THE MONEY MAN is betting on the Highlanders and Stormers to win Saturday's qualifier play-offs.
The Vodacom Super Rugby play-offs are here and one thing you don’t have to worry about is who is being rested. All teams will be putting out their best possible side.
The two games this Saturday see the Highlanders (11-5) up against the Chiefs (10-6) and the Stormers (10-5-1) up against the Brumbies (9-7). The bookies believe the Stormers will win easier than the Highlanders, but I beg to differ.
Highlanders (-4.5) vs Chiefs (+4.5)
When assessing form, there is nothing better than looking at the race that the two horses competed in! In the case, there were two races, both won by the Highlanders. One ended in an embarrassing defeat for the Chiefs and the other the Chiefs lost on their own paddock. For the Chiefs to reverse a 25-point loss, which is what you would need here to justify any bet, it would take something incredibly special and that folks ain’t gonna happen. The Highlanders have continued to improve as the year has gone on and for my money they are the only team that can trouble the Hurricanes if they in turn blow cold on the day. Here are some more reasons: both teams were 6-2 after eight games of the season, although I think the Highlanders' 6-2 was more of an accomplishment as they had the harder schedule (Crusaders twice, Waratahs and Stormers are four pretty tough games). The Chiefs, on the other hand, played the Blues twice, the Sharks and the Cheetahs. Yes, it’s not exactly apples for apples, but hopefully you get my point. Included in this is the fact the Chiefs lost to the Highlanders at home and quite frankly that was the game in which the cracks started to show for me. They looked clueless at times, as they did last week against the Hurricanes. In the second half of the season, the Highlanders rested their All Blacks against strong opposition and, believe me, Aaron and Ben Smith and Malakai Fekitoa are impact players, so losing these games should be taken with a pinch of salt. In the second half of the season the Highlanders were 5-3 compared to 4-4 for the Chiefs, but on closer examination the Highlanders are a decent 4-1 in their last five games, while the Chiefs are a mediocre 2-3, and it is that form that I would worry about if I were a Chiefs fan. I have R25,050 to play with, but I will only be putting R2,000 on the Highlanders to win this game and win it well. They will cover the spread and win by five or more needed.
Stormers (-5.5) vs Brumbies (+5.5)
I’m not so sure about this game. The only race these two ran was at Newlands, which the Stormers won by the narrowest of margins (one point, and that was with Duane Vermeulen in the side). The Stormers, because they don’t play in the Australian conference, had the more difficult schedule; who wouldn’t want to play the Reds and Force twice a year? To prove my point the Stormers are a perfect 4-0 against Australian teams this year and that includes beating of the champion Waratahs by 14 points in Sydney. The Brumbies are 3-1 against South African opposition. This game should be really close and if the Stormers don’t lose their goal-kicker, Demetri Catrakilis, and play to their potential, they should beat the Brumbies. My concern is that it won't be by the six or more points needed for you to cover the handicap. Stay away from this game on a handicap outcome and take the 22/10 for the Stormers to win between one to seven points; I will be for R1,000.
Good luck this weekend and please try out the www.dash4cash.com prediction game where R50,000 is up for grabs every month. It's a very cool game, so register and try to beat me, as you will see I’m at the top of that game too.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images