The following are betting tips for selected fixtures in Round 2 of the 2023 Super Rugby season.
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To take advantage of odds before they possibly shorten, these previews are often published before the team sheets are announced. Those who are more risk-averse may prefer to wait for the squad lists before wagering.
Note that this round will be played entirely at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Crusaders vs. Highlanders
Both sides suffered demoralising home losses last weekend but the Highlanders’ 40-point defeat was the worst of the two. To put their 60 points conceded into context, their worst defensive performance in 2022 saw them concede 35 points. In the last eleven years of data I have at hand, the Highlanders had only got close to this total once, back in 2015, when they rotated out their key players late in the season and conceded 56. Needless to say, it has been an inauspicious start for new head coach Clarke Dermody. Last year the Crusaders had a better win-loss record on the back of a defeat (3-0 H2H, 2-1 line) than on the back of a win (9-4 H2H, 4-9 line). This doesn’t bode well for the Highlanders, who were better on the back of a win (2-2 H2H, 3-1 line) than a defeat (2-8 H2H, 3-7 line). Last season the Crusaders followed up their defeats with 15, 25 and 38-point wins. In team news, All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith won’t feature for the Highlanders due to his scheduled rest for the first two rounds. Sam Whitelock may return for the Crusaders if he can pass a midweek concussion test.
I would back the Crusaders in the head-to-head at 1.14 (BoomBet). Given that 14 of the Highlanders’ last 20 defeats to the Crusaders were by 13+ points, those looking for more risk should consider the Crusaders 13+ at 1.80 (bet365).
Rebels vs. Hurricanes
The Hurricanes have won nine consecutive games against the Rebels and the Wellington side’s 47-13 win over the Reds in Queensland last week is an ominous sign for the Melbourne side. Six of the Hurricanes’ last seven wins over the Rebels were by 22+ points. The Hurricanes have covered the line in each of their last three visits to Melbourne.
I would back the Hurricanes in the head-to-head at 1.17 (Colossalbet). Those looking for more risk should consider the Hurricanes 13+ at 1.82 (Unibet).
Drua vs. Waratahs
The Drua will be a real handful on Fijian soil this season so the Waratahs should consider themselves lucky that this ‘home’ game for the Drua is being played in Melbourne. The Waratahs won their two fixtures against the Drua last season by 40-10 and 38-14 scorelines and they should be too strong again. The Waratahs have gone 5-1 as the favourite over the last twelve months while the Drua have gone 1-10 as the underdog.
I would back the Waratahs in the head-to-head at 1.38 (BoomBet). Those looking for more risk should consider the Waratahs -7.5 at 1.93 (BoomBet).