Lions to tear Sharks to shreds

THE MONEY MAN will be putting R500 down on the Lions to beat the Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Last week was a great success! Sorry Sharks fans, but I never bet with my heart and my only regret is that I never had every penny I have on the Crusaders, who never looked like losing.

This weekend I will be taking it easy, as there are a few potential banana peels and it could be a good weekend to have some fun accumulator bets. I will make my predictions and steer you through a perilous week, but be sensible and don’t go chasing a profit.

To start off the week I am going to put down a six-team accumulator which, simply put, is the original bet rolling over onto the next game and, if you are successful, it will pay a handsome return.

I will be taking: Blues 12/10, Stormers 5/2, Cheetahs 14/10, Lions 9/10, Highlanders 5/2 all to win outright for R100. If the improbable happens and they all come in I will get back R12,189. Any of these teams are capable of winning the games such is the parity in this year's competition.

Blues (+2.5) vs Brumbies (-2.5)
Weather: Heavy rain

The 0-7 Blues kick off the worst betting week I’ve seen in Super Rugby against the 5-2 Brumbies. The weather is set to be awful with heavy rain and thunderstorms predicted. I expect another ugly game of rugby with many handling errors from both teams. The Brumbies, who play in the sheltered world of the Australian conference, are not as good as their record would have you believe. Just look who they have beaten: Reds twice (47-3 and 29-0), Force (27-15), Rebels (20-15). The Blues are winless but are not as bad as they appear and I believe they will upset the Brumbies this week. I am not betting on this game because it offers no value and neither should you.

Crusaders (-7.5) vs Highlanders (+7.5)
Weather: 50% chance of rain

The Crusaders have been showing signs of their class of late and although they had the advantage of a red card in Durban, let’s not forget they had a 28-0 lead at the Shark Tank before all the stupidity started. This should be an interesting game and bear in mind both Dan Carter and Richie McCaw will start on the bench. I expect the Crusaders to win but not by much and a 7.5 spread is a dangerous one. Teams that trail by eight, nine or 10 points are frequently given soft penalties on attack in the dying embers of a match and almost always will kick for points to earn the bonus point. I have lost several bets over the years to this tragedy. For this reason I will be a spectator and advise you, if you have to bet, to take the Highlanders finish within eight points.

Waratahs (-7.5) vs Stormers (+7.5)
Weather: Fine

The Stormers have been a big disappointment on this tour and will probably leave with nothing to show for it. Duane Vermeulen is back in Cape Town and without his immense presence I doubt the Stormers will be able to win this game. The Waratahs have shown signs of improvement lately and will win this game, but the 5/2 for a Stormers upset does offer value in a two-horse race. I have already placed my bet of R500 for the Stormers to finish within eight points and I suggest you do the same.

Force (-3.5) vs Cheetahs (+3.5)
Weather: Rain all weekend

This should be a messy, low-scoring affair, and is the game the SA Rugby magazine staff are most undecided on. It will be close but I believe at home, against a poor Cheetahs side, the Force will win and win by the four or more points needed for my bet of R250 to be a successful one.

Lions vs Sharks
Weather: Fine

This game is my banker and here’s why … I could use many adjectives to describe the current Sharks side but  'shambolic' sums them up best. They have been the biggest disappointment of the tournament so far and things are not going to get better this week. Suspensions to Bismark du Plessis, Jean Deysel and Frans Steyn have been self-inflicted wounds and now with Pat Lambie out they are bringing a Vodacom Cup team to Ellis Park to play a gritty, in-form Lions team that will eat them alive. The Sharks brand still has bookies overvaluing their ability, while the long-suffering Lions brand is still undervalued. How the bookies have this game as an even contest beggars belief. The Lions play for their coach and each other and this will prove decisive on Saturday. I am putting down R500 on the Lions to win – which they will do with ease on Saturday. Take this one to the bank, folks.

Bulls (-14.5) vs Reds (+14.5)
Weather: Fine

The Reds are pathetic. In fact they may well be an insult to a pathetic team like the Sharks. This game will be a blowout and the 15 points the Bulls need to win by to collect your bet may well be achieved by half-time. Folks, this could be a cricket score and I will be putting another R500 on the Bulls beating the Reds black and blue on Saturday night. Get on this one – I expect a very high-scoring game of 60 points or more.

Good luck this weekend, folks, and remember to gamble with a sense of control and don’t go chasing your losses.

SA Rugby magazine team's SuperBru predictions

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Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images