To start this first column of 2021 let me wish all of our regular readers a Happy and Prosperous Year and as far as the betting goes a profitable one of course.
The year started off fairly slowly for me and that is largely due to the lack of rugby, although it has to be said we have had more rugby in January than we usually do with the Currie Cup Group Stages having concluded and the Semi-Finals taking place this weekend.
The Tournament has been disrupted and for that reason bookmakers have been reluctant to price up on the Outright Markets although I have seen some 8/10 available about the Blue Bulls.
I generally enjoy playoff rugby and have a pretty decent betting record in knock-out games and I am looking forward to both of this weekend’s matches.
The Bulls are firm favourites when they host the Lions on Saturday in the first of the Semi-Finals and they are currently priced at (-9.5), meaning if you back them on the handicap they have to win by 10 points or more. This handicap is exactly where I thought it would be, but I find myself leaning towards the home team here.
Over the years I have researched many playoff games and while most people believe they are usually tight fought affairs, the opposite is often true as the team that gets ahead can just accumulate points while the team that falls a few points behind finds themselves chasing the game with no bonus points in play. For this reason I fancy the Blue Bulls (-9.5) this weekend, but there will be plenty more betting markets on the day including total and team points and I will be posting any additional bets on the Goodforthegame Website.
The other Semi-Final sees Western Province hosting the Sharks and amazingly both Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup fixtures between these sides were cancelled due to COVID-19 so there is no recent head-to-head form to go on. Both sides have proven disappointing to me on the betting front in recent weeks and with the current handicap at Western Province (-4.5) points I am content to sit out and wait until the Total Points Lines for a bet.
We are in for a challenging year that is for sure but we can be grateful that we at least have live sport to bet on.
This article was written for the CitiGaming supplement of the Citizen Newspaper and was published on the 21 January 2021.