The new-look Super Rugby competition gets underway this weekend!
SANZAR have made some questionable decision in recent years and including only two games in the opening round of the season is right up there – only the Stormers, Jaguares, Lions and Sharks will be in action this weekend.
There is no doubt that Super Rugby has lost some of its lustre in recent seasons, but it is still an excellent competition from a betting perspective and there is plenty of money to be made.
We have analysed both games set to take place this weekend and our complete 2018 Super Rugby Round 1 tips can be found below.
Stormers Vs Jaguares
Sunday 18th February, 12:05pm, Newlands Stadium
This is an interesting start to the season between two sides that have hopes of qualifying for the Super Rugby finals.
The Stormers may have finished on top of the Africa 1 Conference last season, but they never really looked like genuine contenders and they were eliminated in the first week of the Super Rugby finals.
They will go into this clash with the Jaguares as clear favourites and they are generally a side that is tough to beat in front of their home fans.
The Stormers won four of their five games as home favourites last season and they were a profitable 3-2 against the line in this scenario.
It is fair to say that the Jaguares haven’t made as successful a start to their time in Super Rugby as they would have liked and the pressure is on them to improve this season.
The Jaguares won only one of their five games as away underdogs last season, but they were 4-1 against the line in this scenario and they did lose a number of close games.
It would not surprise if this is the season that the Jaguares did take a big leap forward and they can cover the line with a start of 8.5 points.
Back Jaguares To Beat The Line (+8.5 Points)
Lions Vs Sharks
Sunday 18th February, 7:45pm, AAMI Park
The Lions have been the benchmark South African side in Super Rugby over the past two seasons and they are the team to beat once again in 2018.
The Lions were not disgraced against the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Grand Final and they were fairly dominant against their South African rivals all season long.
They have impressively won their past 14 games as favourites and they are 8-6 against the line when giving away a start.
The Sharks snuck into the Super Rugby Finals last season and gave the Lions a genuine scare in the Quarter-Finals, but they did struggle for consistency for the majority of the season.
They were able to win two of their five games as away underdogs and they were unbeaten against the line in this scenario.
The Lions have won the past six games between these two sides and it is tough to bet against them, but there is not as much between the two outfits as the current betting market suggests.
Back The Sharks To Beat The Line (+8.5 Points)
The 2017 Super Rugby season is finally here!
It is fair to say that 2016 was generally a year to forget for Australian Rugby Union and the ARU are desperate to see the five Australian Super Rugby franchises bounce back this season.
The Rebels, Brumbies and Reds all have very difficult starts to the season, while the Waratahs will be confident they can start their season with a win over the Western Force.
There are a number of exciting games set to take place right across the weekend and you can find our thoughts on every single game below.
Rebels Vs Blues
Thursday 23 February, 7:45pm, AAMI Park
The Rebels and Blues both had seasons to forget last year and will be looking to improve significantly in 2017.
The Blues actually finished 2016 with a wet sail and it is no surprise that they will go into this clash with the Rebels as clear favourites.
Winning away from home was somewhat of an issue for the Blues last season, but they were able to win two of their game games as home favourites for a profit.
There was plenty expected of the Rebels in 2016 and they really didn’t perform.
It is fair to say that they haven’t really strengthened their side too much heading into this season – outside of former Melbourne Storm winger Marika Koroibete – and it could be another long season for the Melbourne-based franchise.
The Rebels did not win a single game as home underdogs last season and even more concerning is the fact that they failed to beat the line in that scenario.
The Blues should prove too good for the Rebels and the line of 3.5 points will not be enough.
Back The Blues To Beat The Line (-3.5 Points)
Highlanders Vs Chiefs
Friday 24 February , 5:35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium
The Highlanders and Chiefs are two of the favourites for the Super Rugby title and this will be a fascinating early-season clash between the pair.
It is the Highlanders that will go into this fixture as favourites and they have proven very tough to beat at Forsyth Barr Stadium in recent seasons.
The Highlanders won six of their seven games as home favourites last season and they were 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Chiefs struggled for consistency in 2016, but they are still capable of brilliance on their day.
The Waikato-based side actually won four of their six games as away underdogs last season for a clear profit and they had an identical record against the line.
This is one of the most interesting games of the weekend, but it is one that the market looks to have got just about right.
Reds Vs Sharks
Friday 24 February, 8:00pm, Suncorp Stadium
It has been several years of pain for Reds supporters, but there is some reason for optimism ahead of this season.
The Reds will go into this clash as favourites, but they have been tough to trust in this scenario in recent years.
They won just two of their four games in this situation last year and their record against the line was a very poor 1-3.
The Sharks were their usual consistent selves during the 2016 Super Rugby season and they look like excellent value at their current price.
They won three of their seven games as away underdogs last season for a clear profit and they were 5-2 against the line in this scenario.
The Reds are far too short at their current price and the Sharks are one of the best value plays of the weekend.
Back The Sharks To Win @ $2.30
Sunwolves Vs Hurricanes
Saturday 25 February, 3:15pm, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
The Hurricanes finally claimed their maiden Super Rugby title last season and they will start this clash with the Sunwolves as dominant favourites.
The Hurricanes were the best team throughout the Super Rugby season and if they bring that form back in 2017 they will be extremely tough to beat.
Their record away from home last season was excellent and they were able to beat the line in six of their eight games on the road.
Things were tough for the Sunwolves in their maiden Super Rugby season and it won’t be any easier for them in 2017.
They won just the one game away from home last season, but they were 5-3 against the line and were far from disgraced in front of their home fans.
The Hurricanes should prove far too good for their rivals, but the line of 27.5 points is excessive for the opening round of the season.
Crusaders Vs Brumbies
Saturday 25 February, 5:35pm, AMI Stadium
The Brumbies finished ahead of the Crusaders on the Super Rugby ladder last season, but it is the Crusaders that will start this clash as dominant favourites.
The Brumbies have lost key play-makers Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano for 2017 and Stephen Larkham has turned to Kiwi five-eighth Wharenui Hawera.
Winning away from home was not a problem for the Brumbies last season, but they did lost their only game as underdogs in this scenario and their record against the Brumbies is very poor.
The Crusaders are always tough to beat at AMI Stadium and they did win six of their eight games at home last year, but they were still not a profitable betting play in this scenario.
This really should be a fairly low-scoring game and the line of 15.5 points does seem excessive, but it is tough to back this Brumbies team with any confidence as there are plenty of unknowns.
I am keen to see how both these teams perform, but this is another game that I will be staying out of from a betting perspective.
Waratahs Vs Western Force
Saturday 25 February, 7:45pm, Allianz Stadium
The first Australian Derby of the season will be played by the Waratahs and the Western Force on Saturday night.
The Waratahs will start this clash as favourites, but they did struggle as the punter’s elect last season.
Daryl Gibson’s men finished the season with a 3-3 record as home favourites and they were beaten by the Force in Sydney in 2015.
The Western Force finished the most recent Super Rugby season with seven wins from their past eight games and they continue to be arguably the most disappointing franchise in the entire competition.
They won only one of their seven games as away underdogs last season, but they were 5-2 against the line in that scenario and they at least defended strongly in the majority of their games.
This will be a closer match than the current betting market suggests and the Force are a good bet to cover the line with a start of 13.5 points.
Back The Force To Beat The Line (+13.5 Points)
Cheetahs Vs Lions
Sunday 26 February, 12:05am, Toyota Stadium
The Lions were the story of the 2016 Super Rugby season and they made their first-ever Super Rugby final.
They will start this clash with the Cheetahs as clear favourites and they were the best betting team in Super Rugby this season.
The Lions won both their game as away favourites last season and they were a profitable betting team against the line all season long.
It was another season for mediocrity for the Cheetahs in 2016, but one positive factor was the fake that they were a predictable betting outfit.
The Cheetahs lost all three of their games as home underdogs and they covered the line in just one of those games.
The Lions should be able to make a winning start to the season and the line of 9.5 points will not be enough.
Back The Lions To Beat The Line (-9.5 Points)
Kings Vs Jaguares
Sunday 26 February, 2:15pm, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
2016 was a very tough season for both the Kings and the Jaguares and it will be interesting to see how they both fare this season.
It is the Jaguares that will start this clash as clear favourites, but they were an incredibly tough team to trust from a betting perspective last year.
The Jaguares are yet to win a game away from home in their existence and they were a lost betting proposition across just every single metric.
The Southern Kings won just the two games last season, but one of those victories did come against the Jaguares at Nelson Mandela Bay.
This is a gamble, but there is no way that the Jaguares should be as short as their current price and the Kings are worth a small bet at the juicy odds.
Back The Kings To Win @ $5.25
Stormers Vs Bulls
Sunday 26 February, 4:30pm, DHL Newlands
The rivalry between the Stormers and Bulls is one of the fiercest in all of Super Rugby and the two sides will do battle again this weekend.
The Stormers have the home ground advantage and they will start this clash as favourites, but they look a touch under the odds at their current quote.
They did win five of their seven games as home favourites this season, but they did not make a profit in this scenario and they were 2-5 against the line.
The Bulls were a very safe bet as favourites last season, but they failed to win a single game as away underdogs and their record against the line as just as poor.
It is tough to trust either of these teams from a betting perspective and this is another game that I am happy to stay out of.
Week 1 of the 2016 Super Rugby competition gets underway in the best way possible when reigning champions the Highlanders meet the Blues in Auckland.
The Super Rugby competition has experienced plenty of changes in the offseason and will boast 18 teams in 2016; the Southern Kings returning as a sixth South African franchise while two new countries will enter the frame in the form of the Jaguares (Argentina) and Sunwolves (Japan).
All eighteen franchises are in action in Week 1 of the 2016 Super Rugby competition.
Blues Vs Highlanders
Friday 26 February, 16:35, Eden Park
The Super Rugby season officially gets underway when the Blues and Highlanders meet at Eden Park on Friday, February 26th. The Highlanders will carry plenty of confidence into the season after winning last year’s competition while the Blues will look to atone for their forgettable season.
Brumbies Vs Hurricanes
Friday 26 February, 16:40, GIO Stadium
One of the best matches of Week 1 will likely be played out when the Brumbies host the Hurricanes in Canberra. Two of the formed teams of the 2015 season, the Brumbies face a big task in overcoming last year’s runners-up who have retained the majority of their talent-rich roster.
Cheetahs Vs Jaguares
Saturday 27 February, 03:00, Free State Stadium
The Cheetahs posted a number of good performances between lacklustre weeks in 2015 but are offered a great opportunity to open their account in Week 1 against new boys the Jaguares. The Argentinian outfit will play with excitement but probably face too great a task first-up.
Sunwolves Vs Lions
Saturday 27 February, 14:15, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
Tokyo will be the scene for the Sunwolves Super Rugby debut when the host the Lions on February 27th. The Lions were unlucky not to the make the finals last season and look likely to begin this season with a strong win.
Crusaders Vs Chiefs
Saturday 27 February, 16:35, AMI Stadium
Old foes lock horns when the Crusaders host the Chiefs in Christchurch. The Chiefs well and truly had the edge over the south island franchise in 2015 but will have to control possession from the outset of they are to win at one of the competition’s toughest road trips.
Waratahs Vs Reds
Saturday 27 February, 18:40, Allianz Stadium
The New South Wales vs Queensland rivalry kicks into gear immediately when the Waratahs and Reds meet in Sydney. Winners in 2014, the Tahs fought gallantly into the final four last season and will probably be too good for the lowly Reds.
Force Vs Rebels
Saturday 27 February, 20:50, NIB Stadium
Australia’s two newest franchises meet in Perth in the first week of the 2016 Super Rugby season. Neither team managed to make much of an impact in 2015 but both have recruited well in the offseason and will view this match as an ideal opportunity to post early points.
Kings Vs Sharks
Saturday 27 February, 23:00, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
The Kings will have something to prove in their return to the Super Rugby fold in Week 1 but will realistically face too great a task in the ever-dangerous Sharks, even at home.
Stormers Vs Bulls
Sunday 28 February, 01:05, Newlands
Two of South Africa’s better franchises of the last ten years meet in the final fixture of Week 1 of the Super Rugby season. The Stormers were the only South African franchise to make the finals last season and will be tough to beat at home first-up.