Warren Whiteley’s return for the Lions is worth seven points plus and it is why I am betting R2000 on the Lions beating the Waratahs by eight points or more. The bet will get me back R3800.
I believe the Lions, with Whiteley back and Malcolm Marx starting after a two-week break, will do to the Waratahs what I expected the Bulls to do a week ago, which was to hammer the Australians.
I felt the bookies had got it wrong a week ago with a seven and a half point handicap for the Waratahs. I bet for the Bulls to win by eight or more and was confident in my Superbru pick that it could be a 20-point differential.
My bet was looking very good at 21-7 early in the second half. The way the match played out surprised me. The Waratahs seemed to get stronger and the Bulls looked on the verge of imploding. Somehow, they got the win by seven points. Ah, the fine margins of sports betting. One point more and I was in the money.
The Bulls are up against the champion Crusaders and will be better because of Schalk Brits’s presence. Brits will be influential but he alone won’t be enough to beat the Crusaders. The Bulls are on an 8 and a half point handicap. I have the Crusaders to beat the handicap and beat the Bulls by nine or more points. They’ve picked their strongest available side and they won’t underestimate the Bulls as they did the Sharks. I know they rested several All Blacks but they certainly didn’t have intensity in their game. I expect this to change and am putting down R2000 to get back R3800.
I have traditionally not bet on more than two matches in a round of Super Rugby this season but this weekend I’m being a bit more liberal and I really think the bookies have got it wrong with the big handicap advantage to the Jaguares for their match against the Highlanders. The Jaguares are on a four-match winning run and the Highlanders have been very inconsistent. They have also lost the inspirational Ben Smith for the rest of the tournament. I am putting down R2000 to win back R3800 on the Jaguares not losing by 13 points or more.
I am also going to have a punt on the Sharks covering the four and a half point handicap against the Chiefs. The home team are missing some big-name players and the Sharks will be confident after their determined effort in drawing 21-all against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
I am putting down R1000 to get back R1900 that the Sharks won’t lose by more than five points.
As for the rest of the schedule, I think the bookies are spot on.
If in doubt, go with the bookies. Outside of the bets I have taken I will use the bookies as my guide for my Superbru bets.
Blues v Canes – Blues plus 7.5
Rebels v Reds – Reds plus 9.5
Bulls v Crusaders – Bulls plus 8.5
Highlanders v Jaguares – Jaguares plus 12.5
Chiefs v Sharks – Sharks plus 4.5
Lions v Waratahs – Waratahs plus 7.5
Brumbies v Sunwolves – Sunwolves plus 13.5
* Kevin Ferguson is the chief executive of Highbury Media and a leading sports betting specialist in South Africa.