Predictions: Super Rugby play-offs

Date published: August 3 2013

It is time for us to put our heads on the block and give you Planet Rugby's calls for this weekend's Super Rugby play-off matches.

It's time for us to put our head on the block and give you Planet Rugby's calls for this weekend's Super Rugby play-off matches.

With just the two matches to focus on in Christchurch and Canberra, let's get started as we take a look at this weekend's best Rugby Union betting odds.

Crusaders v Reds

The seven-time champions against the 2011 trophy winners. Both the Crusaders and Reds have not quite hit the heights of previous season in Super Rugby, yet find themselves back at the business end of the season.

Familiar names have been recalled in the form of Richie McCaw (on the bench) for the Crusaders and James Horwill and Will Genia for the Reds – making this feel more like a Test match.

Expecting that level of Test intensity and physicality is a smart move, so look at the scoreline being even at half-time on 12/1.

The Reds are understandably underdogs given the Crusaders' pedigree at AMI Stadium, so a win by 1-12 at 4/1 and by more than 13 at 13/1 certainly appeal if your head and heart are with the Queenslanders.

A double result of the Crusaders leading at half-time followed by a Reds victory at 11/1 should also be considered, particularly by a margin of 6-10 points at 9/1.

Keeping with the Test match level of intensity, backing Crusaders fly-half Dan Carter to opening the scoring with a drop-goal at 22/1 also appeals.

Brumbies v Cheetahs

How about the Cheetahs? Everybody's favourite second team have finally made the play-offs for the first time in 2013 and stand a real chance of going one step further into the semi-finals.

The Brumbies have been excellent all season, but a dire performance last weekend against the Force has seen some of the more exciting odds in favour of the Cheetahs shorten throughout the week.

Focusing too much on the Brumbies efforts last weekend though does them a disservice, having topped the Australian Conference after only losing four matches out of 16.

Jake White's team are rightly still favourites, but a Cheetahs victory by less than by 1-12 at 3/1 is worth a small reward. 13 and over at 10/1, even with the Cheetahs' knack of producing top tries, is ambitious at best.

If the Cheetahs do hit top gear though, the odds of 17/1 for a win between 11-15 points and 25/1 for a win of 16-20 could bear fruit.

In terms of a first score, a Cheetahs try at 7/1 seems too good to ignore, whilst both the Brumbies and Cheetahs are on at 22/1 to begin with a drop-goal.

An exact winning margin of 9 for the Cheetahs at 50/1 with Paddy Power if you're feeling lucky could turn what should be an excellent sporting weekend into a great one. They are most certainly underdogs – newcomers into the playoffs – but stranger things have happened.