All 4 South African teams are in action in the URC this weekend and we take a look at those games from a betting angle.
Leinster remain firm favourites to win the United Rugby Championship at 5/10 with the Stormers and Ulster now trading joint second favourites at 8/1. You can get 9/1 Munster, 10/1 the Bulls and Sharks and 33/1 and better the balance.
Benetton v Blue Bulls – Click here to bet
Benetton currently sit 7th on the table, 1 position behind the Bulls and level on points with both teams having played 5 games. Benetton were well beaten last week going down 53-8 to the well-backed Edinburgh, but they have been strong at home this season, beating the Dragons and Scarlets as well as the Glasgow Warriors back in Week 1.
The Bulls made a promising start to the season, but they have been disappointing in the last couple of weeks. Last week they went down 31-17 to Munster, a game which the bookies had priced up as a close encounter and the week before that they were well beaten away at the Glasgow warriors losing 35-21.
This should be a good game and Benetton will certainly be no pushovers, but I think the changes made to the Bulls side will be enough to see them home and I am going to back them to win this one by 3 points or more.
Suggested Bet: Handicap, Bulls -2.5 at 17/20
Lions v Glasgow – Click here to bet
The Lions played out a thrilling 2 point loss at home to Ulster last week eventually going down 37-39, but coming back strongly late in the game to put themselves in with a real chance of winning. Prior to that they had gone 3 for 3 on their overseas trip.
Glasgow beat the Bulls by 14 points at home two weeks ago, but last week were outplayed by the Sharks in Durban going down 40-12. They now face a tough task to turn over the Lions at altitude.
I can see Glasgow being competitive early, but they will no doubt try and slow the game down, but at the end of the day this Lions side should prove too strong at altitude and I am backing them to win this one going away.
Suggested Bet: Handicap, Lions -7.5 at 9/10
Sharks v Ulster – Click here to bet
This should be one of the matches of the weekend with the Sharks showing last week with their win over the Glasgow Warriors by 28 points that they are a force to be reckoned with this season especially with their Boks back in the firing line. That was their first home appearance of the season and came on the back of a Tour which saw them well beaten by Leinster and with narrow wins over the Zebre and the Dragons, two sides they were expected to beat convincingly.
Ulster travelled to South Africa full of confidence after a 30 point thumping of the Ospreys at home in week 4. They were then given a hard battle against the Lions pulling clear in the third quarter only for the Lions to fight back and Ulster to hang on for a 39-37 victory. Although they don’t have the altitude to contend with, the Sharks in Durban will be a very different proposition, but Ulster will certainly fancy their chances.
I really feel like the Sharks had turned a corner of some sorts against the Warriors last week and I think they can kick on and show the rest of the competition just how hard it is going to be to beat them at home this season.
Suggested Bet: Handicap, Sharks -6.5 at 9/10
Cardiff v Stormers – Click here to bet
Cardiff are currently sitting on 8th on the log, 4 points behind the Stormers who sit 3rd, but having played a game more. They were full value for a 31-14 home win over the Dragons last week and also beat the Scarlets on the road in a low scoring encounter the week before.
The Stormers had beaten Connacht 38-15 at home in their opening match and they then dealt out similar treatment to Edinburgh also in Cape Town. Their first overseas outing was in Italy where they were 17 points too strong for Zebre, but last week they came up slightly short in wet conditions failing to close out the game allowing the Ospreys to grab a 16-16 draw.
This is not a bet I usually take, but I feel the handicap and points line are well set. For this bet to arrive I need the Total Points to finish on anywhere from 42 to 48 points inclusive.
At the time of writing I couldn’t find the Stormers to win by 1- 12 points market, but that no doubt will be out closer to kick-off and is certainly another alternative for punters as I think this will be quite a close game.
Suggested Bet: Point range 42-48 points inclusive at 7/2
Note: All prices correct at the time of writing but are subject to change