SUPER RUGBY ROUND 17
Highlanders v Reds
The NZ teams join back into the Super Rugby competition for the last round before the playoffs. The Reds were gritty in their performance in beating the Brumbies last week on the hooter.
The Reds have a good record against the Highlanders winning 5 of the last 6 games. The last 7 games between the two sides has resulted in all games being within 7 points. The Reds have absolutely nothing to play for so will be putting everything out on the pitch, particularly those players trying to make the Wallabies side for the Rugby Championship.
The Highlanders themselves can't finish anywhere other than 7th, they'll be playing either the Crusaders or Lions next week. They don't particularly have much to play for apart from trying to gain momentum into next week. Both teams have named pretty strong sides so it should be a cracker of a game.
I think the line has gone too far and the Reds plus is the bet for this game.
Rebels v Jaguares
The Rebels lost to the Force in Perth last week while the Jaguares upset the Waratahs thrashing them 40-27 after an incredible start.
This is a nothing game, both teams playing for Pride. The Rebels have been terrible this year and haven't looked like winning a game for a long time.
The Jaguares looked great last week and if they play anywhere like that they should win this one. The Jaguares have only won 2 games away from home this year while the Rebels have only won 1 home game this season.
I dont think there is any value in this game so we'll leave this one out.
Kings v Cheetahs
Quite looking forward to this game, i wouldn't have said that at the start of the season. Both teams will be moving on next year possibly to the European competition PRO12. The Kings are in tremendous form winning their last two games against the Jaguares and the Bulls. The Cheetahs lost last week to the Stormers in a close one.
The Cheetahs have one the last three games against the Kings by fairly comprehensive margins. But this is a new Kings side and they're on a roll. Those three games have averaged 49 points per game. Its a hard one to gauge what the score could be in this game, both play pretty attacking rugby and leak a fair few points themselves. Though when two teams desperate for the win play the total is fairly low.
I like the Kings in this one though but it should be close, home advantage and will really want to win this before their departure.
Sunwolves v Blues
Sunwolves have been in terrible form of recent, hammered in their last three games leaking 193 points and scoring 29 themselves. The Blues will be without SBW this week after his suspension. They'll want to finish the season with a win though and should do it comfortably.
NZ teams have scored on average 50 points per game against the Sunwolves this year. Most of those games were in the middle of the year when the Sunwolves put some sort of fight up. The Blues have only lost to one Non-NZ side this year and should win this one comfortably. Think the Blues should beat the handicap here.
Chiefs v Brumbies
The Brumbies suffered a shock loss against the Reds last week which doesn't bode well for their playoffs next week. The Chiefs will really want to win this one and hope the Crusaders beat the Hurricanes, they'll then face off against the Brumbies again next week in the first round of the playoffs. Most people consider the Brumbies the team you want to play in the first week.
The Chiefs have only lost one Super Rugby game at home this year, that was to the Crusaders. The Brumbies have won 3 away from home and lost four this season. The winner of this fixture has been the home team in 8 of the last 9 games, with the only game being against this trend was the Chiefs winning against the Brumbies last year in Canberra.
The Chiefs are without some good players this week with Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick rested. Meanwhile Aidan Toua and Kyle Godwin are missing through injury for the rest of the season for the Brumbies.
I marked this Chiefs 17 point favourites and the market is around that.
Hurricanes v Crusaders
If the Crusaders lose this they will potentially lose the Regular season premiership and therefore potentially lose home games further down the playoffs. The Hurricanes win this, they'll finish 5th and play the Brumbies in Canberra next week. So plenty to play for for both teams.
The Hurricanes have won 4 of the last 6 games against the Crusaders, but lost to the Crusaders earlier on this year where the Crusaders played an incredible defensive shut out game.
The Crusaders are undefeated while the Hurricanes are probably the best attacking side in the competition. The Hurricanes have named an impressive side this week with all 6 All Blacks back in the fold. The Crusaders have a number of injury concerns and it is not known yet how many All Blacks will be involved in this weeks game, I suspect with plenty to play for if the players are ready they'll be named.
I think the Hurricanes will break the Crusaders streak here and win this one.
Force v Waratahs
Another nothing game. The Force beat the Rebels last week while the Waratahs lost to the Jaguares in Sydney. A lot of chatter in the last couple of weeks of how the Waratahs players have lost faith in their coach Daryl Gibson, with the roster that the Waratahs have you'd think they would have a few more on the wins column this year, the players need to take some sort of responsibility for that.
The Waratahs have won the last two games against the Force but the Force had won the previous 3. The Waratahs have only won 2 away games this year while the Force have won 3 home games.
Too hard to pick this game and best to stay out.
Bulls v Stormers
Not a whole lot to play for in this game either. Unless the Brumbies can get 5 points against the Chiefs then the Stormers will have to try in this game, otherwise they'll finish 3rd. The Bulls lost to the Kings last week while the Stormers beat the Cheetahs in a close one.
The home team has won 8 of the last 9 games between these two sides. The Bulls have surprisingly lost their last 4 home games this season while the Stomers have only won 1 of their last 5 away games.
I think this game will be pretty close. The Bulls will want to finish the season with a win and the Stormers will more than likely take this as a training run in preparation for next week. Im picking the Bulls to win this one in a minor upset.
Bulls to Win2 at 2.40-2
Sharks v Lions
Both teams had a week off last week. The Sharks will automatically finish 8th if the Highlanders can get any points in their match. The If the Crusaders lose the Lions have plenty to play for to win the minor premiership.
The Lions have won the last 4 matches against the Sharks and I suspect they'll be desperate to win again this week. Last year they made the fateful decision of resting players in the last round and in doing so they lost to the Jaguares losing the minor premiership and any hope of a home final. There is every chance that these two teams will be taking the field again next week against each other.
Too much doubt in this game, players could be rested depending on other results earlier on in the round so i'm happy to stay out of this one.
RESULTS STAKES ROI Final +3 3 100% Semi Finals -0.77 6.5 -12% Quarter Finals +2.94 9 33% Week Seventeen -1.2 11 -11% Week Sixteen -3.3 9 -37% Week Fifteen +0.52 19.5 3% Week Fourteen -16 16 -100% Week Thirteen +3.81 13.5 28% Week Twelve +2.71 17.5 15% Week Eleven -2.9 11 -26% Week Ten -0.35 14 -3% Week Nine -5.52 13 -42% Week Eight +6.77 12 56% Week Seven +7.8 9 87% Week Six +15.46 13 119% Week Five +1.61 10 16% Week Four -2.24 8 -28% Week Three -10 10 -100% Week Two +4.9 8 61% Week One -4.15 13.5 -31% Futures +5.7 10 57% Total +8.79 226.5 4%