This is the final round of the Super Rugby season before the midseason break and no South African teams will be in action.
The rivalry between the Reds and the Waratahs is one of the fiercest in Super Rugby and the Reds will have the chance to end their losing streak against their rivals on Saturday, while the Rebels need to beat the Blues at Eden Park to stay in touch with the Waratahs.
We have analysed all five games set to take place this weekend and our complete 2018 Super Rugby Round 16 tips can be found below.
Highlanders Vs Hurricanes
Friday 1 June, 5:35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium
The Highlanders, fresh off a scrappy win over the Reds at Suncorp Stadium last week, have bolstered their starting lineup ahead of Friday night’s derby clash with the Hurricanes.
Making his first start of the season, Kalolo Tuiloma has been huge off the bench for the Highlanders recently, while back rower Liam Squire also gets the nod.
Despite the added weapons, the Highlanders will still start this game as heavy underdogs.
Sitting second in the New Zealand Conference, the Hurricanes will be keen to bounce back from last week’s loss to the Crusaders.
The Hurricanes have lost two of their five games on the road this season, but after allowing the chance to claim top spot in the conference to slip by the wayside last week, they’ll be hungry for a win in Dunedin.
The Highlanders, meanwhile, have been particularly strong on home soil.
Holding a 6-0 record at home head-to-head, you can’t look past the Highlanders.
All seven of the Highlanders and Hurricanes meetings have been settled by 12 points or less, so the Margin Market makes sense here.
Back The Highlanders 1-12 @ $3.40
Blues Vs Rebels
Saturday 2 June, 3:15pm, Eden Park
With the second-fewest wins on the board, it’s been a pretty miserable season for the Blues.
Fresh from a two week break, the Blues will look to forget their eight point loss against the Crusaders back in Round 14.
With a 3-0 record in hand against the Rebels, for the first time in a while the Blues enter this one as the favourite.
Despite the gap in the market, the Blues hold a lousy 0-6 head-to-head record at home over the last 12 months.
Sitting 6-6 and just one point behind Australian Conference leaders the Waratahs, the Rebels have been equally unimpressive on the road.
Melbourne has lost two of their three games on away soil.
Both of these sides have been tough to back all year, featuring plenty of inconsistency.
With that in mind, it’s best to stay safe and take the Blues at home.
Back The Blues To Beat The Line (-9.5 Points)
Chiefs Vs Crusaders
Saturday 2 June, 5:35pm, FMG Stadium
Last week’s win over the Waratahs has the Chiefs feeling pretty good right about now.
Sitting 8-4 on the season and fourth on the overall ladder, it would take something catastrophic for the Chiefs to miss the playoffs from here.
Up next is the Crusaders on Saturday, easily the game of the round.
The Crusaders come in as the favourite following an under-strength win over the Hurricanes last week with Sam Whitelock missing.
Despite the Chiefs’ success, particularly towards the start of the season, their form has been spotty as of late, which could spell a loss for the underdogs.
The Chiefs haven’t strung together back-to-back wins since early April.
The Crusaders have gone 6-0 on the road as the head-to-head favourite this year, and given they manhandled the Chiefs earlier in the year, it’s hard to bet against them here.
Back The Crusaders 1-12 @ $2.80
Reds Vs Waratahs
Saturday 2 June, 7:45pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Reds will head into Saturday’s game a little low on confidence following last week’s slip-up against the Highlanders.
That was a game Queensland should have won, but that isn’t to say the Reds can’t keep it close with the rival Waratahs at home this week.
New South Wales certainly know how the Reds feel.
The Waratahs had a golden opportunity to move two games clear atop the Australian Conference last week, but failed to reel in the win against the Chiefs.
Queensland is the clear underdog ahead of this clash, and you don’t have to look very hard to understand why.
The Waratahs have won their last eight straight against their Northern foes.
Last time these two met the Waratahs took care of the Reds comfortably in the end, walking away with a 37-16 victory.
History also shows that when the Waratahs visit Brisbane the games are often decided by less than two-points, but even so, New South Wales should be able to pull this one out.
Back The Waratahs To Beat The Line (-6.5 Points)
Brumbies Vs Sunwolves
Sunday 3 June, 4:05pm, GIO Stadium
Twelfth plays the bottom dwellers to close out Round 16.
The Brumbies pulled off a big win over the Bulls last week, and since their five-game losing streak is now behind them, they look primed for what could be a blowout against the Sunwolves.
As the market clearly suggests, a Sunwolves upset is a definite long shot, but let’s not forget this is the same team that upset the Reds 63-28 two week’s ago.
The Brumbies will go without Folau Fainga’a this week, who is serving a one-match ban for headbutting during last week’s win.
These two last met back in Round 2, a game the Brumbies won, but not so convincingly.
The Brumbies actually trailed at half time, but fought back to win 32-25. Since the head-to-head market offers little value on the Brumbies, the Margin Market is the place to be.
Back The Brumbies 11-20 @ $5.50
Round 16 of the 2017 Super Rugby season officially got underway last month, but the majority of the round will actually be played this weekend.
No New Zealand-based teams will be in action and there are a number of big games in both the Australian and South African Conferences.
We have analysed every fixture set to take place this weekend and
Hurricanes Vs Chiefs
Friday 9 June, 5:35pm, Westpac Stadium
The Hurricanes and Chiefs will do battle for the second time this season.
The Chiefs did beat the Hurricanes when they met earlier this season, but it is the Hurricanes that will go into this clash as clear favourites.
The Hurricanes have won their past ten games as home favourites and they are a most impressive 7-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Chiefs returned to winning form with a victory over the Waratahs, but this is obviously a much tougher challenge.
They have won one of their past three games as away underdogs and their record against the line is no better.
The Hurricanes have been in excellent form in recent weeks and really should prove too strong.
Back The Hurricanes To Beat The Line (-5.5 Points)
Reds Vs Brumbies
Friday 7 July, 7:45pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brumbies went into the midseason break on the back of three straight wins and that will start this clash with the Reds as clear favourites.
Winning away from home has been something of an issue for the Brumbies and they have won only one of their past three games as away favourites, while they are 1-2 against the line in this scenario.
The Reds have won only one of their past five games and they have been impossible to trust from a betting standpoint so far this season.
They have lost their past three games as home underdogs and their record against the line in this scenario is not much better.
The Brumbies should be able to continue their recent dominance over the Reds, but their is no value at their current price.
Western Force Vs Rebels
Friday 7 July, 9:55pm, NIB Stadium
The future of both these teams is up in the air and this really is a crucial game.
The Force have played some quality Rugby at times this season and they will start this clash as favourites – despite the fact they have won only one of the past five games played between these two sides.
They have won their only game as home favourites this season, but they failed to beat the line.
The Rebels have clearly given up on this season and they have not won a game for close to three months.
They have won only one of their past seven games as away underdogs for a clear loss and they are 2-5 against the line in this situation.
It is tough to trust the Rebels, but I don’t think there is as much between these two sides as the current betting market suggests and they do represent some value at their current price.
Back The Rebels To Win @ $3.25
Waratahs Vs Jaguares
Saturday 8 July, 5:35pm, Allianz Stadium
The Waratahs have won only two of their past eight games, but they will still start this clash with the Jaguares as clear favourites.
Backing the Waratahs this season has been fraught with danger – they have won only two of their past five games as home favourites and they are 1-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Jaguares season hit a new low when they lost to the Kings last weekend and they have now won only one of their past eight games.
They have lost their past four games as away underdogs, but they are 3-1 against the line in this scenario.
Taking on the Waratahs has proven to be a profitable betting play all season long and the Jaguares are a great bet to cover the line with a big start.
Back The Jaguares To Beat The Line (+12.5 Points)
Bulls Vs Kings
Sunday 9 July, 1:15am, Loftus Versfeld
Both the Bulls and Kings will go into this clash with plenty of confidence after they recorded upset wins last weekend.
It is the Bulls that will start this game as favourites and they have won their three previous meetings with the Kings.
The Bulls have won all three of their games as home favourites this season, but they are 1-2 against the line in this scenario.
The Kings upstaged the Jaguares last weekend and they continue to be one of the best betting teams in Super Rugby this season.
They have won three of their past eight games as away underdogs for a massive profit and they are 7-1 against the line in this situation.
The Kings are receiving a start of 10.5 points at the line and they are a great bet to cover once again.
Back The Kings To Beat The Line (+10.5 Points)
Stormers Vs Sunwolves
Sunday 9 July, 3.30am, DHL Newlands
The Sunwolves suffered their worst defeat of the season against the Lions last weekend and they face another tough assignment against the Stormers.
The Sunwolves are yet to win a Super Rugby game away from home, but they are 6-2 against the line as away underdogs this season.
It was not easy, but the Stormers did manage to beat the Cheetahs in their return to action last weekend and they really should prove to be too strong for the Sunwolves.
The Stormers have won four of their past five games as home favourites, but they are only 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
They should win this clash, but the line of 34.5 points does seem excessive and it is unlikely that the Sunwolves will play as poorly as they did last week.
Back Sunwolves To Beat The Line (+34.5 Points)
This is the penultimate round of the 2016 Super Rugby season and the battle for positions in the finals is on in earnest.
The Friday afternoon showdown between the Blues and Brumbies is sure to have finals consequences as will the Saturday night blockbuster between the Waratahs and the Hurricanes.
The round concludes on Sunday morning when the Jaguares host the Highlanders for the first time in Argentina.
Blues Vs Brumbies
Friday 8 July, 5:35pm, Eden Park
This is an exciting way to start round 16 of the 2016 Super Rugby season as there is very little between these two teams.
The Brumbies proved far too strong for the Reds last weekend and they are narrow favourites to record their fifth straight win when they face the Blues on Friday afternoon.
The Brumbies have won four of their past five games as away favourites and they generally have little problem producing their best football on the road.
This will be just the third game that the Blues have started as away underdogs this year and they are 1-1 in this scenario.
The Blues are now out of finals contention after losing to the Hurricanes last weekend, while the Brumbies can still finish on top of the Australian Conference.
Because of that you have to give the edge to the Brumbies and they should be able to get the job done at a quote of $1.80.
Recommended Bet: Back The Brumbies To Win @ $1.80
Reds Vs Chiefs
Friday 8 July, 7:45pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Reds have lost the past four meetings between these two franchises and it is tough to see them ending that drought this weekend, but they could still represent a touch of value in betting.
The Reds were not disgraced against the Brumbies last weekend and their record at Suncorp Stadium this season has been decent – they are 1-1-1 as home underdogs and they are 3-0 against the line in this scenario.
The Chiefs scored a big win over the Crusaders last weekend, but they have been a touch suspect as away favourites this season and are 1-1 in both line and head to head betting markets.
While the Chiefs should be able to win this game, they are prone to producing a beyond par performance against teams that they should beat easily and I am punting on another tough effort from the Reds this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back The Reds To Beat The Line (+12.5 Points)
Lions Vs Kings
Saturday 9 July, 3:00am, Emirates Airline Park
The Lions have already confirmed that this will be their most successful Super Rugby season in their history and they are almost unbackable favourites in this clash.
It is only line betting that will be relevant in this game as it is very tough to see the Lions losing and they are 5-0 against the line as home favourites this season.
The Kings went down by 30 against the Highlanders last weekend and were able to beat the line and they are 3-2 in this form of betting as away underdogs this season.
The line of 36.5 points does seem a tough excessive, but the Lions beat the Sharks by 27 points last weekend and if they are able to replicate that level of performance again they should have no problems putting up a very big score against the Kings.
Recommended Bet: Back The Lions To Beat The Line (-36.5 Points)
Crusaders Vs Rebels
Saturday 9 July, 5:35pm, AMI Stadium
The Rebels have proven a bogey team for the Crusaders and the two teams have split their four matches evenly, but the Crusaders will still start this game as very short-priced favourites.
The Crusaders lost to the Chiefs last weekend and they desperately need to win this clash to keep touch with their rivals on top of the New Zealand conference.
Home favourtism has suited the Crusaders this season and they have lost just a single game in this scenario, while they are 4-2 against the line.
The Rebels defence had serious problems against the Stormers last weekend and they leaked plenty of points, if they don’t improve this weekend they will be looking down the barrel of a big defeat.
The Melbourne-based franchise has proven to be a profitable betting side as away underdogs this season and have won two of their past five games in this scenario, but the market looks to have this price just about right.
There is no real value available for either side and I have happy to stay out of this game from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Waratahs Vs Hurricanes
Saturday 9 July, 7:45am, Allianz Stadium
This is a crucial game for both sides as their is now just two weeks until the start of the Super Rugby finals.
The Waratahs had no problems taking care of the Sunwolves last weekend and this is obviously a much tougher test, but they will still start this game as favourites.
This has not been a position in which the Waratahs have thrived this season and they have won just three of their five games as home favourites for a loss.
The Hurricanes picked up where they left of with a comfortable victory over the Blues last weekend and they have now won four of their past five games.
They have won just one of their past three games as away underdogs, but they are 2-1 against the line in this scenario and they have generally been a profitable play when being given a start.
The Hurricanes are definitely over the odds at their current price of $2.05 and I expect that they will be significantly shorter than this by kick-off.
Recommended Bet: Back The Hurricanes To Win @ $2.05
Force Vs Stormers
Saturday 9 July, 9:35am, NIB Stadium
The Force have struggled against the Stormers throughout their Super Rugby history and they have recorded just one win in seven games against the South African side.
The Force missed out on a golden opportunity to return to winning form last weekend when they suffered a single point loss at the hands of the Cheetahs and they will go into this game as heavy underdogs.
This is definitely not a position in which the Force have thrived this season – they are yet to win a game as home underdogs and they are 1-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Stormers showed that they are capable of winning games in Australia with their entertaining victory over the Rebels last weekend and they are deserving favourites for this clash.
They have only a fair record as away favourites this season, but they are clearly a superior outfit to the struggling Force and they should be able to cover the line of 9.5 points comfortably.
Recommended Bet: Back The Stormers To Beat The Line (-9.5 Points)
Bulls Vs Sunwolves
Sunday 10 July, 1:05am, Loftus Versfeld
The Bulls won the first meeting between these two sides, but the Sunwolves gave them a real scare in what was one of their best performances to date.
This is a must-win game for the Bulls if they want to remain in the hunt for a position in the Super Rugby Finals and they are extremely short favourites to get the job done despite struggling against the Jaguares last weekend.
The Bulls have been a slightly profitable betting side as home favourites this season, but are only a middling 2-2 against the line in this scenario and they will be giving away a very big start.
The Sunwolves suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the Waratahs and they continue to be very difficult to predict week to week.
There is very little chance of them actually winning this game and the interest will be at the line, where they are currently 2-3 as away underdogs.
Analysing how the Sunwolves will play week to week is extremely tough and this is another game that I am happy to stay out of from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Sharks Vs Cheetahs
Sunday 10 July, 3:15am, Growthpoint Kings Park
The Sharks are another team that are involved in the scramble for the final positions in the Super Rugby Finals and this game against the Cheetahs is a must win.
We gave the Sharks an excellent opportunity of upsetting the Lions last weekend and they were very poor, but they will still start this clash as clear favourites.
The Sharks have proven an unreliable betting side this season and they have won just two of their past four games as home favourites, while their record against the line is identical.
The Cheetahs scored a narrow victory over the Force to record their second win in their past three games, but they obviously face a much tougher task this weekend.
They are another team that is yet to win a game as away underdogs this season and in fact the Cheetahs have not won any game in which they have started as underdogs, while they have also been non-profitable in line betting.
The Sharks can be a tough team to trust from a betting prospective, but they still have a far more talented side than the Cheetahs and the start of 10.5 points is unlikely to be enough.
Recommended Bet: Back The Sharks To Beat The Line (-10.5 Points)
Jaguares Vs Highlanders
Sunday 10 July, 7:40am, Estadio Jose Amalfitani
The Jaguares recorded their biggest win in Super Rugby with a solid performance against the Bulls last weekend, but it is still the Highlanders that will start this game as favourites.
While the Jaguares beat the Highlanders last season, it is fair to say that their maiden Super Rugby season has still been extremely disappointing and they have lost all five of their games as underdogs and are 1-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Highlanders are one of four teams still in the finals mix in the New Zealand Conference after they recorded a comfortable victory over the Kings last weekend.
The Highlanders were the best betting side in Super Rugby last season, but they have been unable to replicate that in 2016 and have actually lost three of their five games as away favourites this season.
This is a game that the Highlanders really should win, but the market has this game priced just about right and this is another fixture that I am happy to stay out of from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet