It doesn’t get much bigger in Super Rugby than a Friday afternoon blockbuster between the Crusaders and Hurricanes.
The winner will be in the box seat to finish the regular season as minor premiers and the result could lead to a change in Super Rugby outright betting.
There are six other interesting games set to take place in Super Rugby this weekend and our complete 2018 Super Rugby Round 15 tips can be found below.
Crusaders Vs Hurricanes
Friday 25 May, 5:35pm, AMI Stadium
What a way to start the weekend with the two form sides going head to head with top spot in the competition on the line.
While the Crusaders hold a historical advantage over just about every team in the competition, the Hurricanes have won five of their last seven, including a 29-19 victory in Wellington in March.
One streak will come to an end this weekend and this is a tight game to pick but the Crusaders at home are largely an unstoppable force, they may not want to give the Hurricanes a 29 point start they way they did the Waratahs two weeks ago however.
This is what it takes for the Crusaders to be a good value play at home but you can’t pass up this opportunity.
Back the Crusaders to Win @ $1.80
Rebels Vs Sunwolves
Friday 25 May, 7:45pm, AAMI Park
Something has clicked for the Japanese side in the past two weeks, belting the Reds and springing an upset over the Stormers.
The Rebels are coming off a bye week after ending a five game losing streak and will enjoy another match inside the Australian conference.
Four of the Rebels five wins this year have come against sides in their conference including a Round 2 win in Japan by a score of 37-17.
It is hard to ignore the way the Sunwolves have played in the last two weeks though and a 24.5 point line is a huge margin with the form both sides are in.
They are yet to win away from home this season but that line is too big to not take here.
Back the Sunwolves to Cover the Line (+24.5) @ $1.90
Jaguares Vs Sharks
Saturday 26 May, 5:35pm, Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Five wins in a row and six in their last seven for the Jaguares has them sitting in second place in the South African Conference.
The team right behind them is the Sharks who have struggled to win away from home with their lone victory coming against the struggling Blues.
In their three away conference losses this season, they have all been by a converted try or less which makes the 6.5 point line a statement on how much credit you want to give either of these sides.
Conversely, the Jaguares have won both of their matches at home against South African opponents by 14 and 30 points.
The numbers suggest this will be an interesting game and I am backing the Jaguares to cover at home.
Back the Jaguares to Cover the Line (-6.5) @ $1.90
Chiefs Vs Waratahs
Saturday 26 May, 5:35pm, FMG Stadium
Congratulations to the Waratahs for ending Australia’s 40 match losing streak against New Zealand sides, their reward for breaking that drought?
A trip to Waikato to face a Chiefs side whose conference hopes have just about evaporated and simply need to win to get in the best possible position for the finals.
The Waratahs have won five of their past seven games against the Chiefs including splitting the last four games at FMG Stadium.
New South Wales covering has been a profitable play lately and I am backing them to keep it close, even if an upset win might be out of reach.
Back the Waratahs to Cover the Line (+10.5) @ $1.90
Reds Vs Highlanders
Saturday 26 May, 5:35pm, Suncorp Stadium
Reds fans will be happy their team managed to bounce back from their embarrassing loss to the Sunwolves with an admirable effort against the Hurricanes.
This is the first of back to back home games where the Reds have put together a solid 3-1 record at Suncorp Stadium, although their sole loss came against the Chiefs.
The Highlanders are not great travellers with all four of their losses coming away from home, including last week’s defeat in Sydney.
It will take a monumental effort from the Reds to pull this off and to their credit they are still pressing with several players in contention for Wallabies jerseys.
Back the Reds to Cover the Line (+11.5) @ $1.90
Bulls Vs Brumbies
Saturday 26 May, 5:35pm, Loftus Versfeld
After winning their first game away from home the Brumbies have lost their last four as visitors as their South African tour continues.
In their last three losses they have given up 33, 43 and 42 points raising real questions about their ability to maintain their defensive patterns.
The Bulls are 4-2 at home which was the same number of wins they had all last season.
A loss here would almost mathematically end the finals hopes of the Brumbies and it looks like a big ask to end a five game losing streak.
Back the Bulls to Cover the Line (-9.5) @ $1.90
Stormers Vs Lions
Sunday 27 May, 5:35pm, DHL Newlands
Despite sitting at opposite ends of the conference table, the Stormers and Lions bring relatively even form lines into this game.
Both sides have won three of their last seven however the Lions have the wood over the Stormers recenlty with three straight wins.
The Stormers last win against the Lions came on Februay 28, 2015 and they will see a chance of an upset here.
Even with the uneven form shown by the Lions lately they should still be able to take care of business but this one is a stay away for me.
It is a split round in Super Rugby this weekend and it will only be New Zealand and Australian sides in action.
This is the final chance that Australian players will have to impress before the Wallabies squad is selected for the mid-season Tests against Fiji, Scotland and Italy and the Reds, Waratahs and Force all have tough assignments.
We have closely analysed every game this weekend and our 2017 Round 15 Super Rugby tips can be found below.
Blues Vs Reds
Friday 2 June, 5:35pm, Eden Park
The Blues are one of three New Zealand-based sides that will be clear favourites against Australian opposition this weekend.
The Blues played out an exciting draw with the Chiefs last weekend and they really should be able to return to winning form against a struggling Reds.
They have won four of their past five games as home favourites, but they are only 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Reds season hit a new low when they went down to the Force last weekend and they have been truly horrid in recent weeks.
Their past five games as away underdogs have ended in defeat and they are only 1-4 against the line in this situation.
The Blues should prove far too strong for the Reds and they can cover the line of 14.5 points comfortably.
Back The Blues To Beat The Line (-14.5 Points)
Crusaders Vs Highlanders
Saturday 3 June, 12:35pm, AMI Stadium
The Crusaders are yet to lose in Super Rugby this season and they are clear favourites to account for the Highlanders this weekend.
Winning has become a habit for the Highlanders and they have now won seven of their past eight games as home favourites, while they are 6-2 against the line in this scenario.
The Highlanders continued their unbeaten run with a comfortable victory over the Waratahs, but this is their toughest encounter in well over a month.
They have won only one of their past three games as away underdogs and their record against the line is no better.
The Crusaders really should be able to continue on their winning ways and they can cover the line in the process..
Back The Crusaders To Beat The Line (-7.5 Points)
Chiefs Vs Waratahs
Saturday 3 June, 3:05pm, FMG Stadium Waikato
The Chiefs have not won a game for almost a month, but they are still dominant favourites to beat the Waratahs.
The Chiefs go into this clash on the back of a loss at the hands of the Crusaders and a draw with the Blues, but the Waratahs obviously represent a much weaker opponent.
They have won their past four games as home favourites, but they are 2-2 against the line in this scenario.
The Waratahs were not disgraced against the Highlanders last weekend and they have improved somewhat in recent weeks.
Winning as away underdogs has been tough for the Waratahs – they have won only one of their past six games as away underdogs and they are 3-3 against the line in this scenario.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am more than happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Brumbies Vs Rebels
Saturday 3 June, 7:45pm, GIO Stadium
The Brumbies have recorded two wins on the trot and they are clear favourites in this clash with the Rebels.
The Brumbies cemented their place on the top of the Australian Conference with wins in South Africa over the Kings and the Jaguares and they now look set to return to the Super Rugby Finals.
They have won four of their past five games as home favourites and they are now 3-2 against the line in this scenario.
It has not been a happy couple of months for the Rebels and they have now lost five games on the trot.
The Rebels have won only one of their past six games as away underdogs and they are 2-4 against the line.
The Rebels really have been poor in recent weeks and I am happy to take them on this weekend.
Back The Brumbies To Beat The Line (-14.5 Points)
Western Force Vs Hurricanes
Saturday 3 June, 9:55pm, NIB Stadium
The Hurricanes are clearly the shortest-priced favourites in Super Rugby this weekend.
The Hurricanes head into this clash on the back of big wins over both the Cheetahs and the Bulls, while they will take confidence that they have not lost to the Force in their history.
While the Hurricanes have won four of their past five games as away favourites, they are only 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Force bounced back from their lacklustre effort against the Highlanders to beat the Reds and they have generally been competitive this season.
They may have won only one of their past five games as home underdogs, but they are 3-2 against the line in this scenario and were only narrowly beaten by the Lions, Chiefs and the Blues.
The line of 18.5 points does look just about right and I am happy to stay out of this contest from a betting standpoint.
Sharks Vs Bulls
Saturday 1 July, 3:00am, Growthpoint Kings Park
The Sharks went into the mid season break with four wins from their past five games and they will start this clash with the Bulls as clear favourites.
The Sharks have won seven of their past eight games as home favourites for a clear profit and they are 4-4 against the line in this scenario.
It has been a Super Rugby season to forget for the Bulls and they went into the break on the back of four straight losses.
The Bulls have lost their past five games as away underdogs and they are a very poor 1-4 against the line in this situation.
The Sharks should be far too good for the Bulls and they can cover the line comfortably.
Back The Sharks To Beat The Line (-11.5 Points)
Jaguares Vs Kings
Saturday 1 July, 9:05am, Estadio Jose Amalfitani
The Jaguares have won just one of their past seven games, but they will still go into this clash with the Kings as clear favourites.
It has been another disappointing season for the Jaguares and they have proven to be very tough to trust from a betting perspective – they have won six of their past nine games as home favourites, but they are 3-6 against the line in this scenario.
The Kings went into the mid season break on the back of a heavy defeat at the hands of the Lions, but they have actually played some solid rugby so far this season.
They have won two of their eight games as away underdogs for a big profit and they are a most impressive 7-1 against the line in this scenario.
The Kings are an outstanding bet to cover the line with a 13.5 points start.
Back The Kings To Beat The Line (+13.5 Points)
Cheetahs Vs Stormers
Saturday 1 July, 11:05pm, Toyota Stadium
The Stormers are another team that went into the mid season break in poor form, but they will still start this clash as favourites.
The Stormers have won just one of their past six games, but they are a side that can be trusted as favourites and they are 4-0 as away favourites, while they are 3-1 against the line in this scenario.
A win over the Sunwolves delivered the Cheetahs their first win in over two months, but this is obviously much tougher and their record against the Stormers is very poor.
The Cheetahs have won just one of their past seven games as home underdogs, but they are 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Stormers should be able to return to winning form, but there is no value at their current price and I am happy to stay out of this clash from a betting perspective.
Lions Vs Sunwolves
Sunday 2 July, 1:15am, Emirates Airlines Park
The Lions are the form South African team in Super Rugby and they are easily the shortest-priced favourites of the weekend.
The Lions have won their past 14 games as favourites and they are 6-3 against the line as home favourites.
Winning has been tough for the Sunwolves so far this season, but on the most part they have been competitive when they have faced South African sides.
The Sunwolves have lost their past eight games as away underdogs, but they are an impressive 6-2 against the line in this scenarip.
This is another clash where it is very difficult to find any real betting value.
Super Rugby finally returns after a month off for the mid-season break.
There are two very big New Zealand Derbies in round 15 of the Super Rugby season.
The round starts on Friday afternoon when the Chiefs host the Crusaders at ANZ National Stadium before the Hurricanes and Blues do battle on Saturday afternoon.
The other big game of the weekend is in the early hours of Sunday morning when the Lions take on the Sharks in a key fixture in the South African conference.
Chiefs Vs Crusaders
Friday 1 July, 5:35pm, ANZ National Stadium
The Chiefs and Crusaders currently sit on top of the New Zealand Conference and this is a massive game for both sides.
The Crusaders have lost just two games this season and they will go into this clash as clear favourites, but they have lost their past three games against the Chiefs.
In saying that, they have proven to be a very safe bet as favourites in the past 12 months and they are 3-0 as away favourites in this period.
The Chiefs went into the midseason break on the back of a disappointing loss to the Waratahs and they have been a touch inconsistent this season.
They have been a losing betting proposition as favourites, but as uinderdogs they are yet to suffer a defeat and have been highly profitable in this scenario.
This match should be an absolute ripper, but the market has got this game just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Brumbies Vs Reds
Friday 1 July, 7:45pm, GIO Stadium
The Brumbies have won 20 of their 26 Super Rugby games against the Reds and have won the past three games played between the two teams in dominant fashion.
The Brumbies found their best form in the lead-up to the mid season break and they are clear favourites to record their fourth straight win on Friday night.
Favourtism has been a position that has suited the Brumbies in the past 12 months and they have an excellent record of 4-2 against the line as home favourites.
The Reds beat the Sunwolves in the final round before the mid season break, but there was still not a great deal to like about their performance.
They have not won a game away from home in the past 12 months and their record against the line as away underdogs is a average 2-4.
The Brumbies beat the Reds by a combined total of 73 points last season and they should have no trouble covering the line of 13.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Brumbies To Beat The Line (-13.5 Points)
Sunwolves Vs Waratahs
Saturday 2 July 3:15pm, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
This will be the first ever meeting between the Sunwolves and Waratahs and the Waratahs will start this game as a very short-priced favourites.
The Sunwolves went into the mid season break after suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of the Brumbies, but they have saved their best performances for their home games.
They may have only won a single game, but their record against the line as home underdogs is a highly profitable 5-2 and they have been given a start of 23.5 points.
The Waratahs produced their best performance of the season against the Chiefs and they could prove to be a genuine threat if they are able to sneak into the finals.
They have won both their games as away favourites this season, but they are only 1-1 against the line and often save their worst performances for teams that they should beat handily.
It would not surprise to see the Waratahs produce a rusty effort and I am keen to back the Sunwolves with a start of 23.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back The Sunwolves To Beat The Line (+23.5 Points)
Hurricanes Vs Blues
Saturday 2 July, 5:35pm, Westpac Stadium
The Hurricanes scored a narrow victory over the Blues earlier in the season and they are clear favourites to make it four wins on the trot against their rivals.
The Hurricanes got themselves back into finals contention with a win over the Highlanders in their final game before the mid season break, but they have been a tough side to trust from a betting perspective this season.
They are a non-profitable 4-2 as home favourites and their record against the line is an average 2-4, while they have covered the line in only two of their past five games against the Blues.
The Blues have been an improved side in 2016, but they are another side that has proven tough to trust from a betting perspective.
They have won only one of five games as underdogs in the past 12 months and they are a far from convincing 1-2 against the line as away favourites.
The Hurricanes should win this contest, but there is no edge at their current price and the line is just about right.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Rebels Vs Stormers
Saturday 2 July, 7:45am, AAMI Park
This will be just the fourth ever meeting between the Rebels and the Stormers and the market suggests that it will be the closest game of the weekend.
The Rebels ended a three game losing streak with a win against the Western Force and they still have a chance to finish on top of the Australian Conference, but they will start this game as underdogs.
The Rebels rarely win when they aren’t expected to – they have not won a single game as home underdogs and they are 0-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Stormers have been one of the most inconsistent sides in Super Rugby this season and that has made them a tricky betting proposition.
They are 1-1-1 as away favourites in the past 12 months and they are 3-6 against the line as the punter’s elect, but they have won three of their four meetings with the Rebels.
The data suggests that the Stormers are a risky bet in this fixture, but they do have a genuine quality edge over the Rebels and I am confident that they will be able to get the job done.
Recommended Bet: Back The Stormers To Win @ $1.80
Cheetahs Vs Force
Saturday 2 July, 11:00pm, Toyota Stadium
The Cheetahs and the Force both struggled before the mid season break, but have the chance to start the second part of their season with a victory.
The Cheetahs have won just two of their past eight games, but they are still set to start this game as clear favourites.
They don’t start game as favourites often, but when they do they genuinely win and they are 3-0 as the punter’s elect in the past 12 months.
However, their record against the line in the same scenario is just 1-2 and they are giving away a start of greater than a converted try.
The Force have won just one of their past eight games and they are 1-9 as underdogs in the past 12 months, but they have beaten the line in three of their past five games as away underdogs.
A number of their defeats this season have been by only narrow margins and the Force are good enough to push what is a fairly average Cheetahs outfit.
Recommended Bet: Back The Force To Beat The Line (-7.5 Points)
Lions Vs Sharks
Sunday 3 July, 1:10am, Emirates Airlines Park
The Lions scored an upset victory over the Sharks earlier this season and another victory would lengthen their lead at the top of the African Conference.
Both these sides went into the mid season break on the back of three victories, but it is the Lions that will start this clash as favourites.
It is fair to say that there has been no safer betting play in Super Rugby this season than the Lions – they are 4-0 as home favourites in both head to head and line betting, while they haven’t lost a game as the punter’s elect in the past 12 months.
In saying that, they face a difficult assignment against a Sharks side that has a more than credible record away from home.
The Sharks have won three of their five games as away underdogs this season for a healthy profit, while they are 5-0 against the line in this scenario.
The Sharks are capable of competing with the best outfits in Super Rugby on their day and they are worth a gamble at their current price of $2.55.
Recommended Bet: Back The Sharks To Win @ $2.55
Kings Vs Highlanders
Sunday 3 July, 3:20am, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
The Kings may have won their only previous meeting with the Highlanders, but they are still set to start this clash as huge underdogs.
The Kings’ return to Super Rugby has gone poorly to say the least, but they were able to head into the mid season break on a high after they were able to beat the Jaguares.
That victory now means that they have been a profitable betting proposition as home underdogs, but they are 2-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Highlanders dropped back to fourth in the New Zealand Division following their loss to the Hurricanes, but there is little doubt that they will be able to return to winning form this weekend.
The question is whether they will be able to cover the sizable line of 29.5 points and data suggests that they probably won’t
The Highlanders are just 1-3 against the line as away favourites in the past 12 months and they are not a side that is noted for putting their rivals to the sword.
This is another fixture that I am happy to stay out of betting wise.
Jaguares Vs Bulls
Sunday 3 July, 7:40am, Estadio Jose Amalfitani
The Jaguares have been one of the biggest disappointments in Super Rugby this season and the Argentinean side has won just one of their past eight games.
They will start this game as underdogs and that has been a position in which they have really struggled during their maiden Super Rugby season – they have lost all five of their games in this scenario and are 1-4 against the line.
The Bulls hit somewhat of a form slump before the mid season break, losing three of their past four matches, but they have a great chance to return to winning form this weekend.
The Bulls have won all three of their games as away favourites in the past 12 months and they are 2-1 against the line in this scenario for a tidy profit.
They are a much better outfit than this struggling Jaguares side and they should be able to record a comfortable win.
Recommended Bet: Back The Bulls To Win @ $1.73