Rugby Betting Preview 7th-9th September. In order – Top 14, Premiership, Rugby Championship, Rabo Pro12.
Rounds one and two of the Premiership and Rabo last week kicked up some results that proved that the bookies are still finding their feet with the handicaps. The problem is that it’s hard to tell whether or not this week’s handicaps are a bunch of over-reactions without any real form to help us.
Witness Wasps and Quins putting 82 points up between them in a game that had last years champions 27 points down at one stage to last year’s basement strugglers. Cracking entertainment and we won on our 1-12 bet as we thought Quins would just do enoguh and they duly did. The problem comes when you try to carry that through to this week and make sense of it. Quins are 22 point favourites at home to London Welsh this Friday and the temptation is to back that after London Welsh were well beaten at home by Leicester. But cast your mind back to last season. How many times did Quins do just enough and not beat a handicap that they should have completely smashed? And will London Welsh be able to exploit the defensive issues shown up by Wasps last week every time they went wide? Tough to tell.
If we look to the example set by the rugby traders for Toulouse, there might be opportunity here in opposing Quins for a few weeks. Toulouse have scraped through in two games and lost away to an average Biarritz side (albeit due to some abysmal place kicking by Beauxis). Yet the bookies are still giving them a handicap of 22 points for a home game against Agen. The point here is that we’re as susceptible as the next man to letting reputations dictate where we put our money, and we’re not going to let it happen this weekend. Quins should not be backed to beat the handicap, as like Toulouse the handicap looks a bit too big based on current (one week) form. Conversely, London Welsh shouldn’t be touched as we haven’t seen nearly enough of them.
Wasps are away to Bath and have a six point start, and this is equally difficult to have a firm opinion on. Bath were woeful last season, they snatched the win last week at the death right on the hooter, and had that kick not gone over would Wasps have been maybe +4 or +3? Quite possibly. The better pick here is undoubtedly Wasps +6, but you couldn’t have any confidence in it until we see more of them.
This uncertainty is the theme running right though our rugby betting thoughts for this weekend, and based on that we’re largely going to sit back and watch to see how things pan out. It would be very easy for us to manufacture some picks for the sake of giving you something to read, but unless we really like something we won’t recommend a bet on here. We’ll put our most likely picks up below for the weekend, but we’ll stress again that most of the games right across the Premiership, Rabo pro12, and TOP 14 this weekend are very tough to call. We do however fancy New Zealand to beat the handicap against Argentina – more on that below.
TOP 14 Rugby betting tips round four
As above, there’s nothing that massively appeals in France this weekend. Starting with Toulouse, you probably shouldn’t trust them to beat any handicap lately (especially not one that is 22 points) and you couldn’t trust Agen to stay within it either. Agen’s management will no doubt have noticed since the start of the season that they’re lacking any real creativity. It’ll be a season of survival oriented containment and losing bonus points for them, with the odd grind of a home win. There’s one plus for potential Toulouse backers here- last week will have been a kick in the teeth for Agen as they looked in it for a possible losing bonus up until the last quarter. They had worked very hard only to have it disappear with a very fortunate Montpellier bounce. They might be knackered and not up for it this week, and you couldn’t blame them really so Toulouse is marginally the better pick here to beat the cap if you have to bet on it.
Biaritz are -7 versus Montpellier. We’re yet to be convinced that Biarritz are much better than last season. The +7/8 on Montpellier is the more attractive proposition considering the tackles Toulouse were falling off last week, and the easy missed kicks of Beauxis. Had Toulouse had slightly better execution in the final passes of attacks, a kicker who wasn’t pulling kicks miles wide, and a defence that was concentrating, they would have won that game with a very ordinary display. Monty on the other hand slowly built their performance last week into a try bonus point win. The were slightly fortunate in the bounce for their first try, but nevertheless if they have any ambition they should fancy a win here and not just a losing bonus point; they looked seriously delighted when they pulled out a bonus point last week and they’ll be really confident. We saw last year that they go on confidence runs where they play scintillating rugby. There is always the worry they’ll just aim for the losing bonus of course, and there’s +8 around which should be taken. This is one of our few confident picks for this weekend.
Grenoble are -11 v Mont De Marsan and this is one to be avoided on the handicaps. Grenoble are the better side, but remember it was Stade Francais that they put away well last week, who tend to give up the ghost when things are not going their way. Marsan SHOULD be well up for this as the battle of the newly promoted. Grenoble 1-12 would be our best bet if we had to have a crack at this one.
Stade Francais are -5 v Castres, and initial thoughts are this is a game Castres could win. They’re in fantastic form with the excellent Kockott directing operations at Scrum half, and the only question is whether they realise how open for a beating at home Stade Francais actually are. The handicap doesn’t appeal either way, but Castres might be worth putting into a small stakes 1-10 or 1-12 winning margin double with Montpellier. Paddy power have best price currently on both winning by 1-10/1-12, coming out roughly 9 to 1.
Perpignan are -8 v Bayonne. Leave this one alone. We still haven’t a clue how Perpignan are going to turn out with all of their new stars. They should be ok, but one suspects they’d be just happy with any sort of a win after two disappointing losses in rounds one and two.
Toulon are -20 v Bordeaux Begles. This is probably one to take an interest in. Racing Metro were dire in attack last week when they beat Bordeaux 18-7 with six penalty kicks and no tries. They seemed to get over the gain line a fair bit but once there had no idea how to execute. Part of that was down to Bordeaux working hard to keep them out, but a large part was attacking ineptitude and poor final ball. This won’t happen with Toulon, who have shown they’re well up for scoring tries this season. Bordeaux had a tough outing last week too, and this could be one they consign to the zero points ledger in preparation for better prospects over the next few weeks.
Best TOP 14 rugby bets for Round 4
Montpellier +8, Toulon -19/20.
Premiership Rugby betting tips round four.
We’ve mentioned Quins in detail above, but just to re-iterate, it should be left alone. We’ve also touched on Bath v Wasps and reckon that the 1-12 on Bath is probably a better pick than either on the handicaps. Looking at Wasps last week, they should be competitive and score a couple of tries. The main difference is that defensively Bath will know exactly what to look out for and Biggs and Abendanon will be better equipped to deal with Wade and Varndell than George Lowe was (as we predicted, he was burned every time last week. I’ve seen milk turn faster). Bath will want to keep it tight for obvious reasons, and they scored no tries last week. If that’s the way they’re setting up they’ll be more than happy with the plain four pointer here to get past a major potential banana skin.
London Irish are -2 against Gloucester. Run far away from this- anyone who tells you they have a good pick for this game is either mad or a genius. Anything could happen, and we’ve no way of guessing what. Gloucester had to work so hard for anything last week and they got very little (in contrast to Northampton who ghosted through whenever the mood took them). We don’t know if London Irish just gave up or were really so bad that they lost by 37 points. Total coinflip in our humble opinion.
We don’t like the look of Leicester v Worcester a whole lot, though Leicester -18 looks better than Worcester +18. Leicester could seriously go to town here, but it’s hard to have any conviction until we see more of Worcester.
Saracens -4 v Sale has to be taken if last week was anything to go by. You’d expect a better performance from Sale at home, but you couldn’t back them on the +4 for any reason. They don’t have a defensive coach and they were eaten alive publicly by their management. In our experience that rarely helps a team perform. Andy Powell would have been one of their main ball carriers at eight but he’s out injured. Saracens meanwhile will go after the win, and if they get ahead there’s no reason to assume they’ll let up. Many will be tempted here by the 1-12, but if asked I’d fancy a Saracens win by more than 15 here before I’d pick a 1-12 win. We’re already on Sarries straight win in our midweek banker bet (see homepage). We’ll have some of the Saracens -4 aswell.
Finally in Premiership rugby betting, Northampton -9 v Exeter is one to avoid. It’s hard to imagine Exeter being beaten by more than 12 so the safest pick here may be Northampton 1-12 at home.
Best Premiership rugby bets for Round 4.
As we said, difficult week this week, especially for handicaps.
Saracens -4, Bath 1-12, Northampton 1-12 (double for small stakes if you don’t want to have a big bet
Rabo Pro12 Betting.
We love the Rabo for rugby betting – it’s a great league, but again, nothing really appeals here in the handicaps except maybe Leinster to hammer the Dragons. It’s an absolute minefield across this league this weekend. Best to let it settle down and see how things pan out.
The Rugby Championship Betting.
We don’t have an individual section on this because we’re not investing much either game. Australia and South africa is one to leave alone as you couldn’t back either the way they’ve been playing lately.
New Zealand’s handicap has been contracting versus Argentina. It was up around -29 but has come in as low as -24. The weather is due to be awful, and Argentina are going to try to do exactly what Ireland did and contain New Zealand in the wet. I don’t think Carter being out weakens them too much as Cruden is more than capable, but you couldn’t be overly confident that they’ll beat be the best priced -24 in Stanjames (-26/27 elsewhere). That is unless you think they’ll have learned from their Irish game. Still, there will be missed kicks, Savea went missing for the entire 80 minutes against Ireland and he may do so again tomorrow. One to avoid probably on balance. The one saver for New Zeland handicap backers is that NZ will want the four try bonus point to really nail down the tournament win. Thats 20 points, and say, two kicks going over and two missed in the wind. Throw in three or four penalties and you have New Zealand scoring roughly 35 points. Your question then is whether you think Argentina will score a try or two. If not, back the -24 in Stanjames. Maybe they learned a lesson after Ireland.
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