I’m somewhat unsurprised to have been let down by The Blues last week with my $4 TAB multi-bet falling over at the first hurdle. Being at the game live only made matters worse and the disappointment was compounded when the Reds later kicked their way to victory over the Brumbies. I was undone even further when the Sharks and Waratahs wound up in a deadlock, but let’s face it, who is ever going to pick a draw? Overall result from last week = 4/7.
Let’s take a look again at all the key stats ahead of this weekend so as to put our best foot forward with the bookies. Here I have laid down my picks and another $5 TAB multi-bet which is currently set to return a healthy $83.50.
Highlanders v Stormers
- The Highlanders have won their last two games against the Stormers, snapping a six-game losing streak against them prior.
- The Highlanders have won their last seven games on home turf, scoring 40+ points in all but one of those fixtures.
- The Stormers have now lost their last nine games in a row in New Zealand, losing by an average margin of 17 points in that time.
- The Highlanders have recorded a 100% scrum success rate in eight of their last nine home games, winning 63 of their 64 scrums in those nine games.
- Damian de Allende beat eight defenders last round, more than any other player and his most in a single game since beating 12 Brumbies’ defenders at the end of 2015.
My pick: Highlanders. Too strong at home, even when you factor in the brute force of the Stormers.
Rebels v Brumbies
- The Brumbies have won nine of the previous 13 encounters between these teams in Super Rugby history, though the Rebels picked up a two-point win in their last meeting in Melbourne.
- The Rebels will be looking for a third consecutive win for the first time in their Super Rugby history.
- The Brumbies have won one of their last four Australian derbies; they had previously won 10 such fixtures in succession.
- The Brumbies won 13 turnovers in their last start against the Rebels; only twice in the last six seasons have they won more in a single game (14 v Waratahs in Rd 4, 2017 & 14 v Cheetahs in Rd 5, 2016).
- Jack Maddocks has been directly involved in five tries this campaign (3 tries, 2 assists), more than any other player in the competition.
My pick: Rebels to continue their momentum against a Brumbies side that is trending downwards.
Hurricanes v Crusaders
- The Hurricanes have won seven of their last 10 games against the Crusaders, though only two of those 10 games were decided by double-digit margins.
- The Hurricanes have won their last four games at home against the Crusaders, previously they had won just two of 10 home games against them (D2, L6).
- The Crusaders will be looking to avoid back to back losses on the road in the regular season for the first time since May 2015.
- The Hurricanes have conceded just 15 points per game this campaign, the fewest of any team; the Rebels (18pts) are the only other team to have conceded fewer than 20 points per game.
- Julian Savea beat seven defenders last round, the equal second most of any player; the last time he made more in a single game was in Round 2, 2017 against the Rebels (8).
My pick: Hurricanes to shake their shambolic ways and sneak home at home.
Red v Bulls
- Each of the last 11 meetings between the Reds and Bulls has been won by the home team on the day; though, this will be the first meeting in Queensland since 2013.
- The Reds will be hunting for consecutive Super Rugby wins for the first time since May-June 2014.
- The Bulls have won just two of their last 19 games outside South Africa, with their last international win coming in Round 10, 2016.
- The Bulls have won 16 lineouts per game with a lineout success rate of 94%, the best of any team in either category this campaign.
- Lukhan Tui has crossed for a try once in each of his last two games at home for the Reds.
My pick: Reds. Simply put, the Bulls suck shit away from home.
Sharks v Sunwolves
- The Sharks have won each of the previous two meetings between these teams, scoring no fewer than 38 points on each occasion.
- The Sharks are now winless in three games at home; the last time they went longer without a home win was a stretch of four defeats across the 2009 and 2010 campaigns.
- The Sunwolves are yet to win on the road in Super Rugby, and have conceded 146 points in their last two games away from home.
- The Sunwolves are yet to lose a scrum on their own feed this campaign, one of just three teams yet to do so (Highlanders, Rebels).
- Robert du Preez has scored a try in each of his two games for the Sharks thus far, pulling in a points tally of 23 across those games.
My pick: Sharks. It’s going to happen, but it will be a long yet before the Sunwolves cause me an upset and actually win another game.
Lions v Blues
- The Lions have won their last three games against the Blues, though they were defeated in their seven meetings prior.
- The Lions have won four of their last six games against New Zealand opposition; however, all but one of those games came in the post-season.
- The Blues have won only one of their last 10 games in South Africa, letting two half-time leads slip in that period.
- The Lions have scored eight tries on the back of a lineout win this season, only three other teams in the competition has scored more than eight tries overall (Crusaders, Rebels, Stormers).
- Melani Nanai has an average gain of 12m per carry this season, the best of any player (min. 10 carries).
My pick: Lions. I’m not betting on the Blues ever again in my whole life for ever.
Jaguares v Waratahs
- The Jaguares ran out to a 40-27 win in their only previous encounter with the Waratahs.
- The Jaguares have lost their last four games in a row at home; they had previously never lost more than two games in a row on home turf.
- The Waratahs are winless in their last seven games outside Australia, failing to pick up a single competition point in five of those matches.
- The Jaguares have missed 109 tackles in just three games so far this campaign, more than any other team.
- Michael Hooper has crossed for a try in each of his two games for the Waratahs this season, and has missed just three of 25 tackle attempts in that time.
My pick: Jaguares. If anyone actually watches this game, let me know how it goes.
Thanks to Opta for providing all of the facts and statistics.
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