After an exciting regular season of Super Rugby action, 8 teams are left in the running for the Grand Final. With four enticing matchups, we’ll look for the best value bets on offer this weekend as we preview all four games below.
The first final will be a rematch of last week’s clash between the Hurricanes and Chiefs. In a close battle, the Chiefs got the victory by 4 points (28-24). The major difference this time is the clash will be played at Westpac Stadium giving the Hurricanes home field advantage. They finished off the season with a 1-4 record, so they’re not coming into the finals with their best form. The Chiefs win last week would have built their confidence levels to take down the Hurricanes at this venue, where they’ve struggled in the past. Since 2010, they’re 3-7 against the Hurricanes when playing on the road. The other factor is the Hurricanes 8-0 record at home this season. So while I see the Hurricanes avenging last week’s loss, this still should be another close contest. Both sides will be desperate and that should see defence dominate in a low scoring battle. So just like last week, I suggest the either team bet at CrownBet for the best value in this matchup.
The Crusaders will aim for their 12th straight win when they take on the Sharks at AMI Stadium this Saturday. They’ve easily been the best team in Super Rugby this season and they should comfortably reach the Grand Final. Credit to the Sharks for making the finals and winning their last game to do so. However, this will be a huge challenge that I don’t think their lineup can handle. The two sides haven’t met in New Zealand since 2014 and the Crusaders easily won on that occasion, 38-6. They come into the finals on the back of two dominant wins at home - 54-17 against the Blues and 45-22 versus the Highlanders. Not many team’s have troubled them at home in 2018 and the Sharks defence will be a huge concern. They rank 12th in Super Rugby for points allowed on the road, having given up 33 points per game. So in what should be another crushing win for the home side, the line is the only value in this game. The Crusaders hold a 5-2 ATS record when playing the Sharks and they’ve won their last 2 at home by over the line on offer for this game.
The Super Rugby finals action continues with the 9-6 Waratahs up against the 10-6 Highlanders at Allianz Stadium. This should be one of the more interesting clashes of the week, considering the Waratahs thrashed them 41-12 at this venue in mid-May. So the Highlanders will be looking for the ultimate revenge by knocking them out of the finals. However, their away form this year hasn’t been great with just 3 wins in 8 games. Last week at home, they only just beat the fairly poor Rebels 43-37 and previously lost 45-22 on the road against the Crusaders. So the key for the Waratahs will be taking advantage of the Highlanders defence. They were the 2nd best attacking team in home games all season and face the Highlanders defence that allowed 29 points per game. So in the end, I see great value in the Waratahs taking this game right down to the wire to cover the line and maybe cause an upset.
In this matchup, the Lions and Jaguares face off at Emirates Airlines Park on Saturday. The key factor in this game will be the experienced Lions at home against the Jaguares, who will be making their debut in the Super Rugby finals. At home this season, the Lions dominated with a 6-2 record and they ended the season as the 3rd best scoring team when playing on their home turf. Meanwhile, the Jaguares have lost 2 in a row on this South Africa trip. Last week, they went down to the Sharks 20-10 and lost to the Bulls 43-34. This season, both sides have won against each other at their home venue. The Lions winning 47-27 and the Jaguares defeated them 49-35 in Argentina. Interestingly, the home side is 6-0 when these two sides meet, which is a nice trend for the Lions. I think their attack will take advantage of the Jaguares defence and the Lions take this at the line. They beat them by 20 points at this venue this season and the Jaguares last 2 losses have been by 8.5 or more points.
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