It is that time of the week when we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby’s predictions.
Super Rugby action and the PRO12 and Premiership semi-finals on the schedule this week as things heat up.
Paddy Power is our chosen rugby betting bookmaker so without further ado, let’s see what they have on offer.
The high-flying Lions host a depleted Jaguares team minus their captain Agustin Creevy and number eight Leonardo Senatore, who were both suspended during their 25-22 loss to the Sharks last weekend. That makes this game an even bigger mountain to climb for the team from Argentina.
The Lions sit in first position in the South African group with 32 points which includes seven wins and three losses from ten games thus far. The Jaguares have found their introduction to Super Rugby hard going as they have only managed two wins from ten games which leaves them on sixth place in the South African group, with thirteen points.
The Lions start as 1/5 favourites while the Jaguares are priced at 7/2 for the upset. There should be plenty of tries on offer in this clash and we are backing Howard Mnisi (13/5), Lionel Mapoe (11/8) and Armand van der Merwe (12/5) to cross the whitewash for the Lions.
We predict a winning margin for the Lions of 13 or more points, which will bank you odds of 10/11, the Jaguares by 13 points or more are valued at 17/1.
The Bulls and Stormers do battle at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday in what is shaping up to be a typical local derby with plenty at stake for both teams.
The Bulls had their early season momentum brought to a disappointing halt during their tour of Australia as they went down to the Brumbies and the Waratahs on consecutive weekends. Before those two losses the Bulls only defeat of their campaign came in the opening weekend of Super Rugby when they lost 33-9 to the Stormers in Cape Town.
The bookies make the Stormers slight favourites with odds of 5/6 however the Bulls are not far off with odds of 10/11 showing just how close this contest should be.
Times have changed and it should no longer be your typical kicking contest between these two attacking teams, we are backing centres Jan Serfontein (3/1) and Jesse Kriel (3/1) to come good in this game, while in the forwards we have captain Adriaan Strauss (10/3) as an option.
For the Stormers we are going with Cheslin Kolbe (3/1) and Kobus van Wyk (23/10) to do the damage out wide while in the forwards there is no need to look further than Springbok lock pairing Eben Etzebeth (10/1) and Pieter-Steph du Toit. On the winning margin bet, we are predicting a narrow win for the Stormers between 1-7 points which will bank you odds of 16/5.
Other Super Rugby predictions:
Reds v Sunwolves: Reds by 8
Chiefs v Rebels: Chiefs by 21
Force v Blues: Blues by 7
Sharks v Kings: Sharks by 25
This could be another classic between these two sides at Sandy Park and the odds are the Chiefs at 4/7 while Wasps are 6/4 for the result.
Exeter on their home patch will be hard to beat and we like the half-time/full-time bet on them, which is 11/10 with Paddy Power. Should you fancy the visitors to get the job done from the off then they are available at 5/2. Any result involving the draw is priced at 13/2.
We expect tries again and it would be worth backing that man Thomas Waldrom to open the scoring with Charles Piutau as an anytime option.
Other Premiership prediction:
Saracens v Leicester: Saracens by 2
The opening semi-final takes place on Friday and it’s Leinster who are the bookies favourite at 8/13, with Ulster 7/5. The handicap is 3.
Ulster won well at Kingspan Stadium in their recent meeting while the earlier game at the RDS saw Leinster sneak the victory. We think it will be tight again and a repeat of the 1-10 point triumph for Leinster seems the wisest bet. Those odds are 13/8 while 1-5 points is 4/1.
On the try-scoring front we like Jordi Murphy (6/1) as an anytime punt while on the Ulster side let’s back Craig Gilroy at a decent 3/1.
Other PRO12 prediction:
Connacht v Glasgow: Glasgow by 3