The following are betting tips for Round 4 of the 2021 Trans Tasman Super Rugby competition.
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, 4 June
Crusaders vs. Force
View a detailed form guide for Crusaders vs. Force
The Crusaders defeated the Waratahs 54-28 last week to stay in touch with the competition-leading Blues and Hurricanes. Having failed to pick up a bonus point in Round 1, the Crusaders’ destiny is not in their own hands but it’s reasonable to expect the Blues or Hurricanes will miss out on a bonus point at some stage, given they both have yet to play the Reds.
After two competitive home showings in which they lost by a combined 11 points, the Force ventured away from Perth for the first time and were thrashed 6-43 by the Hurricanes in Wellington. The seven tries to nil result accurately reflected the gulf between the two sides as the Force were absolutely battered.
Betting: this should simply be a case of how many points the Crusaders win by. Given the Australian teams have a habit of being competitive for the first 30-40 minutes before being blown away in the second spell, if I were to bet on this fixture I would back the Force +16.5 halftime handicap at 1.96 (Unibet).
Reds vs. Blues
View a detailed form guide for Reds vs. Blues
In a classic game of two halves last week, the Reds held on to beat the Chiefs 40-34 in Townsville after leading 33-3 at halftime. In doing so they became the first Australian side to win a Trans-Tasman clash this season. The win was the perfect tonic to their horrid 28-63 home defeat to the Crusaders the week before. The Reds have no chance of representing Australia in the final, however, given they sit 6th in the standings, 11 points behind the Blues and Hurricanes with two rounds to play.
The Blues remain at the top of the Trans-Tasman standings after they thrashed the Brumbies 38-10 in Auckland to go a perfect 3-0 with 3 bonus points and a +102 points difference. In a similar vein to their fixture against the Rebels, the Blues led by just 7 points at the break before putting on an attacking clinic in the second spell.
Betting: this is a hard fixture to predict. Which version of the Reds will we see? The first half version from last week that shredded the Chiefs? Or the version that got battered by the Highlanders, Crusaders and then in the second half by the Chiefs last week. The Blues have been slow starters this series so I will back the Reds +4.5 in the first half handicap at 1.86 (Unibet).
Saturday, 5 June
Highlanders vs. Waratahs
View a detailed form guide for Highlanders vs. Waratahs
The Highlanders defeated the Rebels 42-27 in Sydney last week after the fixture was rescheduled away from Queenstown due to the Covid outbreak in Melbourne. Crucially, a knock-on at the death cost the Highlanders a bonus point for the second time this tournament, so they will need other results to go their way if they are to make the final.
The Waratahs continued their trend of playing in high scoring defeats last week, losing 28-54 to the Crusaders in Wollongong. This was on the back of at 21-48 loss to the Blues in Round 2 and a 48-64 defeat to the Hurricanes in Round 1. Despite losing Jack Whetton to a yellow card, the Waratahs trailed by just 1 point after 30 minutes, but as we’ve seen so often this tournament, the Crusaders then pulled away for a comfortable win.
Betting: bookmakers continue to set overly conservative totals for the Waratahs’ fixtures. I would back the over if the total is set at 64.5 or below.
Brumbies vs. Hurricanes
View a detailed form guide for Brumbies vs. Hurricanes
The Brumbies have picked up just 1 bonus point from three games this competition. They started promisingly by losing by just 2 points to the Crusaders but have been off the pace since, suffering 19-40 and 10-38 defeats to the Chiefs and Blues, respectively. The Brumbies play their final two games at home as they attempt to join the Reds in having at least one result in the win column against a Kiwi side.
The Hurricanes kept pace with the Blues at the top of the standings with a bonus point 43-6 win over the Force in Wellington last week. As we’ve seen regularly this season, the scoreboard wasn’t too lopsided at 19-6 at halftime, before the Hurricanes ran riot in the second spell.
Betting: the Brumbies have been the most disappointing of the Australian sides this tournament while the Hurricanes have their tails up at the moment. I would back the Hurricanes in the head-to-head at 1.41 (Sportsbet).
Sunday, 6 June
Chiefs vs. Rebels
View a detailed form guide for Chiefs vs. Rebels
The Chiefs bounced back from trailing 3-33 at halftime and 8-40 in the second spell but ultimately fell short in their 34-40 defeat to the Reds in Brisbane last week. As the only New Zealand side to have suffered a defeat, the Chiefs now sit 5th in the standings and will require a number of other results to go their way if they are to make the final. Ill-discipline cost them the win. Chase Tiatia conceded a penalty try and a yellow card early in the first half before Damian McKenzie was red carded in the 22nd minute. At the time of writing, McKenzie is expected to be suspended for three to six weeks, pending the outcome of the Sanzaar judiciary.
The Rebels lost 27-42 to the Highlanders at Leichardt Oval in Sydney last week. The 15-point margin continues a trend in the right direction given they lost by 47 points in Round 1 and 22 points in Round 2. The Rebels led briefly at the start of the second half last week, but as in previous rounds, they fell away in the second spell.
Betting: the Rebels have a habit of competing well for a while before fading badly in the second spell. I would back the Rebels +10.5 in the halftime handicap at 1.89 (Unibet).
Best Bet of the Round
Reds +4.5 in the first half handicap at 1.86 (Unibet)