Go big on Sharks

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

Last week was a profitable one for us as we finished on the right side of the equation in quite a number of the matches, including the Sharks. I had Jake White's team to win by seven – they beat the Blues by six – and cashed in, as suggested, at 1.35 to 1 where the bookies were offering them to win by three points or more.

This weekend the Sharks are again the value bet. The bookies have them to beat the Stormers by seven. I've got the Sharks to win comfortably, by 15.

Crusaders vs Force
The Force have actually done rather well against the Crusaders in recent years, with the Crusaders winning only 50% of their matches, while the Force have recorded draws in both Perth and Christchurch. The Crusaders were fortunate to hold on for that 32-30 win against the Highlanders last week, with the TMO incorrectly, in my opinion, ruling that the last-minute 'try' was in fact no try. The Crusaders have blown hot and cold all season but they should be good enough to record a win here, and I've got the margin at 10. From a betting point of view, it's not worth getting involved as the online books have set the spread at 11, which means that when taking the handicap into account, this scoreline should go down to the wire.
Overall: Crusaders 4, Force 2, Draw 2
In Christchurch: Crusaders 2, Force 0 , Draw 1

Reds vs Highlanders
This will be my first bet of the round. And I'm going with the Reds, despite their lowly status on the overall table. They prop up the log with only three wins from their 12 games so far, while the Highlanders – unlucky last week – have won seven from 12. The bookies have given the Reds a two-point start in their even-money spread (double your stake if it wins) and I'm going for the Reds to win outright, so the extra two points at the end of 80 minutes is simply a bonus. Put R100 on the Reds in this scenario.
Overall: Reds 8, Highlanders 9
In Brisbane: Reds 7, Highlanders 2

Chiefs vs Waratahs
The Waratahs are flying the flag in the Australian conference and have picked up eight wins from their 12 matches so far. They have also picked up seven bonus points which is more than the top-placed Sharks and third-placed Crusaders. But they come up against a Chiefs side that will be desperate to move into the top half of the table. They're currently eighth out of 15 but it's tight in the competition for play-off places. They could even move above the Waratahs this weekend if they bank the five points. I've got the Chiefs to win by 10 and encourage R100 on them to still 'win' after two points have been added to the Waratahs final tally.
Overall: Chiefs 7, Waratahs 11.
In Hamilton: Chiefs 5, Waratahs 4

Blues vs Hurricanes
Here's another opportunity. Last week I went for the Sharks to beat the Blues but now I'm expecting the Aucklanders to bounce back and knock over the Hurricanes, who have shown strong form and are in the hunt for the play-offs. The bookies have given the Blues a 1-0 start and that could be decisive at the end of 80 minutes in what should be a close match. Put R100 on the Blues and double your money.
Head to head
Overall: Blues 13, Hurricanes 8, Draw 1
In Auckland: Blues 7, Hurricanes 4

Brumbies vs Rebels
The Brumbies will continue their dominance over the Rebels but they won't have matters all their own way in Canberra. The bookies have set the spread at seven points, but I fancy the Rebels can get within seven of their opponents at the final whistle. Have a bet on that basis if you like.
Overall: Brumbies 5, Rebels 2
In Canberra: Brumbies 3, Rebels 0

Lions vs Bulls
The first of the two South African derbies. This one at Ellis Park where the Lions were able to hammer the Stormers and record a high-scoring draw against the Chiefs. The bookies have put the spread at seven and could well be right, although I've got the Bulls to win by 10.
Overall: Lions 5, Bulls 14, Draw 1
In Johannesburg: Lions 2, Bulls 6, Draw 1

Sharks vs Stormers
The Stormers are over the moon after a resurgence in recent weeks and they come off a 33-0 hammering of the Cheetahs at a windswept Newlands last week. But the Sharks in Durban – in fact the Sharks anywhere – are a different proposition. They'll bring the Stormers down to earth with a big bump and I'm going big here. The bookies give the Stormers an effective 7-0 start. That won't be enough … I've got them to win by 15. R100 for the Sharks to win by more than seven would net a R200 return. Also take R100 on the Sharks to win by more than 10. Those odds of 1.2 to 1 would net a R220 return.
Overall:  Sharks 11, Stormers 10
In Durban: Sharks 7, Stormers 4

On betflash.co.za there is an accumulator available whereby you can make a multiple selection, all the odds being 0.92 to 1. For the proposes of the accumulator, I'm having R100 on the following scenarios: The Reds to 'win', after starting with an effective 2-0 lead, the Chiefs to 'win' after two points have been added to the Waratahs' final score, the Rebels to 'beat' the Brumbies once 10 points have been added to the Rebels' final score and the Sharks to 'beat' the Stormers once seven points have been added to the Stormers final score. A R110 stake would net a return of R640.

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images