THE MONEY MAN will be putting R500 on the Crusaders to cover the handicap of the match at Loftus Versfeld.
Last week was a mixed bag for me with some long shots almost coming in. But close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.
Despite last week's setbacks I am still showing a profit for the year and I have no doubt we will show a profit when the curtain closes on this Super Rugby season.
Hurricanes (-13.5) vs Rebels (+13.5)
The 5-0 Hurricanes will win this game, but by how many? The 2-3 Rebels are not very good but are at least competitive and have not lost by more than 10 points all season. I will not be betting on this game, but I believe the Hurricanes will win handily and inflict the heaviest defeat to date on the Rebels. Hurricanes by 17 points.
Reds (-6.5) vs Lions (+6.5)
The Reds are a bad rugby team; they are 1-4 and have a -86 points difference. When they lose it is by an average of 21.5 points. The Lions have looked a much better outfit than the Reds and some question why the Reds are favoured at all. The Lions can win this game if they play like they did last week against the Rebels. I will be placing R250 on the Lions to not lose by seven or more. At 2/1 the Lions offer even better value.
Chiefs (-18.5) vs Cheetahs (+18.5)
Last week the Cheetahs were well and truly fleeced by the Crusaders, although their 43-point loss wasn't quite enough to see me win my long shot bet. That result proved what we already know – the Cheetahs don't travel well. Furthermore, they have rested a number of key players for this one and I expect the 4-2 Chiefs to be too strong for them, even in the wet. I don't see the -18.5 handicap being a problem, so I will be putting R500 down to win R450 plus my stake of R500.
Highlanders (-2.5) vs Stormers (+2.5)
The Stormers have made a great start to the season and although they were beaten last time out, they still find themselves in an ideal position. They come into this match against the Highlanders on the back of a bye, and look a team in a good place. They've also won their last six against the Highlanders, which can't be ignored. However, the Highlanders have already shown themselves capable against the Chiefs and Waratahs this season, so I'd suggest steering clear of this one. If you must, back the Stormers to win outright.
Waratahs (-11.5) vs Blues (+11.5)
The Blues have yet to pick up a win this season, but unlike the Reds, they're not a bad rugby team. They remain one of the most successful franchises in the history of the competition and are perhaps down on their luck at the moment. It wouldn't surprise me to see them spring a surprise against the Waratahs, who have failed to reach the heights of last season. The Blues have picked up a losing bonus point in their last three defeats to the Waratahs, while they have won three of the last four matches between the sides. The +11.5 on the Blues looks good value to me, making this my banker bet of the weekend. I'll be putting R750 on the Blues to finish within 12 points, but it wouldn't surprise me if they went one better and got the win.
Sharks (-12.5) vs Force (+12.5)
My advice is to stay clear of this game – there's no value to be found here. The Sharks have been forced to rest a number of key players and will be weaker for it. The Force pushed the Bulls all the way at Loftus last weekend, and probably deserved to come away with a win. They have managed a losing bonus point in two of their four visits to Durban and showed enough in Pretoria to suggest they'll cover the 'cap here.
Bulls (+1.5) vs Crusaders (-1.5)
I really can't see the Bulls winning this one. The Crusaders, with Richie McCaw back and Dan Carter calling the shots at flyhalf, should have too much for them. The Bulls looked to be coming good following victories over the Sharks and the Cheetahs, but against the Force, their old failings returned. The Crusaders aren't going to give Handré Pollard the chances from the kicking tee that the Force did. I'm expecting the Crusaders to win this quite comfortably and I'll be putting R500 on them to cover the 'cap.
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