derby. There is no doubt the Rebels are on the rise. A win in Christchurch and a narrow defeat last week to the Waratahs are evidence enough of this. The Brumbies, though, do look the pick of the Australian contingency but I expect a close game, and the +6.5 points the Rebels get in this one offers decent value. I am placing R150 on the Rebels at 9/10 to come within seven points of the Brumbies.

Bulls vs Sharks, Pretoria

The bookies are offering 9/10 for either team to win this one. They make it a coin toss but I feel the Sharks will win this game, as I have seen nothing from the Bulls to convince me otherwise. The weather is expected to be messy so I anticipate a titanic forward battle with the Sharks squeaking home by less than seven. I won’t be betting on this game, though.

Lions (+4.5) vs Stormers (-4.5), Johannesburg

As you probably guessed by now there is a definite storm system predicted to hit the highveld on the weekend and Joburg will receive its fair share of thunder and lightning. I won’t be betting on this game unless the bookies make a mistake thinking this game will be filled with lots of points. The Stormers are looking good since Gert Smal took over as director of rugby and if the Lions play an open brand of rugby, the Stormers will tear them to shreds. I do expect this one to be close, though. Again, if you have to have a bet, then take the Stormers to win by five or more points at 9/10.

Good luck everyone and don’t forget I will be placing other bets and posting on Facebook and Twitter.

Super Rugby teams (Round 3)

Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport