CAPE TOWN – Put your faith in the Sharks to beat the Blues in Durban. I’m putting down R1 000 on an outright win for the Sharks. This will give me a R2 200 return, including my R1 000 bet.
For me, it’s the bet of the Super Rugby weekend.
I was very surprised to see the bookies make the Blues favourites to win away from home, especially against a team with the quality of the Sharks.
The Blues, at home against the Crusaders, looked a more cohesive unit than in 2018, but they still didn’t convince me that they will be anywhere near the playoffs. They’ve got some of the best gamebreakers in world rugby and it’s always a treat to watch the likes of Sonny Bill Williams and Rieko Ioane. Collectively they are an inferior match unit to the Sharks.
I really enjoyed the Sharks’ 45-10 win against the Sunwolves. They looked composed and were very clinical. I don’t think the Sunwolves are as bad as the 35-point drubbing. I am going to credit the Sharks more than dismiss the Sunwolves, which is why I am putting R1 000 down on the Sunwolves not to lose by 20 or more points against the Waratahs. This will give me a R1 900 return, including my R1 000 bet.
These are the only two Super Rugby matches I will be betting on. The Jaguares, at home to the Bulls, is a lottery. The lack of discipline from the Jaguares in their home defeat against the Lions was a throwback to their 2017 form, whereas I had expected a continuation of the improved home displays of 2018.
The Bulls were fabulous against the Stormers, but it is still too early to know if they were that good or if the Stormers were simply a no-show on the day. I am staying away from this one from a betting perspective, just like I am staying away from putting a wager on the Lions to beat the Stormers at Newlands.
My gut instinct is the Lions will win by 10 points, but I am guarded because of the unpredictability of a Stormers team that in 2018 were far more convincing at home than they ever were on the road.
I don’t rate the Stormers and I don’t see them improving on their dismal 6/16 in 2018, but the Newlands factor can’t be discounted.
The big New Zealand clash is the Crusaders at home to the Hurricanes and the bookies have the home team to win by a converted score. Again, it’s too early in the season to have such conviction with two such class sides.
The highlight for me this weekend will be Wales versus England in the Six Nations.
I’ve enjoyed excellent returns on England this season, but won’t be betting on the result. It’s the Welshman in me. I believe England will win and it pains me to write this, but it would be a betrayal of my Welsh DNA to actually make a buck out of it on the result.
Where I am putting my money is on there being more converted penalties than tries in the match. I am putting R1 000 rand down for a R2 500 return, including my R1 000 bet.
My final rugby bet of the weekend is on Scotland winning against France in Paris. The bookies have been very generous in offering 2/1 on a Scotland win. And I am not going to say no to this. I am putting down a R1 000 to win back R3000, including my initial R1 000 bet.
* Kevin Ferguson is the CEO of Highbury Media and the leading sports betting authority in South Africa. Follow him on www.moneymansa.co.za