Thu, May 31, 7:17am by Staff Writer
Round 16 of the 2018 Super Rugby season is the last round before a month’s hiatus for the June Internationals, with five matches scheduled, as South Africa are taking on Wales in Washington on Sunday.
Highlanders versus Hurricanes
Friday, 1 June 2018 at 5.35pm AEST
The Highlanders managed to fall over the line against the Reds on Saturday night to end their abysmal record in Brisbane.
They now face a tough task when they host the Hurricanes, who were beaten 24-13 by the Crusaders last weekend.
The Canes will start as $1.57 favourites for this match, with the Highlanders at $2.40.
These two sides have had a fierce rivalry for many years, with the Canes winning the past three matches between the sides dating back to 2016.
The Highlanders are fourth in the New Zealand conference, just a point behind the third-placed Chiefs.
The Hurricanes have shown this season that they possess a lethal backline and can score points with ease. The Highlanders approach has generally been more considered and patient in games, as they like to build phases and rumble the ball up the field.
The Highlanders are undefeated at home this season, but did lose their match against the Canes in Wellington in round six 29-12.
Neither side has been playing their best rugby recently and with one eye on the upcoming test series against France, we fancy the Highlanders to continue their winning run at home and upset the Canes.
Best bet- Highlanders Big Win Little Win 1-12 at $3.50
Blues versus Rebels
Saturday, 2 June 2018 at 3.15pm AEST
The Blues will be fresh off a bye-week as they face the Melbourne Rebels in Auckland.
The Rebels are just one point behind the Waratahs in the Australian conference and will fancy their chances against an out-of-form Blues side.
The Blues have a dismal 3-9 record on the season, with their last win being a narrow 24-21 victory against the Waratahs.
Incredibly they have not won at home this season, yet are $1.33 favourites at Sportsbet for this match at Eden Park.
The Rebels are $3.35 and have never won at Eden Park, losing 36-30 in their most recent visit in 2016.
They took some time to get going against the Sunwolves last weekend before running out convincing 40-13 winners in Melbourne.
The Blues are simply a side that we can’t trust at the moment, given they have lost at home to the Sharks and Jaguares among others. Their ball retention is poor and they have given up big scores on numerous occasions this season.
The Rebels are being given an 8.5-point start which we will gladly take, but it wouldn’t be a shock if they were to win outright.
Best bet- Melbourne Rebels to cover 8.5-point handicap at $1.90
Chiefs versus Crusaders
Saturday, 2 June 2018 at 5.35pm AEST
It is a real treat for fans of New Zealand derby games in round 16, with the Chiefs hosting the Crusaders on Saturday night.
The Chiefs managed to withhold a final minute push from the Waratahs to win 39-27 last weekend. The Crusaders made all the running in their game against the Hurricanes, producing a dominant second half to win by 11 points.
The Chiefs are $2.80 outsiders for this match against the Crusaders, who are five points clear atop the New Zealand conference and $1.44 to win this game.
This is the first time these two teams will meet in Hamilton since 2015, with the last two fixtures that were Chiefs home games played in Fiji.
The Crusaders have won their past three matches against the Chiefs, but the Waikato side are finally starting to find their best form after an injury-riddled season so far.
Chiefs playmaker Damien McKenzie was in scintillating form last week and their replacement players were tremendous in maintaining their lead against the Tahs.
The odds of a Chiefs win are too long and we are happy to take them on, given the emotional letdown the Crusaders might have from their big win against the Canes last weekend.
Best bet- Chiefs Big Win Little Win 1-12 at $3.75
Traditional rivals the Reds ($2.80) and Waratahs ($1.44) do battle once more at Suncorp Stadium, with the Tahs now ending their season with four straight Australian conference opponents.
The Brumbies return from their marvelous win in Pretoria over the Bulls as huge $1.02 favourites against an undermanned Sunwolves team paying $17.
Super Rugby Round 16 Odds – Sportsbet
Highlanders $2.40 v Hurricanes $1.57
Blues $1.33 v Rebels $3.35
Chiefs $2.80 v Crusaders $1.44
Reds $2.80 v Waratahs $1.44
Brumbies $1.02 v Sunwolves $17
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