Friday night Rugby Betting Report

Rabodirect Pro12 Result – Ulster 18 Glasgow 10

A bit of a nothing game this- Glasgow got it back to within five minutes with 15 to go then stupidly threw the ball away in a promising attack on the Ulster 10 metre line, 5 minutes from time. The game was very much in the balance until the 44th minute but Glasgow were far too predictable in attack. Gilroy spotted the telegraphed pass, intercepted, and scored at the other end. Glasgow had no lineout all game and had to go long to secure ball and they had a yellow card given against them that didnt help matters in the first half.

The Ulster pack were impressive enough, with Jared Payne doing well in the backline. You couldn’t see them winning anything this year, but you never know. Glasgow seem to be missing former coach Lineen more than we thought they would, and we’ll need to see Ulster play better opposition before we see where they are. They have injuries to come back though, so maybe things look a bit brighter for Ulster than they initially did to us.

One note for our tipped first tryscorer pick Nick WIlliams-he was everywhere for the fist 40 minutes, playing more actual rugby tonight that he did for the entire season last year for Aironi! Unfortunately for us, he was over the try line in the first half but dropped the ball and knocked on.

Booh!

(Nick Williams was everywhere for the fist 40 minutes- he played more rugby tonight that he did for the entire season last year for Aironi!)

Rabodirect Pro12 Result – Treviso 12, Ospreys 6

It’s very easy to moan about officials when a punt doesn’t go your way……….. and it was even easier tonight watching this game! The rain came down in this one, and it really wasn’t the Ospreys night. Treviso scored all of their points in the first half with a good wind behind them, while the Ospreys knocked on countless times all game. The refereeing was questionable (as predicted) by Lacy and the three Italian officials, especially after they reduced the Ospreys to 14 men after thirty odd minutes after a second yellow card for Evans. The first one was a bit harsh, and the second was definitely a tough call.

Still, you felt the Ospreys were still in it and amazingly Biggar missed three easy enough kicks that in the second half. He missed them by a fair bit aswell, it was quite..er, strange. The Ospreys butchered two or three try chances in wave after wave of rusty attack as they played all the rugby (Biggar the culprit again in one cock-up for a silly inside pass when the outside ball was the pass). The Ospreys also had one effort go to the Italian TMO. He was over the line but you couldn’t see it on the replay. No surprise it wasn’t given really.

When it’s not your night, it’s not your night.

The Dragons hammered Zebre, as we said probably one to swerve, and glad we did. (though we were still leaning towards Zebre +12). Long season ahead for Zebre if that Dragons side was hammering them.

Grenoble beat Stade Francais 26-12 to complete the night for us, beating the tipped handicap well and giving us one win from three on our main bets. We didn’t see much of the game, but what we did see was Stade Francais lacking any real bite and being turned over in attack by a fired up home team backed by a hostile crowd. We had a long look at the 1-12 just before kick off to supplement our main bet, and we’re glad we left it alone and listened to our own advice – as mentioned, you couldn’t back Stade Francais to ever keep it close away from home as they tend to lose the head and get frustrated.

There were a few contributors over on the forum who were on both Treviso and Ulster so congrats and kudos to them.

Premiership Rugby Rd 1 Betting Preview

Premiership rugby is finally back this weekend. There’s only three fixtures that are televised, so we’ll cover them here and discuss the rest over in the forum. Opening weekends are always to be approached with an element of caution. But the bookies are often in the dark as much as we are for the first few rounds, and it takes a few weeks for their odds models to kick into something approaching optimum for them. In recent seasons, there has been a tendency for home wins in the opening round of Premiership rugby, except most recently in 2008/09 when there were fourh away wins.

Fixtures
Saturday, 1 September 2012, Aviva Premiership Rugby

Wasps v Harlequins, 14:00
Exeter v Sale, 15:00
Gloucester v Northampton, 15:00
Worcester v Bath, 15:00
Saracens v London Irish, 16:30
Sunday 2 September, Aviva Premiership Rugby
London Welsh v Leicester, 14:00

Wasps v Quins, 2pm GMT, ESPN

(Wasps 5/2 Sportingbet, +6 PaddyPower) v Quins(5/11, -5 Williamhill, Betfred)
Wasps had a great start to last season before they almost slid into oblivion- beating Saracens away on the first day and following that up with a win at home against Leicester Tigers, before losing at home in round three to Sale. The world cup did of course have an impact on the start of last season, but Wasps had a good start to the season before that too, drawing with Quins on the opening day, and following that up with a win at home against Leicester in round three. With alot of new faces in the side, Wasps probably deserve a small bit of respect this weekend- at least a small bit more than most will be willing to give them after last season.

If you look at their side, they’ve a back line that will score tries, and kick points, with Elliot Daly at outiside centre well able to kick from inside his own half. Wade is in for a big season and George Lowe will have a tough time keeping tabs on him tomorrow. Andrea Masi, the scourge of France in 2011 is powerful and dynamic, and while not at full back, he’ll be abrasive and well able to handle Turner-hall and Hopper. The back row will be competitive with the big lads Poff and Vunipola, and ‘the brand’ Haskell at six. Haskell gets alot of stick but watching him in the Super 15 last year, he was pretty good whenever we seen him play, always doing the basics well and making the gainline.

Looking at the Champions Quins, they pretty much have a full team out and there’s no doubt that they are favourites for this game. Nick Evans is at ten and he and Care should keep things ticking over to get them the win. But will they beat the handicap? Looking back to last season, there were numerous occasions, particularly in the second half of he season, where Quins didn’t beat the handicap even at home. They didn’t seem to be fulfilling their full potential, often having problems scoring tries. Away from home here, against a Wasps side with a good opening day record and a rejuvenating influx of new blood, backing Quins to do more than win by six is a bit more risky than it looks on first glance. Wasps will want something from this huge game for their future, and they’ll go after the bonus point even if the win is beyond them.

The safer bet here is probably Quins 1-12 at 17/10 in paddypower. It’s 6/4 elsewhere. Going on Conor O Shea’s attitude last year, where the primary goal was to secure the win, and their failure put away weaker teams convincingly, this is our main bet for this game.

Saracens v London Irish, 2pm GMT, ESPN

(Saracens, -8 10/11 Bet365) v London Irish( +10 4/5 Coral)
Homer Wayne Barnes is reffing this match tomorrow so straight off Saracens should get a boost from that. They’ve named a strong enough side considering the amount of injuries that they have, and the over-riding thought looking at their squad is that if they can get all of their missing players fit they’ll be serious dark horse contenders for the heineken cup this season. They’re our favourites for the Premiership title, despite the fact the bookies have Leicester installed in that position for now.

The wide for Saturday is solid looking, and has serious try scoring abilty with Ashton on the right wing and Joel Tomkins at outside centre. Tomkins scored a few tries in the JP Morgan Rugby sevens tournament a few weeks ago, and him starting today is great for his target of breaking into the England set-up. He has a great offload which could see him putting Ashton away when space opens up tomorrow. Farrell was injured during the week and Hodgson starts- which is probably a good thing for Saracens-backers, as Ashton, Tomkins and the rest of the Sarries back-line should get some quality ball passed out to them. Farrell has taken a step back in his development since May of last year, and his passing has been truly abysmal. The Sarries pack is solid if uninspiring, but Botha in the second row will give alot of go-forward.

Alot is being made of the stellar-looking London Irish backline for this game, but upon further examination, the cracks start to appear. Tagicakibau is not an inside centre and Barritt and Tomkins will be heading straight for him in atack. This should drag in more defenders and Ashton should be able to profit along with Goode. Marlon Yarde is a prospect, but he seems to only know one way, and it isn’t backwards. He has a big future but he’s up against the arch finisher in Ashton, who’s set for a big season. O’Leary at nine will have a tough time of if tomorrow. You hope for his sake that he rediscovers his form for Ireland and Munster before that big injury. Since that happened he has been on the wane, which is a shame because he was fast becoming one of the best scrumhalf’s around, and was always a brick-wall in defence – one memorable game-saving tackle in the heineken cup a few years back against Clermont stands out. But to get back on point here; his pass has suffered aswell and it’ll effect any quick ball the London Irish outside backs will get.

London Irish are fragile at the best of times, and once Saracens are in a try-scoring mood they should be able to put a decent score up if they target London Irish flaws. Once Hodgson has his kicking boots on they shold beat that handicap and then some(he didn’t have his kicking boots on in South Africa- he missed 6 out of seven kicks in one midweek club challenge match in June…but maybe he had been out the night before).
Verdict; Sarries -8 in paddypower (and elsewhere)

Regarding the other games, there’s plenty of discussion over on the forum if you’d like to contribute.

Quick reactions are that Gloucester and Northampton is a difficult game to call with so many new faces on both sides and too even looking teams. If the sun holds out, Gloucester’s backs could do damage and play some nice rugby. Saints pack looks strong though.

Bath v Worcester looks a prospect for a Bath win. You’d be concerned about Barkley at ten despite his ability to kick goals, and Biggs and Abendanon should have an impact if Dan Hipkiss has learned to pass over the summer. It looks like a side that could fall apart though if Worcester out their head down and play ugly ball with Goode kicking the pens from distance. Maybe a 1-12 for Worcester on the cards there then.

Exeter v Sale is not one to bet the house on but the Exeter 1-12 looks a better punt that the -3. Exter don’t do bags of tries, but they do home wins. You’d expect a bit of rustiness even after the win at Glasgow last week. Sale deserve abit of respect after a sixth place finish last season, and Richie Gray and Tom Hayes would have been a great battle to watch in the lineout had this been televised.

Good luck all.

Don’t forget to head over to our new Rugby Betting community to join the discussion and contribute. There’s already plenty of discussion and winning rugby tips! All are welcome, you can choose your own team/country crest, and everyone’s views will help to build up a good picture on individual games.

TOP14 Rugby Betting, Round three

TOP14 Rugby Betting is back this Friday night, and the abnormally hot weather has receeded to normality across the country with temperatures hanging around the 20 degree mark in most places.
 

Fixtures; All times GMT

Fri31/8 19:50 Grenoble v Stade Français
Sat01/9 14:00 Biarritz v Stade Toulousain
– 17:30 Castres v Aviron Bayonnais
– 17:30 Clermont v Usap
– 17:30 Montpellier v SU Agen
– 17:30 Racing Métro v Union Bordeaux-Bègles
– 19:40 Mont-de-Marsan v Rugby Club Toulonnais

Top14 Rugby Betting Grenoble v , Stade Francais 7.50pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Grenoble(-1 10/11 BlueSquare), (+2 10/11 Boylesports)

Grenoble come into this game having rested a good wedge of their best players for last week’s plucky display away to Castres. The previous week they defied expectations and went and beat Bordeaux Begles away from home so they’ve definitely got something going for them.

Stade Francais on the other hand lost last week in a disjointed display that continued their poor away form of last season. They’ve a few injuries this week, and some players still away at the Rugby Championship. They have a decent (albeit shallow) looking side out with Contepomi back at ten, but you couldn’t back them away from home, especially with this being Grenoble’s first home game since coming up from the Pro D2. It’ll be a hostile atmosphere, and Stade Francais wouldn’t be one of those sides that withstand pressure well.

Grenoble at best -1 10/11 in Bluesquare and skybet looks the bet – you couldn’t back the 1-12 because it’s Stade Francais, and though unlikely, you can’t relaly count on them not throwing in the towel.

Top14 Rugby Betting, Biarritz v Toulouse, Sat 14.00pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Biarritz(-1 10/11 BlueSquare), Toulouse (+3 10/11 Boylesports)

We took a second look at this when we first saw it, thinking they had got the handicaps the wrong way around. But they’ve stayed the same so Biarritz are indeed favourites.

It looks like a bit of an over reaction to both of Toulouse’s recent midlding wins. Yes, they were bad, but it was the start of the season and they have arguably the best squad in Europe. They won last week in the last quarter against Montois, who they no doubt expected to Marsan to lay down and die trembling in stade Toulousain, and were shocked at the fight they put up. Before that they won by a point at home to a good Castres side, coming from behind in the last ten minutes to win it. But they never looked out of control in that game and you always felt they would win.

Biarritz on the other hand had a bonus point win at home to that same Montois side in week one. They almost lost that bonus pooint and needed a try on the hooter in order to get the bonus point, having conceded a try to 13 men 5 minutes from full time (scoring three more tries than their opposition gets you a bonus in the TOP14 FYI). Last week, Biarritz beat an Agen side that were desperately bad the week before, and have very little creative spark. They’ve also lost Yachvilli two weeks ago.

The Toulouse +3 only in Boylesports, (and even if it moves into +2), is our firm pick here.

Top14 Rugby Betting Clermont v Montpellier, 17.30pm GMT, Setanta Sports, Canal +

Clermont (-14 10/11 Paddypower), Perpignan (+14 10/11 Paddypower)

Every bookie is in agreement on this game with all of them locked on +/- 14 each way. It seems a bit too generous to Perpignan considering they were unlucky in both of their opening games. They lost at home to a battle hardened Toulon side but were very close to getting a try in the last ten minutes. There were huge cries from Perpignan about the refereeing performance after that game and in our opinion they were slightly merited.

Follow that with last weekend’s game at Bordeaux that they lost by four points. They stopped playing for the thrid quarter of the game, and they had countless knock-ons when attacking throughout the 80 minutes. We had tipped them to stay inside the +3 handicap and they should have actually won the game – under-utilising alot of time in the Bordeaux 22 in the final quarter. An odd refereeing decision gave a penalty and a yellow card against them in the last 5 minutes while they were camped in the Bordeaux 22 on their 5 metre line. This yellow came despite the perpignan eight man scrum being up against the seven man Bordeaux scrum (down one from an earlier yellow). The point here is that Perpignan could understandably viewed as slightly unlucky to have two losses on the board instead of two wins.

They meet a Clermont side that lost away last week to an average Montpellier side. That game laid bare the current stretched nature of the Clermont squad. They have a huge number of players injured, particularly in the pack. Their back-line looks good, and it could definitely do some damage this weekend, but we’d be leaning towards Perpignan on the +14. It all depends on whether they believe in themselves, but there’s actually a real opportunity for them to get a win here if they play their cards right and someone takes up the leadership role on their side.

Perpignan +14 at 10/11 is our pick here, based on Perpignan’s bad luck and CLermont’s extremely stretched squad.

Edit: As VOnzipper was good enoguh to point out in the forum, Hook and Marty have been left out for Perpginan, and it’s unclear who will kick for them with Hook out and him kicking all of their points so far. Questionable whether Perpignan are such a good pick anymore, but if you’re already on them don’t fret too much- Clermont are bringing rusty players back into the rotation and are still down alot to injury.

We’re gong to leave the other games alone as nothing appeals on the handicaps. Montpellier play a bad Agen side, but they’re average enough themselves so you wouldn’t know which way the 14 point handicap would go. Racing Metro at home couldn’t be counted on to beat a 14 point handicap against a Bordeaux side that could turn up after losing at home to Grenoble in round one. No handicap bets on these for us, but we’ll find something to bet on in the Betting Forum no doubt.

We’ll take a look at the Saturday night game of Montois at home to Toulon when we see what kind of team they both look like putting out.

Don’t forget to head over to our new Rugby Betting community to join the discussion and contribute. All are welcome, you can choose your own team/country crest, and everyone’s views will help to build up a good picture on individual games.

Rabodirect Pro12 Betting – Round One

RaboDirect PRO12 Fixtures

Saturday, 1 Sep 2012

Friday night turned out to be a bit of a damp squib for us as far as the Rabo Pro12 rugby was concerned, with Glasgow falling just outside the handicap, and the Ospreys unable to score in the second half – missing penalties and over-elaborating a fair few tryscoring chances. Friday nights can often be a frustrating time in Rabo rugby, so we’ll take it on the chin and look forward to Saturday’s games.

Rabo Pro12 Rugby Betting – Connacht v Cardiff, 4:30pm GMT

There’s been money coming for Connacht since the teams came out on Thursday, especially in Ireland it seems, with Paddypower moving the handicap from Connacht +3 to Connacht -2! A huge swing indeed.

The reasons? The bookies probably initially looked at Cardiff’s win over in Galway last season by 26-20, took into account a few injuries and international absentees for Cardiff, and set it at -3 (probably a bit more sophisticated than mind you…). But there are a raft of injuries at Cardiff and they’re stretched to the limit. They’re playing most of their second team, and ther first team is nothing to shout about right now either with morale in the club at a low, with budget cutbacks and falling supporter spend numbers hitting the famous club hard. They have only four props available out of nine apparently, which means two of their front rowers are going to have to last the eighty minutes. They’re playing a ten at 12, and they have alot of inexperience taking the field tomorrow. Contrast tomorrow’s team with the team from last year’s win and you’ll see a big difference. Even taking away Welsh internationals like Halfpenny, Cuthbert and Roberts, players gone or injured from that day include the likes of Lualua, Zavier Rush, Paul Tito, Czjekai, Parks, Richie Rees, and Molitika.

Connacht have some inexperience themselves, with the likes of Junior world cup star Marmion starting at 9, but for the most part they’re fit and it’s the first team rotation. Connacht made big strides last season and there’s still big value available for them here. Betfred still have Connacht available for the straight win at evens (4/6 in paddypower) and you can even still get them at +1 at 10/11 in Betfred to negate the draw. There’s some windy rain forecast for this game in Galway tomorrow and you have to wonder if Cardiff will be arsed at all with the amount of excuses they have if they lose. You could take an extra gamble on the half/time full time aswell in Betfred- Connacht/connacht is 2/1. (closest elsewhere is 7/4 in stanjames, 8/5 in Paddypower, and as low as 5/4 in Ladbrokes). If Connacht get the toss they’ll probably take the wind in the first half, and you wouldn’t fancy the Cardiff bench to help claw things back if they go behind. A 50/50 for 2/1? Not quite, but close enough and still value.

Rabo Pro12 Rugby Betting – Scarlets v Leinster, 6:30pm GMT

Leinster travel to the Parc Y Scarlets with a threadbare side and a bench full of academy players. Smart punters were on the Scarlets +3 available on Thursday that has long since vanished. The best you can get now is -2 in Stanjames, and Leinster + 5 in Ladbrokes. Leinster are defintely missing big names, but the starting 15 is all good quality, Nacewa is at full back and won’t let anyone down, Madigan is no novice anymore at ten, and Jennings should be able to steer the youngsters in the right direction. Strauss and Van Der Merwe in the front row are class acts. In general some people seem to be glossing over the real quality in the Leinster 15 tomorrow.

It’s very tempting to follow the crowd and back the Scarlets with North and Davies and a full side, to go and beat the handicap well. But a couple of things are making us swerve this game. The Scarlets are anything but consistent, and were rubbish towards the tail end of last season when they had the playoffs at their mercy but bottled it. They may see this as a real chance to put one over on the current Heineken cup champs and increase their own profile a bit. But Leinster will turn up, and the 43-0 defeat to Northampton in a second side warm-up last week was just the kind of thing they needed to make them aware of that possibility this week.

We’re also uneasy about the distance the handicap has moved in Scarlets favour. Whenever this happens the bookies usually, miraculously find some way out of their liabilities. Our spidey senses are tingling big time;

Rugby Betting Spidey sense tingle reason 1. Nigel Whitehouse is in the TMO box, and whenever we see that happening in Parc Y Scarlets, we think twice about a bet. Anyone who saw London Irish v Scarlets in the Anglo-Welsh cup last year will know what we’re talking about. Logic tends to disappear and all sorts of oddities are occurring. Maybe he’s just really good and us mere mortals can’t see some of the things he does. Who knows…

Rugby betting Spidey sense tingle reason 2 The handicap has swung massively and the bookies are all carrying huge liabilities on the Scarlets. It wouldn’t surprise us in the slightest if the handicap somehow landed right on -2/3 or 4 to get a large wedge back for them. Funnily enough in that London Irish game at Scarlets mentioned above, the handicap had a big swing too, going from London Irish +5 all the way into London Irish at evens and -1. London Irish lost that game by eight after all sorts of oddness that even Nigel Owens was shaking his head at.

Rugby Betting Spidey senses tingling reason 3. Neil Patterson is refereeing the game…dear God no…NO!

So to summarise that’s- Whitehouse TMO (check), Bookies big liabilities (check), Neil Paterson refereeing (check)…….hmmmm

Oh no…

 

That can only mean……wait!….no?!

 

NO!!!

 

Rugby  Betting picture

It’s the betting equivalent of the Bermuda triangle!!

Run for the hills!!

No time for the Children!!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(When you get back from the hills, head on over over to the rugby betting Forum for the Munster game picks- we can’t make our mind up…)
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(Friday Night’s rugby betting previews)

The Rabodirect Pro12 gives us the first games to bet on for this busy weekend of European club rugby, and having the early Friday kick-offs back again is a welcome change as the days get shorter. It’s always wise to keep your powder fairly dry for a few games at the start of the season, but we’ve picked through the six games this weekend and found a few prospects. Don’t pay too much attention to past opening day results for the Celtic league. In our experience of the Rabo you have to analyse each game on it’s own betting merits, with historical results and form coming a close second.

RaboDirect PRO12 Fixtures
Friday, 31 August 2012
Newport-Gwent D’gons v Zebre, 19:00
Treviso v Ospreys, 19:05
Ulster v Glasgow, 19:05

Saturday, 1 September 2012
Connacht v Cardiff Blues, 17:00
Scarlets v Leinster, 18:30
Edinburgh v Munster, 20:00

Rabodirect Pro12 Betting Dragons v Zebre, 7pm GMT

Dragons (-9 10/11 PaddyPower) v Zebre (+11 10/11 Ladbrokes)

This game is obviously quite a tough one to call, but looking at the team lineups we think the +11 available on Zebre is probably the lesser of two evils. Yes they’re a new team, but they have a fair few Italian internationals in their side from the Aironi leftovers, and a decent and experienced enough looking backline. The likes of Sinoti Sinoti (so good they named him twice) and Venditti are well able to score tries. They’ve a few injuries but so do the Dragons; notably they’ve no recognised seven. Zebre are no doubt aware that they need to make a strong statement in their first game of season, and what easier way to do that than away to the Dragons?

The Dragon’s will more than likely be dodging wooden spoon honours this year. If you look at ther side they have Lydiate and Faletau, but precious little else. They lost the likes of Aled Brew and a few others, and while they weren’t world beaters, they were journeymen who conributed to a difficult cause. They have a ten that couldn’t kick snow off a rope last season in Steffon Jones, and you’d hope for his sake that they’ve given him some personal attention in the off season. And because of their defensive frailties you don’t even get to see much of Faleteau on the charge because he’s too tired from making tackles (pretty much the way Wales use him).

This game could go either way, especially with George Clancy manning the whistle, but if you must have a punt the +11 in Ladbrokes is the way to go.

Rabodirect Pro12 Betting Dragons v Zebre, 7pm GMT, BBC

Ulster (-3 10/11 Stanjames) v Glasgow (+5 Bet365 10/11)

Similar to the Dragons game, there’s quite a big discrepancy with the bookies in the best handicap prices for this game, as you can see above. Ulster have very importantly lost Wannenberg to Castres this seaons, and he’ll be a big miss. They’ve also got a brand new centre partnership, and a fragile Paddy jackson at outhalf. Nick Williams is among two debutants in the back row. All in all a green looking Ulster team then.

Contrast that with Glasgow’s side and the +5 on Glasgow becomes more appealing. This is the guts of the side that came quite close to beating Leinster in the Rabo Semi-final last year. They’re missing Richie Gray who is gone to Sale, but Gray was hyped up far more than his worth last season. Few things really stand out in my mind about him from last season, except when standing up an evasive Rob Kearney (who can blame him!) in the six nations. They were winning away all last season, and are a gritty and determined outfit. They’ve an excellent backrow, with a star of the future in Harley by our reckoning. And they’ve a better looking bench to deal with the bad weather that is forecast for tomorrow evening.

The +5 on Glasgow in Bet365 looks the way to go; we couldn’t back Ulster this early on with such a green looking side. If you fancy something exotic, Nick Williams is 4/1 anytime tryscorer, and 18/1 first tryscorer in Skybet. Williams doesn’t do much, but if Ulster get a five metre scrum you can be sure he’ll be sniffing out the tryline for his weekly five minutes of actual rugby play!

Rabodirect Pro12 Betting Treviso v ospreys, 805pm GMT, BBC2

Dragons (+4 5/6 Stanjames) v ospreys (-2 10/11 Paddypower)

One thing struck me about this game more than anything- John Lacey from Ireland is refereeing, and he’s usually decent enough for the home team. The two touch judges are Italian, and so is the TMO. Advantage, Treviso? Quite possibly.

Right, now that’s out of the way, we’ll look at the Ospreys. Missing a few internationals (most notably Tipuric, who’s made of glass it seems), they still field a very strong looking side that is well capable of an opening day win. The only thing that should give Osprey-backers pause is the quality Treviso back-row of Zanni, Barbieri and to a lesser extent Favaro. These three, along with other international scattered through the team, will keep Treviso competitive.

It’s due to rain for this game, and this, combined with the heavy looking Treviso bench sould prevent any run-away resluts for the Ospreys. It’s a game they should win, but I wouldn’t be confident backing them on the -2. If they win ( and they should) it won’t be by more than 12 points.

This one should be tight, but the Ospreys should be able to just nick it as they did on tough away encounters on a number of occasions last season. he 1-12 winning margin at 6/4 in ladbrokes and paddypower takes away the 1 and 2 point Ospreys win that would scupper the handicap pick. There’s 15/8 available for Treviso 1-12 in Ladbrokes, and we wouldn’t put anyone off it despite the above. Treviso will be really fired up and the officials should all give them the 50/50’s.

Don’t forget to head over to our new Rugby Betting Forum to join the discussion and contribute.

More to follow

Rugby betting Weekend Review

Rugby Betting Review

 
 
 
 

Top 14 Results

SU Agen 19 – 25 Biarritz Olympique
Aviron Bayonnais 24 – 11 Stade Français
Castres Olympique 30 – 13 Grenoble
Montpellier Rugby 13 – 8 ASM Clermont
Stade Toulousain 37 – 22 Mont-de-Marsan
Racing Métro 92 21 – 23 Rugby Club Toulonnais
Union Bordeaux-Bègles 26 – 22 USAP

Rugby Championship results

New Zealand 22 – 0 Australia
Argentina 16 – 16 South Africa

TOP14 rugby betting review – Bordeaux v Perpignan, Racing Metro v Toulon, Montpellier v Clermont

Betting Picks; Perpignan +3 10/11, Toulon +4 10/11, Clermont +4 10/11

Perpignan were very disappointing on Friday night, just falling outside the +3 handicap. Anyone watching the game would have saw the complete lack of commitment at times from them, and yet they still should have won. We had them +3, and they lost 26-22. The man we singled out last week- Henry Tuilagi- started on Friday, having only come on as a replacement the previous week. He must have dropped about 8 knock-ons in attacking positions. Definitely an impact sub from now on (or at least he should be..). Perpignan stopped playing in the second half, but still managed to claw it back to 26-22 with ten minutes to go.

With Bordeaux reduced to 14 men on 74 minutes Hook could have converted an easy penalty to take it within one point. They didn’t though, and pushed for the try. Not only did it not happen, but the unthinkable happened next. With Bordeaux on their five yard line, and seven in their scrum to Perpignan’s eight, the referee gave Bordeaux a penalty, and yellow carded the Perpignan loose head! Even the French were saying it was incredible on commentary. France can be a strange place. One of the things we noticed on Friday was the distinct lack of real leadership in their side, and you can see them being on the end of some real hammerings this season when they fall apart.

Toulon did the needful and won this game for us, as well as surpass their handicap by 6 points, winning 23-21. Both the win and handicap we tipped earlier in the week came in (see bottom of this rugby betting review from last week). Both Toulon and Clermont did indeed shorten in paddypower into +2 from +4 as predicted in that preview. Despite this game often becoming a slug-fest, there were a couple of exquisite tries that I would urge you to get your hands on (we’ll be adding video highlights soon on dropkickrugby, so next time this happens we’ll hopefully have a link ready as soon as weekends are over). Toulon fought back from 8 points down in the second half, and their greater experience and bench quality shone through.

There’s more whinging over Toulon and the referee in France this week- but take no notice- Toulon look more determined than ever this season. They’ll throw a half arsed attempt at the Heineken cup, but there’s no question that they mean to top the league this season and win the Top14 title after last year’s massive disappointment in the final that they had won but for a spilled pass. Most bookmakers have them as third favourites, but I make them joint top with Toulouse. And anyone watching Clermont and Toulouse the past two weeks will have them as favourites. The biggest you can get them at is 13/4 with Youwin (they’re 5/2 elsewhere) possibly not the worst long term investment for the season.

We didn’t see much of the Clermont game- all the streams were down but for one rabid Castres supporter who was kind enough to switch back and forth between the games. They, like Perpignan were just one point outside the handicap we picked for the game, and truth be told we were rather unfortunate to not get the win here. First, the Montpellier try was a simple intercept pass on the Clermont 22, and second- Clermont were twice on the line at the death but failed to ground the ball (both going to video referee). They were pushing for the try on both occasions, but when offered the penalty, they took it for the defensive bonus point, and to lose by 5.

One major point of note was the return from the Super15 of former Clermont top tryscorer Nalaga. He had a great game, always making ground. He and Nakaitaci created sheer magic from their own 22, back and forth between them, for the first chance that was held up on the line close to the final whistle. He’s definitely back and in form; he’s one of the things Clermont really needed and missed last season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was top tryscorer in the TOP14 this year. Regarding the loss, the Clermont injuries seem to be taking their toll, because they should have won this game, never mind just beating the handicap. We’ll put this stuttering performance down as a blip for now.

We saw bits and pieces of the other games and highlights. The Toulouse defeat of Stade Montois (37-22) looks far better than it was- they were losing into the last quarter- and don’t forget the handicap was -26 for this game. The Toulouse bench was the difference, but this poor showing, along with the one point win on the opening weekend, says approach with caution. Agen lost again, this time at home to a yachvilli-less Biarritz and they look to be in for a long season. They have two more tough away games in the next two weeks, and are not to be backed in an shape or form for the forseeable. Stade Francais continued their rubbish away from from last season- losing away to an average Bayonne side- no change there then. And like Toulouse, Castres’ defeat of Grenoble (31-13) looks alot healthier than it actually was. They stuttered along, not finishing chances, and Grenoble put up a good fight. We were a bit annoyed that our double (mentioned on twitter) didn’t come off- Toulouse 21-30, and Castres 11-20. Had Toulouse got the finger out a bit earlier, it would have been a nice bonus.

Rugby Championship Round 2- Argentina v South Africa, New Zealand v Australia Rugby Betting Review

We’ll start with South Africa’s capitulation up in Mendoza. Our main bet for this one was the South Africa -8, and to be honest, we still thought it would come in until the game reached the 50th minute and it became clear the Springboks hadn’t got a clue. It actually seemed like they had read our preview of the game last week and decided they just needed to turn up! They were falling off tackles from the start, hoofing the ball up in the air, letting the Argentinians wind them up…I could go on, but I won’t. We also got the altitude factor wrong (was this why the Springboks seemed so relaxed?), when we said it would hurt the Argentinians. On the contrary, they looked supercharged.

One thing should have won this game for Argentina and that was sheer hunger- they had it all, and South Africa had none of it. It was a shame for them they didn’t win. But they shot themselves in the foot by playing negative rugby for the last fifteen minutes. It was far too early for that kind of thing, and it cost them an historic win. We still don’t see them winning any games except maybe beating Australia at home. But the Aussies won’t want to be the first of the big three to succumb to a loss, and we’d expect a typical hard nosed Aussie attitude to put Argentina away with some unexpected style.

Looking at the tournament on the whole, this pretty much guarantees a New Zealand tournament victory unless South Africa can beat them at home and away. I believe they can do them at home (new Zealand don’t look invincible), but an away victory seems a tall order unless they get a few injuries back, and a whole new gameplan from Meyer. Bulls rugby doesn’t work anymore.

New Zealand
beat our tipped handicap of -13 as mentioned in the Rugby championship betting preview last week and then some, winning out 22-0 in the end. The game pretty much went as advised, so there’s no need to go too deeply into it. Australia came out with pride in mind and defended manfully long after the game was lost. There’s some hope there for them yet, and they’ll probably win both games against Argentina.

Despite being happy with the main bet winning, we were left particularly ‘peeved’ at the end of the game. Had you read the preview, you would have seen our tip of -26 at 5/1 and -29 at 7/1. Could things have come any closer to getting over the 26 points in the last ten minutes?! First Richie McCaw is over the tryline, and only has to take the ball from his own man’s chest, and place it on the ground…yet he takes it and fumbles it and knocks it on. Then, to add insult to injury, Dan Carter only has to fall over the line on 79 minutes, and instead he throws a completely unnecessary hail mary pass to the wing when all he had to do was drop over the line……

The dog was lucky he was downstairs.

Dropkickrugby News

We’ll be opening our Rugby betting forum this week so be sure to join up and contribute. As far as we know we’ll be the only dedicated rugby betting forum around, and we’re looking to get as many people from around the rugby world as possible involved to give us all more insight and more chance of beating the odds.

Argentina v South Africa Betting Preview

Rugby Championship Argentina v South Africa Betting Preview, 20:10 GMT Sat Aug 25th 2012

Rugby Championship in Mendoza – With the Handicap hovering around -8 for South Africa, this is the tougher of the two games this weekend to predict for alot of reasons. Will South Africa go after the bonus point they know they need because they know New Zealand will likely get one at home to Argentina? Will they be happy with just the win? Will Argentina live up to their historical home passion of the past ten years and get a good result? Will they miss Hernandez? Let’s start with the rugby championship tournament table and that bonus point that went missing.

South Africa screwed up last week by not getting the bonus point at home to Argentina, the whipping boys of the rugby championship in many people’s eyes. They had about a quarter of the game for someone to grab the bull by the horns and push for it, but it seemed like they only copped on with 2 minutes to go. The coaches probably could have helped too by getting off their arses and conveying some urgency. That New Zealand will get a four try bonus point at home to Argentina is as near to a certainty as you can probably get in this tournament. So what is the mentality of South Africa this week? We can only guess, but at the very least we know they will have dissected last weeks win, and be fully familiar with the point they left behind. They’re now effectively a point behind New Zealand due to the likely future NZ v Arg result. The best way to make up for this is to go after a bonus this weekend and hope New Zealand don’t get one when they visit Argentina later in the tournament. This is eminently possible; Argentina will have more games under their belt by then; there could be more NZ injuries; there’ll be no SBW and maybe still no Conrad Smith; and they owe the All Blacks a serious hell-for-leather game after the world cup beating. This is all speculation of course. But let’s assume that South Africa are going to go after the bonus point this week. With good weather forecast, they should get it if they try hard enough.

There’s two changes to South Africa’s team, with Poitgeter coming in to lend some bulk, (probably in reaction to the massive ground the Argentinian maul made last week) and Strauss (who had an excellent game last week) replacing the now long-term injured Du Plessis. Daniel drops to the bench after a very quiet and statistically insignificant game in the shadows last week, with the excellent Willem Alberts moving to eight. Argentina have lost Hernandez and it’s a big blow- he bailed them out of trouble a few times last week with some scintillating touchfinders, and he’s one of their few top class players. He’ll be replaced by Rodriguez (team not announced yet) or maybe even Mieres from Exeter. The one man they need however, is Contepomi. However he’s unfortunately contracted to stay with Stade Francais for the TOP14 having lead Argentina through the June internationals. If his experience was brought back in to lead Argentina, i’d probably swerve the handicap completely on this game, as anything could happen. That’s not going to happen though, and with Hernandez gone you’ll struggle to find any real leaders in this Pumas team.

There’s also the altitude factor. This game is being played in Mendoza in 760 metres altitude, (McBain will NOT be happy!!) and as mentioned here during the week, this seems like a scheduling cock-up by someone in the ARU. They could surely have pencilled in New Zealand or Australia for a game here, instead of the Altitude kings South Africa? Baffling stuff. Major advantage to South Africa.

Rugby Championship Argentina v SouthAfrica main bet:

If the Argentina of five years ago were playing this game, i’d have my rent money on the Argentina +9 available in bet365 (moved from +8 as predicted). But this is a different side, and the bookies are basing their handicap on days gone by I feel. Argentina will try their heart out, but this South Africa team came out firing on all cylinders after the warm up against England, and i’m expecting more of the same here. The altitude won’t help Argentina at the start or the finish of this game either. It’ll be great for the rugby championship if Argentina pull off a shock, but not for our wallets, as we’re backing South Africa -8 at evens in Stanjames (-9 everywhere else bar a few still at -8 but less than evens).

Tryscorer rugby championship bet

– Paddypower are giving money back on 1st and last tryscorers if a number 11 scores the first try ( Mvovo for South Africa, Arg. team not out yet). We like the look of Willem Alberts who scored first v england in June, and will be breaking off the back of a dominant scrum on Saturday evening from the number 8 position. He’s 16/1 in paddypower. If you fancy a bigger price, and don’t mind losing the bit of number 11 insurance, you can get him biggest in Sportingbet at 22/1

margin bets

– South Africa to win by 11-20 points is 13/5 biggest in Paddypower. If you want something bigger than evens for the -8 for less money but more risk/reward, then this could be your bet. As above, we expect South Africa to beat the handicap, but beating Argentina by more than 20 at home is pretty unlikely. If they get four tries it will be foot-off-the-gas time. If they’re still looking for them they should be very close to this margin come full time.

Other possible bets;

If you think Argentina will come out like corned animals in their own back-yard, and then fade with the altitude in the second half, then the 7/1 in Sportingbet for halftime/full time appeals (as low as 5/1 in ladbrokes)

Best of luck!

Rugby Championship, New Zealand v Australia

Rugby Championship week two New Zealand v Australia, 8:35 am GMT, 25th August 2012

Rugby Championship week two sees a fair few changes for the Wallabies. Quade Cooper step back into the fray at ten having been omitted from the squad last week. Barnes moves out to 12. Pocock is gone. Polota-Nau is gone (despite being named in the starting side, he’ll be lucky to make the bench), and Beale has been dropped with Ashley Cooper coming into full back. In contrast, New Zealand only make one change, with Woodcock losing out to injury and replaced by experienced Crusaders man Crockett.

So, what have Australia got this week? Not much unfortunately. Many of us grew up watching Australian rugby with relish as kids, and I personally have always loved watching them create. I fear for them this weekend though. Let’s look back to last week. The All blacks threw away two walk-in tries towards the finish that could have left the winning margin over 20 away from home. Referee Alain Roland, though correct in most of his decisions, gave us a stop-start game, and didn’t let much flow develop at all. The kiwi’s have even said during the week that the lack of physicality was surprising. Moving onto this week and Australia have lost their fetcher and one of their truly world class players in Pocock. They’ve brought in Cooper to ten after a fairly hefty break. He and Barnes will switch around at 10 and 12 but that never worked out too brilliant back at the Reds before Barnes moved off to the Waratahs. And they’ve left Kurtley Beale out, which is a major mistake from where we’re sitting. Beale had a stinker last week granted, but he came into it towards the end of the game. He had been missing for so long to injury; it was to be expected he would be rusty. Beale is Australia’s wildcard – the guy who can beat anyone, and create something from nothing, and they should have kept him in there and shown some faith. Ashley-Cooper will do a solid job, but he won’t bring the magic that Beale can bring, and that will be needed for an upset this weekend.

As we said in this week’s rugby championship review, the all-blacks didn’t look invincible in last weeks game. But they never really got out of third and fourth gear either, and were undoubtedly rusty after the break. The scrums and lineouts were even, but New Zealand look to have the slight advantage there on paper this week with Australian absentees, plus they are at home with no rain forecast and little wind. Oh, and Nigel Owens is refereeing….Which leads us nicely into the next paragraph!

Thinking back to June, when Ireland were hockeyed here at the end of a long season (just after they almost beat the all blacks), it’s reasonable enough to assume that the Irish side that togged out that day would have run this Saturday’s Australian side close if not beaten them. There are obviously a ton of differences, but a notable one is that this week there’s bonus points on the line, whereas that night there wasn’t. Yet they still stuck 60 points on them.

The bet for this game depends on whether you think the pressure of a bonus point will play on New Zealand, or whether it’ll spur them on to dominate a depleted Australian side on a downslope. Unfortunately for Australia, it will likely be the latter. We’re grasping for positive reasons to maybe back them but just can’t find too may to justify putting cash on them

Main Rugby Championship bet:

New Zealand are best -13 10/11 only in skybet (-14 and -15 everywhere else). The bookies seem to be basing their handicaps on last year’s result in the same fixture- 30-14 to New Zealand. However, we would have thought that with Australian injuries, the handicap would have been just the other side of the 16 point margin from last year, not the near side. I’d bet my granny the -13 will be gone by Saturday morning.

Small money Tryscorer punt for interest

– Paddy power are again giving a money back special on all first/last/first team tryscorer bets if a number 11 scores the first try of the game for either team. So that’s Hosea Gear ( one of last week’s livelier players) or the man in the drought- Digby Ioane. Before we break out the reverse psychology- Hosea gear is 15/2 for first try, so that’s rubbished anyway- it’s far too short for first tryscorer odds.
We were looking at Money Bill Williams though and there’s a decent case here. This is his last game in the rugby championship this year, and he’ll want to sign off with a bang. He scored the last try in his last game for the Chiefs in the Super 15 final, and you could see them setting him up here too. He’s 11/1 for first and last try. We’re leaning towards last try at 11/1 in paddypower. The biggest price you can get is 12/1 in stanjames and skybet, but you don’t get the added money back special insurance there.

Ladbrokes alternative caps up, and looking tempting. The -26 is 5/1, and -29 is 7/1. The equivalent in paddy power is 10/3 for -30! Don’t forget New Zealand will want a bonus point, so they’ll get close (and very likely pass) this number on their own scoring; it just depends how much Australia score.
If New Zealand are in the mood, Australia’s injuries could leave this one wide open for a hiding. If you want a bit more risk/reward- -26 alternative handicap number 5 is 5/1 in Ladbrokes

TOP14 Rugby Betting Preview

TOP14 Rugby Betting Preview week 2, 2012

There’s a few odd looking handicaps this weekend and i’m convinced the bookies stat models are a fair bit off. No crazy money going down, but there’s a bit of opportunity here. All times GMT.

TOP14 rugby – Bordeaux v Perpignan, 750pm Friday 24 August

Weather 27 C, no rain

Bordeaux lost by a point last week at home to TOP14 new boys Grenoble, in a horrendous start to their season. They’ve made a couple of changes for this week, taking out a couple of fijians as a reaction, and moving a few others around. Based on the one game, the form isn’t great. But it’s one game. Contrast with Perpignan who, despite losing played very well and could have won had things gone their way. They have a new galaxy of stars, and should be well able to put some width on the ball which has been their stated intention this week in local media. In the Toulon game’s aftermath, they had a valid claim that Armitage was penalised seven or eight times for slowing the ball along with others, and yet there was no yellow card shown. They put on a serious show in the second half and came close a number of times to breaking through a determined Toulon defence with big Henry Tuilagi particularly prominent after coming on for the final 20 minutes. After last week’s loss, they know they have to get back on track and the handicap looks generous to Perpignan who are playing away to a side that just lost at home to Grenoble, and who were 17 points down in the first half.
Betting Pick; Perpignan +3 10/11 Bet365

TOP14 rugby – Racing Metro v Toulon, 2pm Saturday 25 August

Weather; 25 C, possible rain

As per early in the week, (bottom of this betting review post) we’re on Toulon already since Monday. Their price is contracting across the board for a straight win, and the Racing Metro -4 handicap still looks like an over reaction to Racing’s away win in Agen. That game had 5 or 6 yellow cards, and Agen ran out of steam and ideas in the last quarter. Not to take from Racing’s win, but this is eminently winnable for last year’s TOP14 rugby finalists Toulon. There’s possible bad weather forecast too, which will fall right into the hands of the big Toulon pack and Johnny Wilkinson’s boot. Handicap looks too generous to Toulon.
Betting Pick; Toulon +4 bet365, paddypower

TOP14 rugby – Bayonne v Stade Francais, 5:30pm Saturday 25 August

Probably one to swerve this – Stade were rotten away from home last season, and yet looked good last week at home against an unmotivated looking Montpellier side. Bayonne lost by seven to Clermont, and played reasonably well so should probably be given slight favouritism to beat the handicap of -5/6. But we probably won’t be touching this one.

TOP14 rugby – Castres v Grenoble, 5:30pm Saturday 25 August

Another one to swerve for us with the handicap up around -16 across the board for Castres. Castres were excellent last week against Toulouse, but Grenoble will be full of confidence after an unexpected away last week in their first game of the season. Castres will be after a try bonus (three tries scored more than your opponent in the TOP14), but until we see more of Grenoble and Castres, best to give this one a miss probably

TOP14 rugby – Montpellier v Clermont, 5:30pm Saturday 25 August

Weather 26 C, Possible thunderstorms

As with Toulon above, we’ve been on Clermont since early in the week (bottom of this rugby betting review post). Montpellier are still missing their Argentinians and Gorgodze, and they’re coming up against an already determined looking Clermont side (if last week was anything to go by).

The +4 has indeed disappeared in Paddypower as predicted and is into +3 everywhere, except stanjames where you can still get the +4 at 10/11.

The 7/4 straight Clermont win is still available only in Sportingbet (great value when the 1-12 winning margin is 2/1 biggest in bet365). Lastly, I wouldn’t put anyone off the the draw at biggest 20/1 in skybet– there’s still a no deposit free bet there too if you fancy a go at the draw for small money.
Betting Pick; Clermont +4 stanjames

TOP14 rugby – Toulouse v Montde Marsan, 5:30pm Saturday 25 August

Weather 22 C, decent chance of rain

The best handicap you can get for this game is Toulouse -26 with skybet at 10/11. This is likely one to swerve for us, no matter how tempting it is to back Toulouse to hammer them. When you look at the Toulouse lineup, and the fact that they’re at home, everything points to them beating the cap and putting up a big score. The Marsan management also said before last week’s game that they were taking it easy enough for the first two games. But at the same time, Toulouse were a bit lazy last week only winning by a point. Are Castres 25 points better than this Marsan side? I’m not so sure. Also, Toulouse had a habit of just doing enough last season, and frequently left handicaps unbeaten when they should have made mincemeat of them. Bottom line is that we couldn’t recommend either side on the handicap. If we had to bet, we’d take Toulouse purely because they’ll be after a bonus point, and Beauxis will also kick most of his goals to maybe take it over the -26 in skybet.

TOP14 rugby – Agen v Biarritz, 7:45 pm Saturday 25 August

Agen should win this for one main reason- Biarritz are missing Yachvilli. BIarritz may have put 35 points on MDeMarsan last week, but it took two yellow cards for them to be able to get the bonus point, and they almost threw it away at the end when Marsan got a late try. But for a last minute try in the corner Biaritz would have been gutted. Agen, at home here, were dire in defeat on Saturday. They looked unfit towards the end, and devoid of ideas – they lost a few players to Bayonne this season and it showed last week. They badly need to win this week, but you couldn’t have any confidence in in either team here, so a watching brief is recommended.

Top 14 bet summary
Betting Pick; Perpignan +3 10/11 Bet365
Betting Pick; Toulon +4 bet365, paddypower
Betting Pick; Clermont +4 stanjames

Weekend Rugby Betting Review

Decent rugby betting weekend overall- and great to have some european club rugby back on the scene in the top14.

Australia 19, New Zealand 27

(Last week’s Preview here)This one worked out nicely; we were on the New Zealand -4 for our main course of the weekend, with a side salad of the New Zealand 1-12 winning margin. In truth we were slightly lucky to get the 1-12 aswell, as the Kiwi’s should have been long out of sight with ten minutes to go having butchered two gilt edged try scoring chances in the last 15 minutes. The All Blacks were in control for most of the match and never really hit top gear, and Australia just didn’t have enough in them to counter the tide. Much blame is falling on Kurtley Beale’s shoulders, but people forget that he has hardly played any rugby in the last three months. He came a bit more into it towards the end of the game and he’ll be instrumental in one or two games before this tournament is over.

Australia have however lost Pocock to injury for the rest of the rugby championship. That should really be the final nail in the coffin for anyone who had even fleeting thoughts of having a punt on the their now-massive price to win the rugby championship (22/1 sportingbet). Their main goal now will be not to finish below Argentina. On the other hand, New Zealand though impressive did not look invincible. I can’t quite put my finger on why they looked vulnerable, but they did. There was a hesitancy at times, or a lack of hunger that someone better than Australia would have exploited. And they’ll miss Money-Bill Williams after the next game v Australia when he heads to Japan – he played a big part in this victory.

Their price is gone in shorter still than it was pre-tournament (hovering around 1/5) and it’s far too short for anyone to be interested in – South Africa will still have a big say in how this championship turns out. In trying to understand why they’re gone in so much shorter (everyone surely expected them to beat Australia before the game anyway didn’t they?) it must be because South Africa didn’t get a try bonus point at home to Argentina, when everyone expects that New Zealand will. But they seem to be forgetting that New Zealand didn’t get one away from home v Australia either – something South Africa could do without too much of an imaginary leap. There’s the stink of noise trading about this whole thing- heavy hitters have obviously waded into New Zealand’s price, but I think the bookies are playing along and feeding into the trading sentiment by making the price look so much of a sure thing. South Africa meanwhile, have become even bigger value than the 5/1 mentioned here on Saturday afternoon.

South Africa 27, Argentina 6

(Last week’s Betting Preview here) The Handicap of -15 came in here for us nicely, with a big thanks to a re-invigorated Morne Steyn for landing all his kicks. You could see in the Super 15 closing stages that his form had turned around from the awful kicking of the June internationals (as mentioned on here), so it wasn’t too big of a surprise. South Africa are now out to a biggest price 11/2 in boylesports for the rugby championship win, (4/1 in places elsewhere, with ladbrokes still closest at 5/1). As mentioned above, this can only be because of the bonus point missed, and maybe (at a stretch) the Bismarck du Plessis injury??

This game was always going to be a forward based hit out, and so it proved. Argentina couldn’t make much ground and South Africa made loads but didn’t take advantage of it enough. Granted, they missed a trick by not getting the bonus point, but it was a good opening day win and i’d expect them to beat the -8 available in bet365 next week.

If you check out our rugby championship fixture table, you can see that this game is being played at altitude in Rosario, which is a MAJOR mistake in our reckoning. Why Argentina chose to play the one team in the tournament that are better at altitide than at sea level is far beyond my scope for reasoned thought and analysis…..there’s no other word that comes to mind other than ‘stupidity’. Why on earth not schedule the Australian/New Zealand game up there later in the tournament?!

A final note on Mvovo – our first tryscorer pick. He was quiet overall, and that was to be expected in this kind of game. But the ball was always going to go wide eventually, and we were a whisker away from the first try scorer bet winning here. Unmarked as the last man out ,with a free run to the line when Kirchner ignored him and chose to go through two tackles and score himself. So close!

Top14 Rugby betting review

(From Top14 preview here)

18/08/2012
USAP 15 – 21 Rugby Club Toulonnais
Aviron Bayonnais 6 – 13 ASM Clermont
SU Agen 20 – 24 Racing Métro 92
Biarritz Olympique 35 – 10 Mont-de-Marsan
Union Bordeaux-Bègles 28 – 29 Grenoble
Stade Français 32 – 16 Montpellier Hérault Rugby
Stade Toulousain 23 – 22 Castres Olympique

Well, both accumulators came a cropper, with Bordeaux Begles ruining the first one (losing by a point) and Agen also contributing to the downfall of the second one. But a few of the side bets came in to put a better shine on things. We didn’t see all of the games; the ones we saw bits of are below along with a bit of speculation on the other games.

Toulouse snuck home by a point versus Castres, landing the 1-12 winning margin we tipped at 7/4. There wasn’t much to take from this game other than Roman Poite has completely lost any credibility in our eyes(what little he had left). We’ve been watching him for the past two seasons and he never looks happy to be working, always looks like he couldn’t be arsed, and he lost control of this game before it was 20 minutes old. He then gave three yellow cards that really messed the game up, at least two of which were laughable to say the very least.

On the teams- Castres looked strong and resolute, and well up for it this season, with former Sharks and Lions man Kockott having an excellent game at scrumhalf. Toulouse looked ominously good at times, and despite only winning by a point, you always felt they were in control and would increase the intensity and score when they needed to. There seemed a real intent to move the ball through the hands when space opened up. Though it didn’t happen much, there were two occasions where Toulouse showed absolutely incredible handling- making 60 metres each time in moves involving seven or eight players. That said to us that they’re looking to move away from the drudge-fest that their rugby has become in recent years. They have no doubt realised that they’ll need to up their game after last year’s Heineken cup rugby quarter final disaster (disaster by their standards), and they’ve definitely shown intent already as far as we’re concerned.

Toulon beat Perpignan 21-16, in a game with no tries. Toulon looked good here, and so did Perpignan – i had anticipated it would take time for their new players to gel but that wasn’t the case. Toulon looked in control but toward the end of the game they just stopped playing, and were slightly lucky to hold on to the win. Perpignan won’t have another stinker like last season, that’s clear already. The mentioned Toulon +3 worked out quite well in the end, so we were happy enough.

Stade Francais beat Montpellier 32-16. We saw bits of this game. The home win was never in doubt, and we had it in the failed accumulator. Stade were good, but Montpellier were woeful and lacked passion and motivation. There wasn’t much to be gleaned from this game other than Stade are looking better than last year, and Monty are missing their Argie stars more than expected.

Agen lost to Racing Metro by four points, despite Racing being down to thirteen men for a time due to yellow cards. We saw about half of this game. Racing impressed, and Agen let the accumulator down. C’est la vie eh? But Agen were missing any sort of penetration whatsoever, with their full-back Tian making countless handling errors. Tian is one of their better and most important players, and the groans from the crowd every time he got the ball and dropped it were funny towards the end of the game. But you had to feel sorry for him – all Agen were doing was giving him the ball and watching him run into brick walls in the Racing defense. Early days, but Racing looked good fighting back into the game a couple of times from behind, and Agen look on dodgy ground already with very little spark around the team.

Bordeaux lost at home to new boys Grenoble by a point. Saw none of the game. Bordeaux were 14 points behind quite early in the game and fought back into it only to lose it in the end. Curses aplenty for Bordeaux on Saturday!

Biarritz hammered Mont de marsan, as expected by everyone. Nothing to be learned here as Mont De marsan had pretty much already said they were taking it easy for their first two games. Importantly however, Biarritz have lost Yachvilli for 3 months to injury and that’s a huge blow. Another year of missing the playoffs for Biarritz then quite possibly- he really is that important to them.

We only saw bits of Clermont v Bayonne. Clermont looked strong, and Bayonne lacked incision. It was a bit of a dull game, with Clermont’s extra class winning out and just doing what was needed. But Bayonne were worse than the scoreline suggests and we were a fair bit off siding with them for the +3 handicap. They were fighting against the yellow tide for most of this match, and Parra was instrumental in keeping them pinned down.

Looking to next week’s top14 rugby, and there’s prices out already in Paddypower (one of the reasons we like them in our paddy power review). Quite interestingly, Clermont are 7/4 away to Montpellier, and +4 on the handicap at 10/11, and Toulon are 6/4 and +4 at 10/11 away to Racing Metro.
When we first saw this we thought it was possibly a mistake, because Montpellier were pretty bad last week, and Racing Metro were up against a poor Agen side. But it’s still up there. We make Toulon and Clermont better than both of these sides, so we’re already on the straight wins, the handicaps, and the double win. It’s hard to see how Clermont are +4 to beat Montpellier away from home, considering how many players Montpellier are missing. And likewise, it’s hard to see why Toulon are +4 away to a Racing Metro side that are not just not in their class.

Main early recommendation here is the +4 at 10/11 for both Clermont and Toulon at Paddypower. We can’t see it lasting long.

Rugby Championship South Africa v Argentina

Rugby Championship South Africa v Argentina, 4pm GMT Saturday 18 August

**Betting update- South Africa now out to 9/2 before this game for the tournament outright with Ladbrokes after New Zealand win v Australia, 10/3 elsewhere**

As already mentioned we’re firmly on South Africa at biggest price 4/1 in ladbrokes for rugby Championship title, and looking at this fixture is yet another reminder of why we’re on them. Argentina haven’t had a full competitive international rugby game for their front liners since the world cup. The games in summer were firmly by the second team, and you can ignore both the win and loss against France. The win was lucky with a last minute breakaway, and the loss was against the world cup finalists France playing a full side, and taking a bunch of tired kids to the cleaners. Argentina had a friendly last week where they beat Stade Francais 31-17, having lost at home 25-21 with another weakened side. So they have had some game-time in preparation for this game, but not exactly the same standard they’ll face this weekend.

An interesting point to note from the win over Stade Francais was the loss of quality Montpellier hooker Augustin Creevy, who is one of their better players. Creevy went off in the second minute, to be replaced by Eusebio Guiñazu who is now starting on Saturday against South Africa. The thing is, Guiñazu is with Toulouse currently but used to play for the Stormers in South Africa. Not that this will be a huge factor in the game, but he’ll no doubt be useful. His interpretation of Afrikaans in South Africa’s lineout calls, and other bits and pieces around the park will might make a difference. If Argentina are to have any chance of winning this game and rugby championship, this kind of insight could prove crucial from the Argentinian lineout thrower.

Looking at both sides (listed at the bottom of the page), South Africa look confirmed the stronger side, though they’re missing one of the Super 15 stars JP Pietersen, and Spies in the backrow. Habana is moved to the right wing , and lighting fast speedster Mvovo comes in on the left wing. It’s a solid enough looking side, and one that should win this game taking into account the preparation they’ve had together (June tests, Super 15 playoffs etc). Contrast this with the Argentinian foreign diaspora’s situation of not playing together internationally since last year. They’ve got class right through the side too, and with so much on the line and this being a must win for South Africa, the only question here for us is how much South Africa will win by.

Argentina have a good side overall, a decent backline and decent pack. Habana will have his hands full with Agulla at 11 who is all class, and few people can understand how Leicester rugby let him go to Bath at the end of last season. If Hernandez has a decent game at ten, along with Amorosino at 15, then a bit of magic may help Argentina to an unlikely victory. But these last two will be under pressure to take chances to make things happen, and that could fall right into the hands of South Africa. You have to worry about the strength in depth of Argentina too. There’s not much on the bench for them, and while they’ll give a good account of themselves in the scrums and lineout (Carrizza and Albacete are quality), they could fade away second half. This of course would be in contrast to South African fading away versus England in the second half.

It’s always difficult for the first game of a tournament to assess tactics, but this will be all about South Africa’s gameplan. In thinking how this game will play out, it would make sense to expect the same opening half intensity that saw them over obliterate England in the summer tests (yes, the first test it all came in the second half, but that was a warm up game for all intents). And if we contrast the England and Argentinian bench, you can see where i’m going with this. South Africa will probably try to come out all guns blazing and assault a rusty Argentinian team, and we may see more of the same in the second half where Argentina won’t have the quality of replacements or game-time that England had under their belts to put respectability on the scoreline.

We’re already heavily on the South African rugby championship tournament win, but there’s a few small bets we’ll be having an interest in.

1. South Africa -13 10/11 in Boylesports- see above for rationale there, it’s -16 in most other places too.
2. Paddy Power are running the same special on this game as they are on the Aussie game- if a forward scores the first try, you get your money back on losing 1st tryscorer bets. Lwazi Mvovo is on the left wing ( always a good spot for tryscorers!), and was a good bet anyway to get the first try- he’s the fastest man on the field, loves an intercept, and there’ll be space there for him on a fine day. The fact you might get a refund if a forward gets the first try, sealed the deal for us.
3. If you want something a bit out there and you do think South Africa will hammer Argentina, then you may see some opportunity in the South Africa -34 at 8/1. I know, it’s a long shot, but bear with us; the weather is fine, these South African players all have rugby under their belts and are fit, and Argentina’s first team look dangerously undercooked, with a weak enough looking bench backing them up. It’s just a thought anyway…you can get the -34 at 8/1 only at ladbrokes, and you can get a free 50 quid bet if you’re not with them already. A little bit more conservative? They have the -31 at 11/2!

best of luck either way!

Rugby Championship weekend 1 teams;

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.

Argentina: 15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Juan Martin Fernández Lobbe (captain), 7 Alvaro Galindo, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guiñazu, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Bruno Postiglioni, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Tomás Leonardi, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Martín Landajo, 22 Martín Rodríguez.