CAPE TOWN – A quick recap of last weekend’s two bets. I said I was feeling bullish about the Bulls’ prospects against the Sharks in Durban.
And the match went accordingly. Last week I wrote that Handre Pollard’s goalkicking would be significant and that the Bulls would win.
They left it late, but Pollard was on his game and the win was secured.
I also had the Stormers to not lose by six or more against the Blues and it looked to be accurate until Sonny Bill Williams ripped apart the Stormers defence and equally my bet.
This week my big bet is for the Sharks to beat the six-and-a-half-point handicap against the Lions. I am putting down R2 000 that the Sharks won’t lose by more than seven points. Don’t be surprised if they win. My bet, if successful, wins me back R4 400.
This weekend’s matches remind me of a fortnight ago when I cautioned against any flamboyance because so many matches were too tight to call.
I am staying away from several match-ups this weekend, especially the New Zealand derby in Dunedin where the Highlanders hosts the Hurricanes. The bookies have the Canes as slight favourites. The Canes won by three points when they met in Wellington and I have the Highlanders to win by a point.
The Reds and Stormers is a difficult one to pick. The Reds have threatened to transition into a decent team when playing at home, but haven’t quite got there. Brad Thorn, as coach, has introduced some grunt, structure and desire in the last season but the players just aren’t good enough to challenge for the playoffs.
The Stormers are obviously weakened without Pieter-Steph du Toit and Eben Etzebeth, but there is wonderful depth among their forwards. I won’t call an outcome with certainty. I won’t be betting on this match, but my Superbru pick is for the Stormers to win by five points.
The Bulls are big favourites to win against the Jaguares at Loftus, but if you are feeling liberal with your cash, then it’s worth having a punt on the Jaguares to beat the handicap of six and a half points. The Bulls have rested Pollard and Jesse Kriel, and are without suspended hooker Schalk Brits. This could well be one where the Jaguares finally find form in South Africa.
As for the rest, I am aligned with the bookies: the Crusaders will thump the Brumbies, the Rebels will be too strong for the Sunwolves and the Blues, in Auckland, will be too strong for the Waratahs.
Highlanders plus 2.5 v Hurricanes
Stormers plus 1.5 versus Reds
Sharks plus 6.5 versus Lions
Brumbies plus 25.5 versus Crusaders
Waratahs plus 8.5 versus Blues
Rebels plus 14.5 versus Sunwolves
Jaguares plus 6.5 versus Bulls
* Kevin Ferguson is the chief executive of Highbury Media and a leading sports betting authority in SA. Follow him on www.moneymansa.co.za