This weekend’s predictions

Date published: May 13 2016

It is that time of the week when we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby’s predictions.

The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup Final join Super Rugby on the schedule this week in a massive Saturday.

Paddy Power is our chosen rugby betting option so let's see what they have in store ahead of this weekend.

Champions Cup

Saracens v Racing 92

What a match we have in store in Lyon as Saracens (11/10) face off with Racing 92 (4/5) for Champions Cup glory. The handicap is 1 point.

Expect a tight affair between these two giants and it would be foolish not to back the 1-5 winning margins, which are 4/1 for each team. Even the exact winning margin could be worth a play so let's take a gamble on Saracens by 2 points (25/1) and also Racing 92 by 3 (20/1).

Finals are so often tense matches and even with the talent on show it's no surprise that the odds of no try-scorer have been set at 10/1. Had they been higher we might have been tempted but let's instead back a Match and Total Point double of Saracens and -32.5 which is 3/1.

Super Rugby

Waratahs vs Bulls

The 2014 Super Rugby champions will face off with three-time winners the Bulls at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday. The Waratahs are favourites with 4/11 odds while the Bulls stand at 11/5. The handicap is set at 7 points with those odds, as usual, being priced at 10/11.

With the Waratahs retaining the same XV that downed the Cheetahs 21-6 in Sydney last weekend along with the fact that the Bulls have made six changes to their starting line-up for this clash, all signs point to the experienced Waratahs coming out with a close-fought victory.

There are plenty of players capable of crossing the whitewash for both teams and don't be surprised to see the likes of Israel Folau (6/4)  Kurtley Beale (13/5) and Bernard Foley (7/2) get themselves on the scoreboard in what could well be a 1-10 point victory, which is 21/10.

Jamba Ulengo (9/4) returns for the Bulls and he could very well cause havoc down the wing. If you were to back a forward to get over the line we suggest taking a punt on big Will Skelton (15/2) and Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (5/1). From the Bulls side we have Lappies Labuschagne (9/2) and number eight Hanro Liebenberg (9/2), who managed to get himself over the whitewash against the Force two weeks ago.

Hurricanes v Reds

The Hurricanes were comprehensively beaten 32-15 in Durban last weekend. However, prior to that game they produced a sensational display of attacking rugby in putting 50 points past the Lions at Ellis Park. They are 1/7 favourites with Paddy Power, with the Reds priced at 9/2.

The handicap is set at 14 points which could be a good bet for the Reds if you look at all the changes to the Hurricanes XV for the clash.

The Reds have only managed two wins in their ten games thus far and to expect them to bank the points in Wellington this week would be a big ask. The Hurricanes have shown in the past that they know how to respond to a defeat, however, this game could be close considering that Cory Jane, Victor Vito, Chris Eves plus Julian and Ardie Savea have all been dropped.

Looking who to bank on to get over the whitewash? From the Hurricanes we have fly-half Beauden Barrett (5/2) who will look to run the show after having a poor game against the Sharks last weekend. In the forwards, captain Dane Coles (13/8) is always a good bet with his evasive running style and low centre of gravity causing problems for the opposition. From the Reds, we go for Eto Nabuli (6/4) and Australia U20 centre Campbell Magnay (16/5), who's starting to make a name for himself and what better way to continue that than against the Hurricanes.

Lions v Blues

The Lions will hope to get the monkey off their backs and finally take down a New Zealand team as they battle with the Blues on Saturday.

The Lions are coming back off a bye since they were taught a rugby lesson in a 50-17 hammering to the Hurricanes. They've spoken all week of the need to slow opposition ball and play the percentages in the right area of the field, and will need to do that against the Blues.

The Blues are unpredictable and it is anyone's guess which team will arrive in Johannesburg on Saturday, however the Lions stand at 4/11 favourites with the Blues priced at 21/10. The handicap is set at 7 points while the Lions half-time/full-time has been priced at 8/11.

We are backing fly-half Elton Jantjies (7/2) and outside centre Lionel Mapoe (23/10) to take the Lions over the line while in the forwards flanker Jaco Kriel (11/5) and prop Dylan Smith (19/1) could also cross. For the Blues we have to take a bet on fly-half Ihaia West (4/1) while outside centre George Moala (4/1) is set to cause plenty of problems for the Lions with his physical and direct approach in midfield.

In the forwards we are putting our money on skilful tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina (11/1) as well as number eight Steven Luatua (4/1) and lock Patrick Tuipulotu (8/1). Lastly we should not forget the influence of All Black Jerome Kaino on the flank, who can be backed at 13/2.