The Springboks play their third World Cup Pool Match against Italy on Friday and if they win this match they will be assured of a second place finish behind New Zealand and a spot in the quarter-finals.
The Italians haven’t been playing great rugby over the last few years and they lost all of their Six Nations games, but while their opening victories may have come against small teams such as Namibia who they beat by 25 and Canada who they beat by 41 points, I have seen that a number of rugby scribes have been impressed by their performances.
The Italian coach has also made it clear his side are targeting this match (as opposed to the All Blacks game) and we have seen in this tournament how teams can perform far above their usual levels with the required motivation.
The Boks certainly cannot take this Italian side lightly and I must admit to being surprised that South Africa are 28.5 point favourites for the match. Italy have been given a start of over 4 converted tries and while I am not among those that think Italy will beat us, I do believe that the (+28.5) rates as an excellent bet.
For those not willing to bet against the Springbok team in anyway there will be plenty of markets to interest you on the day. One of my favourites is the Total Points Lines and while the quote has not come out at the time of writing this article, I suspect this could be a game to go unders. This Italian pack have the ability to keep things tight early and the more important the game the less risks the teams will take.
Some of the fun or novelty markets include which player will score the first try and we can expect Makazole Mapimpi to be the market leader here around the 7/1 or 8/1 mark. Look out though for Bongi Mbonambi who scored the opener against Namibia and you can get a price on him around the 12/1 or 14/1 mark. He could be worth a speculative play.
For those looking for something from left field, a red card to be issued in the match is apparently on offer at 7/1.
Enjoy the match and if like me you are having a bet I hope it goes your way.
This article was written for the CitiGaming supplement of the Citizen Newspaper and was published on the 3 October 2019.