We are at the halfway point of the 2019 Super Rugby season and while there are some patterns beginning to emerge, the South African conference is a huge mess.
No side encapsulates the wild swings better than the Sharks who, in their last three games have had a low scoring struggle against the Bulls, blasted the Lions at Ellis Park and been blown out at home by the Jaguares.
This weekend they host a Reds side closing out a two week tour and desperate to keep touch in the Australian conference as the Waratahs try to peg back the Rebels this weekend.
We have previewed all six Super Rugby games this weekend and found our betting plays so read on and see what we are taking.
Chiefs Vs Lions
Friday 19 April, 5:35pm, FMG Stadium
The Chiefs are back on their feet winning three straight games and hosting a Lions side that appears to be way down on confidence.
Two weeks ago they were 37 point losers at home to the Sharks and last weekend their travel woes continued with a loss to the Brumbies.
When these sides last faced off three years ago, the Lions won a high scoring encounter at FMG Stadium 36-32 but that was a very different team then.
When the Lions are underdogs they are listed as such for a reason, they have won just one of their last five games as an underdog and could be in for a big loss at the hands of a side playing its way into form.
Back the Chiefs to Win by 13+ @ $2.38
Sunwolves Vs Hurricanes
Friday 19 April, 8:00pm, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
Despite five wins, two losses and a draw from their eight games so far, the Hurricanes have a points differential of just +3 so far.
A big factor in that is that both of their losses have been by big margins while aside from their win over the Brumbies, their other games have been decided by less than a converted try.
They could be in for another tight contest here as the Sunwolves have shown an improved competitiveness this season.
While they have only picked up two wins this season, at home they have been in plenty of close contests.
Against the spread the Sunwolves have been pretty good lately, covering in 10 of their last 17 games and four of their last seven at home.
Were this game in New Zealand you could feel better taking the Hurricanes but that line is massive and could very well get bigger as kickoff approaches so back the home side to cover.
Back the Sunwolves to Cover +15.5 @ $1.88
Sharks Vs Reds
Friday 19 April, 11:05pm, Kings Park
After going down to the Bulls by 15 last weekend, the Reds take on the side who might be the toughest to get a read on this season with the up and down Sharks.
The away side has won each of the Sharks last three games but it’s a big ask for a Reds team whose lone away win in the last year came against the Sunwolves.
It’s hard to tell which Sharks team will show up for this game, if it’s the one what crushed the Lions at Ellis Park the Reds could be in for a long afternoon.
If the side that played last week at home to the Jaguares turns up, the Reds could be in line to end a four year losing streak in South Africa.
Head to head you have to like the home side to pull it together here and find a way to cover against an opponent what has given up over 30 points in each of its last three away games.
That being said, if the line grows much bigger and gets over 17, that’s when it would be worth considering the Reds to cover and keep it close as the Sharks are certainly capable of turning in a stinker here.
Back the Sharks to Cover -13.5 @ $1.88
Highlanders Vs Blues
Saturday 20 April, 5:35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium
For the last few seasons, this would have been a pretty straightforward play, back against the Blues.
While the Auckland based side had their four game winning run come to an end against the Chiefs in a nailbiter last weekend, it should be noted that four game run all came at Eden Park.
Away from home, including that Chiefs game and they have lost five in a row and their last six in Dunedin.
Add in the Highlanders potentially welcoming back Aaron Smith and this is all set up for a Highlanders rally.
Back the Highlanders to Win by 1-12 @ $2.50
Waratahs Vs Rebels
Saturday 20 April, 7:45pm, Sydney Cricket Ground
The Waratahs bye week was… interesting to say the least with the Israel Folau drama dominating headlines.
It’s going to be a huge test for Daryl Gibson to get the side focused and firing without the player who is the all time leading try scorer in Super Rugby.
The Waratahs have scored over 30 points in each of the last four games against the Rebels and the Australian Conference leaders were brought crashing back to earth by a ruthless Stormers side last weekend.
You have to give the Waratahs every chance of an win here with the side in a sink or swim situation and playing at the famous SCG and there’s no telling how the Rebels will bounce back from their last loss.
Back the Waratahs to Win @ $1.90
Stormers Vs Brumbies
Saturday 20 April, 11:05pm, Newlands
After ending their tour on a high note with a thrashing of the Rebels, the Stormers host another Australian side in the Brumbies.
The general rule in these games is to back against the touring Australian team as travel plays a huge role in their performances.
Negating that somewhat is the fact the Stormers are flying over from Australia as well but it cannot be overstated how important coming back to their own beds will be.
Having covered the line in each of their last four games at home, the Stormers look like a good value play here.
If you want to really stretch out, back the Stormers to win by 13+ but in this instance, there’s nothing wrong with playing it safe and taking an extra six points of insurance.
Back the Stormers to Cover -6.5 @ $1.88
We are now past the half-way mark of the Super Rugby season and there are three clear leaders in each conference.
The Lions to have already secured the South African Conference, while the Waratahs and Hurricanes currently hold slender leads in the Australian and New Zealand Conference respectively.
There are a host of intriguing games set to take place this weekend and our complete 2018 Super Rugby Round 10 tips can be found below.
Blues Vs Highlanders
Friday 20 April, 5:35pm, Eden Park
The Highlanders ended their losing run with a comfortable win over the Brumbies and they will go into this clash as clear favourites.
The Highlanders came from behind to beat the Blues earlier this season and they have won their past three games as away favourites, but they are only 1-3 against the line in this scenario.
It wasn’t overly impressive, but the Blues were still able to come away with the win and they have played some solid Rugby at times this season.
The Blues haven’t been disgraced in any of their games against their fellow New Zealand sides and they have covered the line in three of their past four games as underdogs.
There isn’t as much between these two sides as the current betting market suggests and the Blues can cover the line with the start.
Back Blues To Cover The Line (+6.5 Points)
Waratahs Vs Lions
Friday 20 April, 7:45pm, Allianz Stadium
The two sides on top of the Australian and South African Conferences will do battle in what should be an intriguing clash.
The Waratahs made it four wins on the trot with a comfortable victory over the Reds and they will go into this clash as clear favourites.
They have won and covered the line in four of their past six games as home favourites, while the home side has won the past five games played between these two sides.
The Lions ended their losing run with a strong win over the Stormers and it will be interesting to see how they handle this tour of Australasia.
Their record in Australia isn’t great and they have won only one of their past three games as underdogs.
The home ground advantage does give the Waratahs the edge and they should be able to make it five wins on the trot.
Back Waratahs To Cover The Line (-1.5 Points)
Crusaders Vs Sunwolves
Saturday 21 April, 5:35pm, AMI Stadium
The mismatches don’t get much bigger in Super Rugby and the line for this clash has been set at a massive 41.5 points.
The Crusaders have won their past eight games as home favourites and they are an impressive 5-3 against the line in this scenario, while they beat the Sunwolves by 47 points when they met last season.
The Sunwolves were not disgraced against the Blues last weekend and they have played some solid Rugby at times this season, but they are still chasing their first win.
There is no doubt that the Crusaders will win this game, but the line of 41.5 points does look excessive and I am happy to stay out of this clash from a betting standpoint.
Reds Vs Chiefs
Saturday 21 April, 7:45pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Reds momentum has stalled somewhat after their strong start to the season and they will go into this clash with the Chiefs as clear underdogs.
The Chiefs have won their past three games against the Reds in dominant fashion and they have won three of their past four games as away favourites, but they are only 2-2 against the line in this scenario.
Defence has been a problem for the Reds over the past fortnight and if they don’t improve that aspect of their game, this clash could get fairly ugly.
In saying that, the Reds have won their past two games as home underdogs and they are 2-0 against the line in this scenario.
The Reds generally save their best form for in front of their home fans and they can cover the line with a healthy start.
Back Reds To Cover The Line (+11.5 Points)
Bulls Vs Rebels
Saturday 21 April, 11:05pm, Loftus Versfeld
The Bulls will start this clash with the Rebels as clear favourites.
The Bulls produced their best performance of the season to date to record a dominant win over the Sharks last weekend and they have played some excellent rugby over the past fortnight.
Their record as favourites is still unconvincing and they have failed to cover the line in their two games as favourites this season.
The Rebels suffered a shock loss against the Jaguares in front of their home fans last weekend and they need to jag a game in South Africa to stay in touch with the Waratahs at the top of the Australian Conference.
Winning away from home continues to be an issue for the Rebels – they have failed to win their past five games as away underdogs and their record against the line isn’t much better.
This is a game that the market does look to have just about right.
Sharks Vs Stormers
Sunday 22 April, 2:15am, Kings Park Stadium
Both these teams head into this clash on the back of a pair of losses.
The Sharks have won only two games this season to date, but they will still go into this clash with the Stormers as clear favourites.
They have won the past three games played between these two sides, but their record as favourites over the past 12 months has been unconvincing – they have won only three of their past six games as home favourites.
Winning away from home has proven to be a nightmare for the Stormers and they have lost their past seven games as away underdogs, while their record against the line isn’t much better.
The betting play that does appeal in this clash is the Under in Total Points betting.
The Under has saluted in the past four games played between these two sides at Kings Park Stadium and looks a great betting play in what could be a scrappy clash.
Back Under 58.5 Points
Brumbies Vs Jaguares
Sunday 22 April, 4:05pm, GIO Stadium
This is set to be one of the most interesting games of the weekend.
The Brumbies were no match for the Highlanders last weekend, but they will still go into this clash with the Jaguares as clear favourites.
The Brumbies have won their past two games as home favourites and they have covered the line in each, while they comfortably beat the Jaguares last season.
Consistency continues to elude the Jaguares, but they did produced their best performance of the season to date when they beat the Rebels last weekend.
They have now won two of their past four games as away underdogs for a clear profit, but they have recorded back-to-back wins over once over the past 12 months.
I would be surprised if the Jaguares were able to replicate that level of performance again and the Brumbies should be able to record a comfortable win.
Back Brumbies To Cover The Line (-5.5 Points)
The rivalry between the Reds and the Waratahs is one of the fiercest in Super Rugby and they do battle in a crucial Australian Derby on Saturday night.
The resurgent Rebels have the opportunity to record another win when they face the Kings, while their rivals for the fourth Australian Super Rugby franchise next season the Force host the Lions.
We are confident that we have found a number of winners this weekend
Highlanders Vs Stormers
Friday 28 April, 5:35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium
The Highlanders will go into this clash with the Stormers as dominant favourites after recording four wins on the trot.
The Highlanders have not lost to a non-New Zealand side this season and that looks unlikely to change this weekend.
They have won six of their past eight games as home favourites for a profit and they are 4-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Stormers made a flying start to the Super Rugby season, but they head into this clash on the back of losses to both the Lions and the Crusaders.
They have generally struggled as underdogs in recent seasons, but they will take confidence that they have won five of the past six games played between these two sides.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting standpoint.
Chiefs Vs Sunwolves
Saturday 29 April, 5:35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato
Another week with another unbackable favourite coming up against the Sunwolves.
The Chiefs have only lost the one game so far this season, but they were not particuarly impressive against either the Cheetahs or the Force in the past fortnight.
They have won three of their past four games as home favourites, but they are only 2-2 against the line in this scenario.
The Sunwolves were on the end of another heavy defeat at the hands of the Highlanders last weekend and the draw really hasn’t been kind to them in recent weeks.
They are yet to win a game away from home, but they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario and have played some decent football this season.
The Sunwolves are receiving a massive start of 36.5 points and I am banking on them to cover the line this weekend.
Back The Sunwolves To Beat The Line (+36.5 Points)
Reds Vs Waratahs
Saturday 29 April, 7:45pm, Suncorp Stadium
This is a crucial game in the Australian Conference as – remarkably – a win would keep both sides in finals contention.
The Reds went into the bye on the back of a high-scoring win over the Kings and they will start this clash as favourites.
They have won four of their past five games as home favourites, but they are 1-4 against the line in this scenario and have lost their past six games to their rivals.
The Waratahs’ season hit a new low when they lost to the Kings last weekend and they have only won the two games so far this season.
They have won only one of their past six games as away underdogs and they are 2-4 against the line in this scenario.
Both these teams are extremely tough to trust from a betting standpoint and this is another clash that I am happy to stay out of.
Western Force Vs Lions
Saturday 29 April, 9:55pm, NIB Stadium
The Lions have won five games on the trot and they will go into this clash with the Force as clear favourites.
The Lions have won their past two games as home favourites, but they are 0-2 against the line in this scenario and they are still looking for their first ever win over the Force.
The Force showed plenty of fights against the Chiefs last weekend and a similar performance against the Lions would have them right in this contest.
They have won only one of their past four games as home underdogs and they are an inconclusive 2-2 against the line in this scenario.
The betting play that really stands out in this clash is the Under in Total Points betting market.
Unders has saluted in four of the past five home games played by the Force and five of the past seven away games played by the Lions, which makes it the clear value in this clash.
Back Under 55.5 Points
Cheetahs Vs Crusaders
Sunday 30 April, 1:15pm, Toyota Stadium
The Cheetahs have the home ground advantage here, but it is the Crusaders that will start this clash as clear favourites.
The Crusaders are yet to taste defeat in Super Rugby this season, but that has not necessarily made them an attractive betting proposition.
They have won three of their past four games as away favourites for a narrow loss, but they are only 1-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Cheetahs suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of the Bulls and they have now lost five games on the trot.
While they have struggled to win, they have not been as bad as their record suggests and they have covered the line in three of their past five games as away underdogs.
This can be a closer game than the betting market suggests and I am keen to back the Cheetahs to beat the line with a start of 14.5 points.
Back The Cheetahs To Beat The Line (+14.5 Points)
Kings Vs Rebels
Sunday 30 April, 3:30am, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
The Kings and Rebels have both found form in recent weeks and this shapes as one of the most interesting games of the weekend.
The Rebels beat the Brumbies before drawing with the Sharks in South Africa last weekend and they will go into this clash as narrow favourites.
This is only the second game that they have started as favourites over the past 12 months, but they are a side that have generally struggled away from home and they have won just two of their past 12 games on the road.
The Kings ended their Australian tour with a win over the Waratahs and they will go into this clash with a fair bit of confidence.
They have only won one of their past six games as home underdogs, but they are 3-1-2 against the line in this scenario and they continue to be a better side than the market thinks.
This is a clash that could go either way and I am keen to back the Kings with a start of 3.5 points.
Back The Kings To Beat The Line (+3.5 Points)
Jaguares Vs Sharks
Sunday 30 April, 5:40am, Estadio Jose Amalfitani
This is a crucial game in the South African conference as the loser will lose touch with the leading contenders.
The Jaguares have lost three games on the trot, but they are favourites to return to winning form this weekend.
They have won five of their past six games as home favourites, but they have never beaten the Sharks and they are 3-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Sharks could not have been more disappointing against the Rebels last weekend, but the game before that they were able to dispatch with the Jaguares.
The Sharks have won two of their past six games as away underdogs for a narrow loss, but they are 4-2 against the line in this situation.
There is nowhere near as much between these sides as the current betting market suggests and the Sharks are a great bet to beat the line with a start of 5.5 points.
Back The Sharks To Beat The Line (+5.5 Points)
Brumbies Vs Blues
Sunday 30 April, 4:05pm, GIO Stadium
An Australian team has not beaten a New Zealand team in Super Rugby this season and it is the Blues that are clear favourites to continue that streak this weekend.
The Blues go into this clash on the back of losses at the hands of the Highlanders and the Hurricanes, but they weren’t disgraced in either of those games.
They have won their past three games as away favourites and they have also been a profitable betting play against the line in this scenario.
The Brumbies have fallen away somewhat after their positive start to the season and they were no match for the Hurricanes last weekend.
They have lost their past two games as home underdogs and their record against the line in that scenario is identical.
The Blues should be able to return to winning form and the line of 3.5 points will not be enough.
Back The Blues To Beat The Line (-3.5 Points)
There are a number of big games in round 10 of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
The round starts on Friday afternoon when the Chiefs host the Sharks in New Zealand, while the Highlanders face the Brumbies in the pick of Saturday’s fixtures.
The highlight of the weekend might be the penultimate game of the round when the Stormers and Waratahs do battle in what could be a finals preview.
Chiefs Vs Sharks
Friday 29 April, 5:35pm, Yarrow Stadium
The Sharks returned to winning form with an upset victory over the Highlanders last weekend, but the Chiefs are still set to start this match as clear favourites.
They haven’t done it easily in recent weeks, but the Chiefs just keep on winning games of football and their game with the Hurricanes last week could be a finals preview.
The Chiefs are deserving favourites here, but they are far too short at their current quotes and they have not been a winning betting proposition as favourites in the past 12 months in either head to head or line betting markets.
The Sharks have won three of their past seven games as away underdogs and they are 5-2 against the line in this scenario, which makes them a great betting play to beat the line with a start of 13.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back The Sharks To Beat The Line (+13.5 Points)
Force Vs Bulls
Friday 29 April, 9:05pm, NIB Stadium
The Force have a surprisingly good record against the Bulls, but they face a tough challenge against a Bulls side that has recorded five wins and a draw from their past six fixtures.
The Force regressed against the Crusaders last weekend following their gutsy effort against the Crusaders and their record as home underdogs remains a dismal 1-5, while they are 2-4 against the line in that scenario.
There has not been a great deal of attention focused on the Bulls this season, but they are another team that keep on winning games and they well and truly remain in finals contention.
Despite their success this season, the Bulls haven’t been a great betting team this season and they are a non-profitable 6-2 as favourites in the past 12 months, while they are 3-5 against the line in this situation.
The market has got this game just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Blues Vs Rebels
Saturday 30 April, 3:15pm, Eden Park
I was very keen to oppose the Rebels last weekend, but they were able to record a solid win over the Cheetahs and they now sit at the top of the Australian Conference.
They face a much tougher assignment against the Blues and that is indicated in their price as they are $3.20 to record an upset win.
The Rebels have a solid record as underdogs in the past 12 months and punters back them would have ground out a narrow profit, while they are 3-2 against the line away from home when being given a start.
The Blues have been far from a reliable betting side this season and they have the chance this weekend to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Their record against the line as favourites is a very poor 1-4 as favourites in the past 12 months and there is plenty of data to suggest that they should be opposed this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back The Rebels To Beat The Line (+8.5 Points)
Highlanders Vs Brumbies
Saturday 30 April, 5:35pm, Rugby Park
The Brumbies had a big setback when they were flogged by the Crusaders last weekend, while the Highlanders head into this clash on the back of a pair of single point losses.
Despite suffering back-to-back losses the Highlanders will start this game as clear favourites and – until last weekend – this has been a position in which they have thrived in the past 12 months.
The Highlanders have won 10 of their past 13 fixtures as favourites and they have been a profitable 8-5 against the line in this scenario.
The Brumbies don’t have a great deal of experience as underdogs and they are 2-1 when being given a start against the line, while they have suffered back-to-back losses just once in the past two seasons.
There is not as much between these two teams as the betting market suggests and there is no doubt that the Brumbies are over the odds at their current quote.
Recommended Bet: Back The Brumbies To Win @ $2.70
Reds Vs Cheetahs
Saturday 30 April, 7:45am, Suncorp Stadium
The Reds return to Australia after two losses to the Bulls and Stormers in South Africa, while the Cheetahs were very disappointing against the Rebels last weekend.
The Reds are the shortest-priced favourites that they have been for some time this weekend and this will be just the second time in the past 12 months that they will start as favourites – having lost these two games as the punter’s elect.
The Cheetahs are far from a reliable betting side and they let us down last weekend, but they are able of causing an upset on their day and they have been a profitable betting proposition as away underdogs in the past 12 months.
The Reds have improved significantly in recent weeks, but I can see them regressing this weekend and I can see them losing in what I believe will be a real slugfest between the two struggling sides.
Recommended Bet: Back The Cheetahs To Win @ $2.63
Lions Vs Hurricanes
Sunday 1 May, 1:05am, Emirates Airline Park
The Lions sit in a close second behind the Stormers in the South African Conference following their third straight win last weekend and will start this crucial game with the Hurricanes as narrow favourites.
The Lions have been one of the safest betting propositions in Super Rugby this season and they have won all six games they have started as favourites this season, while they are 5-1 against the line in this scenario.
The Hurricanes had their winning streak snapped with a narrow loss against the Chiefs last weekend and how they perform over the coming weeks in South Africa will likely decide whether they qualify for the Super Rugby finals.
The Wellington-based side have a credible 2-2 record as away underdogs over the past 12 months and they are 3-1 against the line in this situation.
This is set to be one of the most interesting games of the round, but it is one that the market appears to have got just about right and both sides are at their right prices.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Stormers Vs Waratahs
Sunday 1 May, 3:15am, DHL Newlands
The Stormers are another side that have been very consistent from a betting perspective this season and they will go into this clash with the Waratahs as clear favourites,
The Stormers were their usual efficient selves against the Reds last weekend, but they were unable to beat the line and they are now 4-5 when giving away a start in front of their home fans.
The Waratahs returned to winning form with a strong performance against the Western Force, but they face a much tougher assignment against the Stormers this weekend.
They are not a side that performs well when underdogs – they are 0-2 against the line as underdogs in the past 12 months – and their record against the Stormers in South Africa is fairly lackluster.
This is another game where it is tough to find a bet with an edge and the market has it just about right.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Jaguares Vs Kings
Sunday 1 May, 7:40am, Estadio Jose Amalfitani
The Jaguares maiden Super Rugby season hit a new low when they lost to the Sunwolves last weekend, but they will still start this game as very short-priced favourites.
It was an ugly display of rugby from the Jaguares last weekend and they have now lost seven games on the trot, while their record as favourites against the line is an extremely poor 0-4.
The Kings have not been much better and they have suffered heavy back-to-back losses at the hands of the Bulls and the Lions.
They are yet to win a game as underdogs this season, but they are 2-0 against the line as away underdogs and they are being offered a very generous start of 22.5 points.
I don’t feel particularly comfortable betting on either of these teams, but the line does seem excessive and opposing the Jaguares has proven to be a winning strategy all season long.
Recommended Bet: Back The Kings To Beat The Line (+22.5 Points)