SARugbymag.co.za's new betting guru tells you where to put your money in round two of Vodacom Super Rugby.
Many punters took a beating in week one because they backed the home teams and who they perceived to be the favourites because of historical form.
The uneducated punter, unfamiliar with the nuances of sports betting, would have seen this as the safe option, but in week one of a new season there's no form barometer. So if you're among those who followed the herd, don't get too depressed about last weekend. I got a few wrong, but the ones I got right made me good money.
Sport and sports betting is a passion of mine. It's also a hobby that pays well and having been schooled in the respective North American and European sporting cultures, I've 30 years of experience to share with you.
It's not a boast that I'll help you make a return on your cash; it's a fact
That's why SARugbymag.co.za asked me to give its loyal readership a helping hand and gave me R5,000 in cash to turn into something more substantial to give to a charity of my choice.
Fact: The South African sports betting market is young and naive.
Don't feel stupid if you haven't really understood the nuances of betting on a rugby game. The market in this country is an infant.
I'd say feel stupid if you don't give my weekly tips a chance.
Again, it's not a boast but I wouldn't have been asked to give you insights if my track record screamed loser.
I win more than I lose and I guarantee you'll know the feeling at the end of the season if you're willing to listen and want to learn and understand how to approach sports betting. I can guarantee you watching Super Rugby will never be the same. You'll feel you're actually on the field playing. You'll feel the energy and the tension, but you'll also feel the celebration.
Nothing beats getting it right and knowing it was cash invested wisely.
Start thinking of your weekly bets as an investment. Each team is a business entity and I'm going to teach you how to work the rugby stock exchange, as I like to call it.
Lesson one: Never bet with your heart. Use your head. You are playing to win cash. Invest your emotion in your favourite team, but always use your brain to invest your money, and your brain won't have a favourite based on location, history or the colour jersey you wear to the stadium on a Saturday or the office on a Friday.
As I have already said, form only starts showing by week four and five, as does a team's ability to play away from home.
In the opening month of the tournament I look for value bets. Simply put, this is when I think the bookies have got it wrong.
And that's the guide I'm going to urge you to follow in week two.
Chiefs (-5.5) vs Brumbies (+5.5), Hamilton
The Chiefs were a formidable 6-1 last year playing at home. Their only loss was to the Crusaders by a single point (18-17), and they scored an average of just under 30 points per game while only giving up an average of 18.57. The Brumbies on the other hand were a combined 3-7 away from Canberra in the regular season and play-offs. They lost all six of their last games on the road by an average of 16.5 points. The weather in Hamilton is supposed to be ideal for good rugby with sunny skies and ideal temperatures. While both teams won last week, I think the more impressive win was the Chiefs' one away against the Blues. I believe the Chiefs will cover the -5.5 point handicap and win by six or more. I will be placing R250 at 9/10 for this to happen and when I win I will get the R250 plus R225 for the win.
Rebels (+4.5) vs Waratahs (-4.5), Melbourne
The Waratahs and Rebels were the best and worst teams last year, and this game would have been easy to pick if it hadn’t been for the fact that the Rebels turned over the Crusaders in Christchurch last week and the mighty Tahs took a beating by 10 points at home to the Force. I expect a backlash from the Sydney outfit this week in what should be a brutal encounter. The weather is expected to be clear and ideal for rugby and my advice would be to take the Waratahs to win by at least the five you need to win your wager. I won’t be betting on this game but be aware that Rebels scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker, who had a decent game last week, is suspended for this match.
Bulls (-4.5) vs Hurricanes (+4.5), Pretoria
This is another game I will be avoiding, especially with all the Bulls' injuries. I expect a high-scoring match with over 50 points scored as the weather is forecast to be great for running rugby. I do think the Lions lost the game last week rather than the Hurricanes winning it and I doubt the Bulls will be that charitable at Loftus. Take the Bulls to win the game by at least the five points needed to collect a winning bet.
Highlanders (+4.5) vs Crusaders (-4.5), Dunedin
I’ll also be giving this game a wide berth as it's too close to call. It’s indoors, so no weather issues, but expect a close contest. Save your money and wait for a better game. If I had to choose, I’d take the Highlanders to win the game outright at 15/10. That simply means you get R150 back in addition to your R100 bet. I’ll take the Highlanders +4.5.
Reds (-2.5) vs Force (+2.5), Brisbane
Last week the Reds were panel-beaten by the Brumbies, while the Force turned over the defending champions. The bookies don’t really know what to make of this game and have put the Reds in as slight favourites. The Force had a decent season last year and are a team on the rise. I would not be surprised for them to be in the play-offs. Any punter should take note of the forecast for rain all week in Brisbane which could make this game soft under foot. It should be messy and not pretty to watch but I will be taking a bet of R100 to get a return of R230, by backing the Force to go back-to-back.
Stormers (-6.5) vs Blues (+6.5), Cape Town
This game sees the Blues, who have travelled a long way this week, take on an impressive looking young Stormers team. The Blues did not travel well last year and lost seven games on the road by an average of 12 points. The Stormers under Gert Smal have improved and I will be placing R500 on them to win by a converted try or more. This will pay me R950 back and it is a good bet.
Sharks (-9.5) vs Lions (+9.5), Durban
Weather for this game could be messy with thunder and lightening predicted. All South African derbies are physical and I expect this to be the same. I believe asking the Sharks to win by 10 points is too much, so take the Lions and the 9.5 points they are getting as this game will be close. Also consider this: While I am betting R200 for the Lions to win outright, I am not confident it will happen. But in a two-horse race, the odds at 7/2 represent good value and if it comes off my return on R200 will be R900, an offer too good to refuse.
Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images