SUPER RUGBY WEEK 5
Crusaders v Force
The Crusaders once again the king of the comebacks, downing the Blues late to win 33-24 last weekend. The Force had the Bye and will be coming in fresh to start their New Zealand tour.
In the three games the Crusaders have played the Force at home they have never lost, they did however draw 23-23 back in 2009. Overall the Force have had some surprising success against the Crusaders winning in 2013 and 2010 and almost upsetting the Crusaders early last year when, once again, a late try to the Crusaders saved their blushes.
Of the 7 games played between the two sides since 2009 there has been an average of 46 points. Over the last 3 games however this drops to 35.
The Force have surprisingly decided to rest their best back in Dane Haylett-Petty and have left some experienced players on the bench including Pek Cowan, Matt Hodgson and Robbie Coleman. They will be looking to their backs Chance Peni, Curtis Rona and Luke Morahan for try scoring opportunities.
The Crusaders have named a pretty strong side and lock Scott Barrett has moved into the loose trio which gives them another lineout option at the back.
I do think the Force are somewhat of an under rated side in this years competition. They've had some pretty close contests albeit against their Australian counterparts. The Crusaders I am not thoroughly convinced with yet, they could easily have been 0-4.
I marked this, Crusaders -15.5, the market is around the 20 mark at the moment. I'm more interested in trying to capitalize on the Crusaders slow starts and think the Force can cover the first half line.
Rebels v Waratahs
Two teams who have been momentously disappointing this season, particularly the Waratahs who I had high hopes for flying the Australian Flag in this competition. They looked tired and ordinary last week when they were upset by the Brumbies. The Rebels did well to not let the Chiefs in many more tries than they did and would be overall happy with their performance, albeit losing by 13 points.
The Rebels have only beaten the Waratahs once on their home turf, back in 2013. They did however beat the Waratahs up in Sydney last year 21-17 in what is only their second win against the Waratahs in eleven appearances.
Nothing jumps out for me in this game of any value, therefore No Pick.
Blues v Bulls
The Blues have had one of the toughest draws so far this season, they could easily be 3-1 but unfortunately for them they are 1-3. The Bulls finally got their first this win this season against the Sunwolves, a red card spoiling their chance to rack up a big win after they looked impressive early on in the first half.
This is the first time the Bulls have played a NZ side in over a year; they may not be used to the physicality of this contest. Two fairly even sides over the past few years with a 3-3 win record for both teams in the last 6 games against each other. In the same 6 games, an average of 56 points when they play, suggests there could be a few tries in this one.
I have no confidence in either side bringing their A game to this one, therefore I'm happy to sit out and watch. No Pick.
Brumbies v Highlanders
The Highlanders injury toll finally came to bite them last week when they were dismantled in the 2nd half by an impressive Hurricanes outfit. Meanwhile the Brumbies as mentioned upset the Waratahs and looked very impressive themselves.
This has the potential to be the match of the round. Last year the Highlanders won in the wet against the Brumbies in their playoff match, before that the Brumbies had beaten the Highlanders in the previous three games at home.
3 of the last 4 Brumbies games have gone under the starting total and these two sides have only averaged 38 points between them in the last 4 games.
I think we'll have a crack at the Unders total this week and hope for a close and low scoring game. Pick 3 Units - Under (TBA)
Sunwolves v Stormers
The Sunwolves famously drew with the Stormers in this game last season 17-17, they've since lost every game after. The Stormers meanwhile have won 7 of their last 8 games and have built a steady foundation for their season sitting on top of their conference.
The Stormers are likely to rest some players for this clash and the line started at +24.5 for the Sunwovles but has since moved into +21.5.
I think the Stormers are far superior to the Bulls who beat the Sunwolves by 13 last week with 14 men for a whole half. I'm happy to take on the big line in this one and see a Stormers big victory.
Kings v Lions
The Kings played exceptional last week in their match against the Sharks, after leading at half time 14-8 they were slowly downed 19-17. Meanwhile the Lions bounced back and hammered the Reds 44-14 in a one sided affair.
The Lions beat the Kings last year twice, by 35 and 36 points respectively. They've played 4 games to date with an average of 55 points (although last seasons games averaged 66.5).
I marked this game Kings +25.5 and that is currently around the market line at the moment. No Pick.
Cheetahs v Sharks
The Cheetahs struggled against the Jaguares last week and were hammered 41-14, meanwhile as mentioned above the Sharks escaped a shock loss in overcoming the Kings 19-17 at home.
The last 4 games played between the two sides the sharks have won 3-1 with an average of 46 points. Both play two different styles of rugby. The Cheetahs attack whereas the Sharks defend.
I think the Sharks will come back this week and beat the Cheetahs, but I think it will be a close one. I'm picking the Sharks in their traditional 12 and under fashion.
Jaguares v Reds
No Quade Cooper for the Reds this week as he was dished a three match suspension following his high tackle and subsequent red card last week. The market has reacted aggressively following this with the line moving from -7.5 to -14.5. I marked this -14.5 so see no value in the line betting.
Surprisingly this is the first time the Jaguares will come up against an Australian side having avoided them all last season. The Reds have continued to struggle away from home having lost the last 10 away games and I think they'll be losing this one also, just not certain by how much. No Pick.
RESULTS STAKES ROI Week Thirteen +3.81 13.5 28% Week Twelve +2.71 17.5 15% Week Eleven -2.9 11 -26% Week Ten -0.35 14 -3% Week Nine -5.52 13 -42% Week Eight +6.77 12 56% Week Seven +7.8 9 87% Week Six +15.46 13 119% Week Five +1.61 10 16% Week Four -2.24 8 -28% Week Three -10 10 -100% Week Two +4.9 8 61% Week One -4.15 13.5 -31% Total +17.9 152.5 12%