‘Sharks to stumble in Bloem’

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

I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who said: 'The gift of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those that don’t possess it'. It's for this exact same reason that bookies the world over make piles of cash while the cynics lick their wounds or chase the double down.

I love the interaction I get on this site and the response has been great but as the great Bruno would lament 'there’s always one' or a couple of people who point with hindsight to how they picked the Lions to beat the Blues or the Highlanders to beat the Chiefs.

For those who did, fantastic, but please give us a pic of your winning ticket just for posterity. For the cynical people out there I’m introducing my bathtub bet! Simply put, I’m putting R20 on an accumulator bet on all the underdogs each round. If it hits, I will give the winnings to the best hard-luck story someone sends me.

Why call it the bathtub bet you ask? Well, this week that R20 would payout over R43,000 if all the underdogs won or about 2500/1 which, by the way, is the same odds as you dying from falling down in your bath tub this weekend!

There are some more difficult games this week but I’ll guide you through them. If you’ve been following just my banker advice, I’m 2-1 and you’d have a healthy profit. I am playing for charity and currently down R150 of the R5,000 I was given by SA Rugby magazine. Obviously I play more than my bankers but you don’t have to. Play safe and be happy with your profit.

Hurricanes (-9.5) vs Blues (+9.5)
Weather: Fine

The week starts with the unbeaten Hurricanes against the winless Blues. On paper this one is simple, but games are not played on paper. The Blues are lacking confidence and trying to play the game at 100mph and this has led to many handling errors and turnovers mostly from isolated runners. They have amassed 1,722m in attack but have very little to show for it. If they get one or two breaks they can beat anyone on any given day, so tread carefully here. The Hurricanes have people in Wellington at least talking about a banner year and it's hard to argue with a team that has won three away games by an average winning margin of 16 points. This will be a tough test for them and I expect them to win a low-scoring game of under 50 total points, but I don’t expect them to win by the 10 points you would need to collect a 9/10 handicap bet. Rather take the points and bet on the Blues to finish within 10 points. It would not surprise me to see them win this one.

Force (-3.5) vs Rebels (+3.5)
Weather: Fine

After winning impressively on the opening weekend, neither of these sides have managed to live up to the potential of those victories and have failed to win a single match since. The only difference is the Rebels have shown a little more gravitas in losing theirs. This is a game I will be avoiding as there is no value. I do believe the Force will win, with the home-ground advantage the only reason for choosing this outcome.

Crusaders (-14.5) vs Lions (+14.5)
Weather: Fine

Last week a gritty Lions team stole a win from the Blues. It was a tremendous effort but one that will not be repeated in Christchurch. The Crusaders will be smarting after the humiliating 24-point beating they took against the Chiefs. They are also a far more cohesive and disciplined team than the Blues, and when the Lions kick possession away – as they have 95 times this year – they will be punished. I expect the Lions to do what they have done all year – kick away possession and tackle. The Crusaders will destroy the Lions by 30-plus points so I don’t see the -14.5 handicap as a problem. This is my banker for the week and I am putting down R1,000 to win R900 plus my stake of R1,000. Don’t panic in this game if the Lions stay in touch for 30 minutes, it's in the second half where the Crusaders will pull away and win by some distance. 

Highlanders (+3.5) vs Waratahs(-3.5)
Weather: Indoors

My advice is to stay clear of this game – it could go either way. The Highlanders have to be respected after their shock win last week against the Chiefs, while the Waratahs have not set the world on fire and have lost on their last two visits to Dunedin. If I was to bet I’d be putting my money on the Highlanders to win outright which pays 14/10.

Reds (+7.5) vs Brumbies(-7.5)
Weather: Fine

If the Crusaders are my banker then this has to be the mortgage bet. The Brumbies claimed a 47-3 victory in the first meeting between these teams and are by far the better team. You can get a 33% return on an investment on an outright win for the Brumbies. I will be putting R1,500 to win R495 plus my stake back. Folks, it doesn't get more bankable than this bet.

Stormers (-1.5) vs Chiefs (+1.5)
Weather: Fine

The Stormers are playing some excellent rugby and are off to a perfect 4-0 start. This Saturday they will be tested by a Chiefs side who suffered a shock defeat to the Highlanders last weekend. The bookies can’t really separate these teams and I will be watching purely as a spectator. This one is too close to call, but it’s hard to bet against the Stormers, who besides playing at home, also have the benefit of not travelling halfway around the world as the Chiefs have done. The Stormers have been a pleasure to watch this year and are playing with a purpose and passion I’ve not seen in years, and anyone who doubted Gert Smal's appointment should be rethinking that opinion. Take the Stormers with the -1.5 handicap but go easy, this game could go either way.

Cheetahs (+2.5) vs Sharks (-2.5)
Weather: Rain forecast

If you remember last week I mentioned that I felt the Sharks have too many people involved in the kitchen and this must be a major irritant to Gary Gold. I don’t see much improving for the Sharks anytime soon as they are a team full of characters, but a team without character. It will be a hard-fought battle on Saturday but I don’t believe the Sharks have what it takes in the ticker department to win this one in Bloem. It really is a must-win game for them, which is exactly why they will lose it. I am taking the Cheetahs to win outright at 12/10 and placing R250 on them to do just that.

I look forward to this week and please keep the comments and piss-taking coming. It’s the best week yet to cash in on some obvious bets and remember to be careful getting in and out of the bathtub this weekend!

Super Rugby teams (Round 5)

Follow The Money Man on Twitter

Like The Money Man's Facebook page

SA Rugby magazine team's predictions

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images