The United Rugby Championship continues this weekend and we take a look at all four games involving South Africa teams.
Let’s start with the Outright Betting where Leinster continue to trade as short priced favourites currently at 5/10, you have got 8/1 joint second favourites in the Stormers and Ulster with Munster and the Blue Bulls 10/1, the Sharks are 11/1 despite their horrific showing on the weekend and you can get 35/1 and better the balance.
SHARKS v OSPREYS – Click here to bet
The Sharks parted way with their coach early in the week after one of the worst performances statistically speaking at least that I have ever seen.
They started the match 15 point favourites against Cardiff, but in wet conditions not only failed to score a point, but conceded 35 points to their opposition. Prior to the break the Sharks had lost to the Bulls at Loftus and had pulled off an impressive 40-12 win over Glasgow Warriors at home.
The Ospreys were well beaten by the Bulls in Pretoria last week, going down 43-26, but they certainly fought hard and will fancy their chances of a strong showing in Durban. Ospreys currently sit 14th on the table and the Sharks 12th.
Handicap: Sharks -15.5
Suggested Bet: Total Points under 54.5 at 9/10
Durban in November is a muggy place to play rugby and I would not be surprised if this is a scrappy game with the Sharks absolutely desperate to regain some public favour.
STORMERS v DRAGONS – Click here to bet
The Stormers turned in an impressive performance last week winning 56-19 against the Scarlets, but there will be a different dynamic in play in this game as it takes place in Gqeberha and it remains to be seen how many Stormers fans there will be to shout them home.
The Dragons went down 33-25 to the Lions in Johannesburg last Sunday, a game where they started as 15 point underdogs. There were times when it looked as though the match was going to get away from them, but they hung in and actually finished the stronger of the two teams. The Dragons go into this weekend 11th on the table with the Stormers in 4th having suffered just 1 defeat in 7 matches.
Handicap: Stormers -23.5
Suggested Bet: Dragons over 14.5 points at 9/10
While the Dragons are in the bottom half of the table they have actually played a lot better rugby than they have in recent years and on somewhat neutral territory I think they can keep this score line respectable.
Take a handicap multiple with any 5 Dubai Sevens teams, and we will pay out your bet in full, in Free Bet vouchers, if any of your selections are leading, but lose after the Full Time hooter sounds.
BLUE BULLS v CARDIFF – Click here to bet
The Bulls were too strong for a game Ospreys side last week, winning a high scoring encounter by 17 points and they have a 100% record at home this season.
Cardiff caused a massive upset in Durban last week, beating the Sharks 35-0 and their handling and composure in poor conditions was admirable. The Sharks performance aside that result came out of nowhere when you consider that they had lost their previous home game by 8 points against Edinburgh.
The Bulls are currently 3rd on the table, level on points with the 4th placed Stormers, but having played a game more and Cardiff have moved into the Top 6 with 5 wins and 3 defeats in their 8 matches.
Handicap: Blue Bulls -14.5
Suggested Bet: Handicap, Blue Bulls -14.5 at 19/20
Hats off to Cardiff for last week’s performance, but I think they are going to find the Bulls at Loftus a difference proposition and I expect the Bulls to speed this game up and the Cardiff visitors to be sucking in deep breaths by the end of the match.
LIONS V SCARLETS – Click here to bet
The Lions beat the Dragons 33-25 last week, but it was not a particularly impressive performance especially when you consider the handicap started around the 15 point mark. They squandered plenty of chances in the second-half and the first-half one was one that was dogged by errors.
They face a Scarlets side which was quite well backed against the Stormers the week before, the handicap coming in from 17 to 13, but in the end those who took the +17.5 Scarlets were very relieved at the final whistle as they went down 36-19 having come back to beat that handicap.
The Lions are currently 7th on the URC table with the Scarlets second from bottom in 15th having won just one of their opening 8 matches.
Handicap: Lions -11.5
Suggested Bet: Lions -11.5 at 9/10
I am expecting the Lions to be much sharper this week and they can draw clear in the 2nd half to win comfortably.
Note: All prices correct at the time of writing but are subject to change