The following are betting tips for Super Rugby AU Round 10 & Aotearoa Round 9 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, 23 April
Chiefs vs. Hurricanes
View a detailed form guide for Chiefs vs. Hurricanes
The Chiefs upset the Crusaders 26-25 last week to move into second place in the Aotearoa standings with two rounds left to play. The lead changed several times before talisman Damien McKenzie secured the win with a late penalty. After enduring a horrid 11-game losing streak the Chiefs have now won four on the trot, making them the form side in New Zealand.
Prior to their bye last week the Hurricanes suffered a heart-breaking 27-30 extra-time home defeat to the Crusaders. Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea was immense in that game so it was a cruel blow that he had to leave the field with a season-ending knee injury. The result leaves them at the bottom of the standings with a 1-5 record. With two rounds left to play, the Hurricanes are well out of playoff contention.
Betting: the Hurricanes have won 4 of the last 5 meetings with the Chiefs but the hosts bring better form into this clash. The Chiefs have won 4 on the trot while the Hurricanes have lost 6 of their 7 seven. Historically fixtures between the Chiefs and Hurricanes have been close. Ten of the Chiefs last eleven wins over the Hurricanes were by 1-12 points while nine of the Hurricanes last thirteen wins were by 1-12. Given the absence of Ardie Savea I would back the Chiefs in the head-to-head at 1.52 (Sportsbet, Unibet). I also like the alternative option of backing both the Chiefs 1-12 at 3.00 (Sportsbet) and the Hurricanes 1-12 at 3.75 (Sportsbet). Those looking for more risk should simply back the Chiefs 1-12 at (Sportsbet).
Force vs. Reds
View a detailed form guide for Force vs. Reds
The Force’s destiny is in their own hands after they defeated the Waratahs 31-30 in Perth last week. They showed great composure at the death. Following a 23-phase passage of play, Domingo Miotti kicked a stoppage-time penalty to secure the dramatic victory. With one round left to play the Force currently occupy the 3rd playoff spot, but with the Rebels sitting just two points behind and who are facing the 0-7 Waratahs tomorrow, the Force will have to beat the undefeated Reds if they are to guarantee playoff rugby.
Prior to their bye last week the Reds defeated the Brumbies 24-22 in Brisbane to secure the No. 1 seed. They had to come back from 0-12 down and 13-22 down to secure the win, with James O’Connor playing a pivotal role in orchestrating the comeback. The Reds will be especially pleased to have kept the Brumbies pointless for the final 24 minutes as they completed the double over their main rival. They have locked in the first overall seed and will be playing for pride this week, knowing they have a bye in the first round of the playoffs next week.
Betting: the Reds have won 7 straight on the road and they have gone 11-1-1 away from home over the last 12 months as the away favourite. The Force meanwhile have gone 1-6 both in the head-to-head and the line as the home team. I would back the Reds in the head-to-head at 1.30 (bet365, Sportsbet).
Saturday, 24 April
Waratahs vs. Rebels
View a detailed form guide for Waratahs vs. Rebels
With the wooden spoon assured, the Waratahs will be looking to play the spoilers this week when they host the playoff-chasing Rebels. The Waratahs suffered a heart-breaking 30-31 away defeat to the Force last week to slump to 0-7 for the season. It was their second successive defeat by 2 points or fewer, so they can at least take solace from their improved competitiveness given they have previously suffered 19, 32, 34 and 51-point defeats this season.
The Rebels often rely on opposition ill-discipline to grind out wins, but last week the Brumbies did just that to them as the Rebels fell 20-26 to the visitors last week. The Brumbies fed off penalties and two yellow card infringements, with three of their four tries scored during the two sin bin periods. The nature of this contest will be heavily impacted by the Force v Reds result. If the Reds defeat the Force then the Rebels will be able to qualify for the playoffs with a win. If the Force upset the Reds on Friday, however, then the Rebels will be playing only for pride.
Betting: the Waratahs have won 8 of the last 10 at home against the Rebels, however they have lost three of the last four to the Melbourne side. Both sides are in poor form. The Waratahs have lost 7 straight while the Rebels have lost their last 3. I will simply back a close contest and back both the Waratahs 1-12 at 4.50 (Sportsbet) and the Rebels 1-12 at 3.00 (Sportsbet).
Sunday, 25 April
Crusaders vs. Blues
View a detailed form guide for Crusaders vs. Blues
The Crusaders’ slump continued with a 25-26 away defeat to the Chiefs last week. After winning each of their first four fixtures by 13+ points, the Crusaders have since lost to the Highlanders, squeaked past the Hurricanes in extra time, then lost to the Chiefs. They have a bye next week, which is the final round, so the Crusaders will be keen to finish the regular season on a winning note to secure the 1st seed. The Crusaders by my calculations are guaranteed at least the 2nd seed, but tournament finals have historically favoured the home team.
The Blues were their own worst enemy last week when they fell 29-35 to the Highlanders in Dunedin. Ill-discipline cost them badly, particularly a late red card infringement as the hosts pulled away for the win. Because the Chiefs upset the Crusaders last week the Blues’ playoff hopes are no longer in their own hands. In the worst-case scenario they would actually go into the final round already out of playoff contention. In team news, prop Alex Hodgman has picked up a three-game ban for his red card offence.
Betting: the Crusaders boast an 11-game home winning streak against the Blues and they have won 13 on the trot against the Auckland side. The Crusaders have also gone 7-1 at the line in their last 8 home games against the Blues. I would back the Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.48 (Sportsbet). Those looking for more risk should consider the Crusaders -6.5 at 1.93 (bet365).
Best Bets of the Round