Super Rugby – 2016 Futures Betting Tips

The following are futures betting tips for the 2016 Super Rugby season.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out our team-by-team previews:

Rugby Vision Predictions

Rugby Vision is a rugby analysis website that uses modelling by an economist at MIT. This year it has provided estimated probabilities for various outcomes in the 2016 Super Rugby season.

The tables below provide each team’s Elo rating along with outcome probabilities for various season results. Note that differences in the ratings equal the predicted score margins for games played at a neutral venue. Rugby Vision rates home advantage for most Super Rugby games as being worth 3.5 points, so if Team A, with a rating of say 101.5, hosted Team B with rating of 98.0, the expected winning margin would be 7 points for Team A.

The “fair odds” for each outcome has been calculated as the inverse of each probability.

Rugby Vision rates the Highlanders as the best chance of winning the title, while it isn’t as bullish about the Jaguares’ chances as the bookmakers.

Outcome Probabilities – Australian Conference
Source: Rugby Vision Brumbies Force Rebels Reds Waratahs
Team Rating 103.5 96.7 98.7 96.4 103.6
  Outcome Probabilities
  Brumbies Force Rebels Reds Waratahs
Win Conference 41.1% 2.8% 7.9% 2.3% 46.0%
Reach QF 69.3% 10.2% 24.1% 8.5% 72.4%
Reach SF 34.7% 5.1% 11.4% 4.3% 36.7%
Reach Final 18.6% 1.6% 3.9% 1.1% 20.2%
Champions 9.8% 0.5% 1.5% 0.3% 10.3%
Wooden Spoon 0.2% 7.6% 2.5% 6.9% 0.1%
  Equivalent Fair Odds
  Brumbies Force Rebels Reds Waratahs
Win Conference 2.43 35.71 12.66 43.48 2.17
Reach QF 1.44 9.80 4.15 11.76 1.38
Reach SF 2.88 19.61 8.77 23.26 2.72
Reach Final 5.38 62.50 25.64 90.91 4.95
Champions 10.20 200.00 66.67 333.33 9.71
Wooden Spoon 500.00 13.16 40.00 14.49 1000.00


Outcome Probabilities – New Zealand Conference
Source: Rugby Vision Blues Chiefs Crusaders Highlanders Hurricanes
Team Rating 97.3 103.2 106.5 107.2 106.3
Outcome Probabilities
  Blues Chiefs Crusaders Highlanders Hurricanes
Win Conference 0.4% 6.9% 34.2% 33.6% 24.9%
Reach QF 8.7% 50.4% 87.5% 87.4% 81.6%
Reach SF 4.1% 24.2% 43.6% 42.7% 40.5%
Reach Final 1.2% 10.9% 26.2% 27.0% 23.4%
Champions 0.3% 5.2% 15.2% 17.1% 13.5%
Wooden Spoon 8.1% 0.4% <0.1% <0.1% <0.1%
Equivalent Fair Odds
  Blues Chiefs Crusaders Highlanders Hurricanes
Win Conference 250.00 14.49 2.92 2.98 4.02
Reach QF 11.49 1.98 1.14 1.14 1.23
Reach SF 24.39 4.13 2.29 2.34 2.47
Reach Final 83.33 9.17 3.82 3.70 4.27
Champions 333.33 19.23 6.58 5.85 7.41
Wooden Spoon 12.35 250.00 >1000.00 >1000.00 >1000.00


Outcome Probabilities – Africa 1 Conference
Source: Rugby Vision Bulls Cheetahs Stormers Sunwolves
Team Rating 100.0 96.3 100.1 90.4
Outcome Probabilities
  Bulls Cheetahs Stormers Sunwolves
Win Conference 39.5% 11.0% 48.9% 0.7%
Reach QF 58.5% 21.8% 65.9% 1.4%
Reach SF 29.9% 10.5% 34.2% 0.8%
Reach Final 12.4% 3.2% 15.5% 0.2%
Champions 4.8% 1.0% 6.6% <0.1%
Wooden Spoon 0.4% 3.4% 0.3% 34.7%
Equivalent Fair Odds
  Bulls Cheetahs Stormers Sunwolves
Win Conference 2.53 9.09 2.04 142.86
Reach QF 1.71 4.59 1.52 71.43
Reach SF 3.34 9.52 2.92 125.00
Reach Final 8.06 31.25 6.45 500.00
Champions 20.83 100.00 15.15 >1000.00
Wooden Spoon 250.00 29.41 333.33 2.88


Outcome Probabilities – Africa 2 Conference
Source: Rugby Vision Jaguares Kings Lions Sharks
Team Rating 100.2 91.6 101.5 100.3
Outcome Probabilities
  Jaguares Kings Lions Sharks
Win Conference 26.5% 0.7% 46.9% 26.0%
Reach QF 43.9% 1.5% 63.8% 43.2%
Reach SF 22.4% 0.7% 32.2% 22.2%
Reach Final 9.3% 0.1% 15.7% 9.7%
Champions 3.7% <0.1% 6.7% 3.5%
Wooden Spoon 0.9% 33.5% 0.3% 0.7%
Equivalent Fair Odds
  Jaguares Kings Lions Sharks
Win Conference 3.77 142.86 2.13 3.85
Reach QF 2.28 66.67 1.57 2.31
Reach SF 4.46 142.86 3.11 4.50
Reach Final 10.75 1000.00 6.37 10.31
Champions 27.03 >1000.00 14.93 28.57
Wooden Spoon 111.11 2.99 333.33 142.86


Futures Tips

When weighing up any futures picks, be sure to familiarise yourself with the new tournament format, which arguably skews the odds in the South African teams’ favour. The top four seeds are given to the winners of each conference, while three more teams from the “Australasian Group” will qualify for the finals along with one side from the “South African Group”. Learn more.

Below are the current futures odds at Luxbet. You can compare the latest Super Rugby futures odds in the odds comparison section.

Luxbet Super Rugby Odds

Australian Conference

View the team-by-team Australian Conference Preview.

Given the player turnover at the Waratahs, the Brumbies are my pick to top the Australian conference, with the NSW side coming a close 2nd. There isn’t much value in the outright market for either team at the moment, however.

The Rebels seem to be moving in the right direction, with many players happy to sign on for longer-term deals. They have also recruited well from New Zealand, with former All Black Adam Thomson the latest astute signing. If there’s anyone who can disrupt the Brumbies-Wallabies two-horse race, it’s the Rebels. I expect them to remain in the playoff hunt deep into the season so they may provide a bit of value in the Top 8 market.

I’m not as optimistic about the Force, although you are getting much higher odds on them, while I’m even less optimistic about the Reds, who have gone backwards in recent years and who have lost a lot of experienced players over the off-season.

New Zealand Conference

View the team-by-team New Zealand Conference Preview.

The first thing that jumps out is that the reigning champions the Highlanders are only the 8th favourite to win the title. This contrasts with Rugby Vision, which rates the Highlanders as having the highest chance of winning the tournament, with a calculated probability of 17.1% and equivalent fair odds of 5.85. Perhaps bookmakers feel last season was an aberration, with the Highlanders benefiting from a disrupted 2015 Super Rugby season when international players were frequently rotated. My opinion lies in-between that of the bookmakers and Rugby Vision. They have retained the nucleus of last year’s squad so they should be competitive in a year where most teams have lost a lot of experience. My only concern is their lack of depth. They finished the 2015 season very close to full strength, but were hammered earlier in the season when key players were rested. If the Highlanders can stay fit then they are a genuine title chance. Any injuries will take their toll, however. At this stage I rate the Highlanders as good value at 10.00 odds with Luxbet in the winner futures market.

The Blues are my pick to have the most improved season after last year. They finished their 2015 campaign with 12 players injured and another 3 away in the U20 Championship, which decimated their season. With a new coach and some exciting young talent in the squad, the Blues could be the surprise packet of the year.

The Hurricanes look to be a bit too short to back at this stage, especially given they start the season with three tough away fixtures. I would consider laying the Hurricanes on Betfair now and look to hedge after Round 3.

The Crusaders finished 4th in the New Zealand conference last year and have lost a huge amount of experience in the off-season, so they’re another team I’m not prepared to back at this stage. Also keep in mind that the Crusaders are typically slow starters in this competition, so they are another team you might want to consider laying now and then backing later.

The Chiefs are yet another very good team in the New Zealand conference. As the second shortest favourites, they are a bit too short for me to back at this stage, especially given how the schedule and tournament structure favours the South African sides.

Africa 1 Conference

View the team-by-team Africa 1 Conference Preview.

The Bulls boast a lot of Springboks, but they already have been hit with injuries, with flyhalf Handré Pollard ruled out for the season and loose forwards Deon Stegmann and Lappies Labuschagne due to miss the first eight weeks. The upshot is they are in a relatively easy conference, with the Stormers the most likely side to deny them a quarterfinal place.

The Stormers have a new coach, which may be a good thing given their poor record in the playoffs. They’re in a weak division and the Bulls are already struggling with injuries, so the Stormers represent decent value (13.00 with Palmerbet) to win the title.

The Cheetahs were the wooden spoon recipients last year and over the last two off-seasons they have lost key talent to other South African franchises, which may signify an unhappy locker room. With Joe Pietersen and Willie le Roux the latest to jump ship, I’m not optimistic about the Cheetahs’ prospects.

The Sunwolves are the odds-on favourite to win the wooden spoon, however their fixture against the Kings could save them that embarrassment. Hopefully like Japan did in the World Cup, the Sunwolves can cause a few upsets, but I can’t see them finishing anywhere near the top half of the table.

Africa 2 Conference

View the team-by-team Africa 2 Conference Preview.

The tournament organisers must be Sharks fans, because the under-performing franchise has landed in a very winnable conference. They have looked promising in pre-season so despite fly-half Patrick Lambie being out for the first six weeks, I’m prepared to back the Sharks at 17.00 odds with Luxbet. This isn’t a bet I would sit on, however. I’ll be keeping an eye on cashing out offers throughout the season.

On paper the Jaguares look to be the strongest of the three new teams this season, with 34 capped Argentinian players in the squad. I expect them over the coming years to be a real force in this competition, but given their limp pre-season performance I expect they’ll start this season slowly. At odds below 10.00 they look to be too short in the winner futures market so I could consider laying them now at Betfair with a view to back them later at higher odds.

The Lions have been a pleasant surprise, showing that a well-coached team with good defensive structures can be more than the sum of its parts. They have far fewer internationally capped players than the Sharks and Bulls but outperformed both sides last year to finish 2nd in the South African conference. They’re much like the Highlanders, however, in that they will be hit hard if key starters get injured, which makes them a risk in futures markets. Nevertheless they are a team to keep an eye on. I’m not prepared to back them at this stage, however, because they head to New Zealand in Round 2. They might provide a bit of a value play once they are back on home soil.

On paper the Kings look to be in for a torrid season. The franchise has been hampered with financial difficulties and their first choice head coach departed after less than a month. The squad is almost entirely made up of players from the Eastern Province Kings, who finished 7th in the Currie Cup last year. They Kings are certainly worth considering for the wooden spoon market at 3.25 odds with Luxbet. Their Round 6 clash against the Sunwolves will likely have a major bearing on that outcome.


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