The following are betting tips for Super Rugby AU Round 4 & Aotearoa Round 3 for the 2021 season.
To take advantage of odds before they possibly shorten, these previews are published before the team sheets are announced. Those who are more risk-averse may prefer to wait for the squad lists before wagering.
Friday, 12 March
Force vs. Rebels
View a detailed form guide for Force vs. Rebels
The Force picked up their first Super Rugby AU win with a deserved 20-16 victory over the Waratahs in Sydney last week. They trailed 0-13 early on before fighting back to 10-13 at halftime. The Force then won the second half 10-3. One sour note was the red card to hooker Andrew Ready for throwing a punch in the second half. He has received a three-week suspension. The Force will be pleased to have finished off the Waratahs despite finishing with 14 men for the final 15 minutes, but it wasn’t a performance that would have beaten the other franchises.
The Rebels are 0-2 for the season after completing the two most difficult fixtures on the calendar: away to the Reds and away to the Brumbies. The Melbourne side were remarkably competitive in both contests. The Rebels lost 21-23 to the Reds after Matt To’omua missed a last-gasp 42-metre penalty which narrowly missed the posts. They then fell 24-27 to the Brumbies after the hosts nailed a 55-metre penalty in stoppage time. In both contests the hosts went down to 14 men due to red card infringements but the Rebels couldn’t capitalise. They will be pleased with their competitiveness on the scoreboard, but the Rebels’ inability to threaten the try line is a concern. All of their points so far this season have come from penalties drawn from ill-discipline by opponents. Matt To’omua went 8 from 8 last week. If they can add a few tries to complement his sharp shooting they will be in business.
Betting: the Force have lost nine of their last ten games while the Rebels have lost five of their last six. Of the two struggling sides, I’m siding with the Rebels. They have played the two toughest fixtures in the competition in the Reds away and Brumbies away and lost by just 2 and 3 points, respectively. The Force, in comparison, were beaten by 16 points by the Brumbies at home. I would back the Rebels in the head-to-head at 1.66 (BlueBet).
Saturday, 13 March
Crusaders vs. Chiefs
View a detailed form guide for Crusaders vs. Chiefs
The Crusaders moved to 2-0 for the season with a dominant 33-16 win over the Hurricanes in Christchurch. They led 33-6 at one stage before the Hurricanes scored two tries to add some respectability to the scoreline. Once again the Crusaders look to be the team to beat.
The Chiefs’ wait for an elusive Aotearoa win continues after they fell 23-39 at home to the Highlanders last week. They are now 0-9 in this competition and it extends their losing streak to ten. The Chiefs dominated most of the first half against the Highlanders, leading 20-6 at one stage, before the southern side dominated the remainder of the game, scoring three tries in the space of 10 minutes. On paper that was one the Chiefs’ easiest fixtures of the season, which won’t help morale.
Betting: the Crusaders beat both the Highlanders and Hurricanes by 13+ points and five of their last six wins over the Chiefs were by 13+, so I will back the Crusaders 13+ at 1.70 (bet365).
Brumbies vs. Reds
View a detailed form guide for Brumbies vs. Reds
The Brumbies moved to 3-0 for the season after substitute Ryan Lonergan nailed a 55-metre penalty in stoppage time to beat the Rebels 27-24 in Canberra. Ill-discipline almost undid the Brumbies’ cause. They conceded 24 points from penalties and prop Allan Alaalatoa received a red card with 30 minutes still to play. He has received a three-week suspension for his high shot. Another piece of bad news is hooker Connal McInerney has likely picked up a season-ending ankle injury. Thankfully, Folau Fainga’a is due to return from a troublesome toe problem, but the Brumbies would be sweating if Fainga’a gets sidelined again.
Prior to their bye last week the Reds defeated the Rebels 23-21 at home to move to 2-0 for the season. Much like the Brumbies’ fixtures against the Rebels, poor discipline almost undid the Queenslanders’ cause with all of the Rebels’ points coming from penalties. The Reds had to play with 14 men after Feao Fotuaika picked up a red yard with 20 minutes to go and they breathed a sigh of relief as the Rebels narrowly missed a penalty kick at the death. Handling errors were also an issue as the Reds coughed up possession when in good positions. After such an easy win against the Waratahs, the tight result against the Rebels should have knocked any complacency out of the side ahead of their intriguing clash with the Brumbies. In team news the Reds continue to strengthen. Hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa is close to returning from injury while fellow Wallaby Lukhan Salakaia-Loto has finished his three-match suspension.
Betting: the venue for this clash is crucial. The Brumbies have gone 8-0 at home over the last 12 months while the Reds have gone 1-1-3 away (compared to 8-0 at home). The Brumbies also boast an 8-game home winning streak over the Reds. All three of the Brumbies home wins over the Reds in 2020 were by five points or fewer, however. I would back the Reds +5.5 at 1.84 (Sportsbet). I also like the idea of pairing the Brumbies 1-12 at 2.75 (Unibet) with the Reds 1-12 at 3.60 (Sportsbet).
Sunday, 14 March
Blues vs. Highlanders
View a detailed form guide for Blues vs. Highlanders
Prior to their bye last week the Blues commenced their campaign with a 31-16 win over the Hurricanes in Wellington. The scores were 21-16 until the 75th minute before the Blues pulled away with a late converted try and a penalty. It was the Blues’ 10th win in 12 games as they continue to cement themselves as New Zealand’s biggest challenger to the all-conquering Crusaders.
In a game of two halves the Highlanders beat the Chiefs 39-23 in Hamilton last week to move to 1-1 for the season. The Highlanders received back-to-back yellow cards in the first half as the Chiefs dominated to lead 20-11 at halftime. The Highlanders then outscored the hosts 28-3 in the second half with Jona Nareki picking up a hat-trick and the promising backup halfback Folau Fakatava also scoring. The Highlanders will be pleased with the win but will hope they don’t see a repeat of their first half disciplinary issues.
Betting: the Blues have gone 3-0 at home over the last 12 months while the Highlanders have gone 5-0 at the line away from home. All three of the Blues’ home wins over the last 12 months were by 1-12 points while the Highlanders only lost once by 13+. I would back the Blues in the head-to-head at 1.39 (BlueBet). For looking for more risk I recommend the Blues 1-12 at 2.88 (Sportsbet).
Best Bets of the Round