CRUSADERS V CHIEFS – click here to bet

The Crusaders overcame a penalty count which was leaning heavily against them in the first-half to comfortably beat the Hurricanes 39-25 on the road in their first match of this Tournament.  There seems to be some debate as to whether the Hurricanes were just very poor for the Crusaders were impressive, but personally I thought it was a very good performance by the favourites.

The Chiefs have lost both of their opening games, away at the Highlanders and at home to the Blues and they are now 21/10 second favourites to finish bottom of the New Zealand Conference.  They have a lengthy injury list and are certainly battling in the engine room and in particular in the lineouts.

These sides met earlier in the year in Hamilton with the Chiefs winning 25-15, but the last time they met in Christchurch was in 2019 with the Crusaders winning 57-28.


Crusaders 1/4

Draw 33/1

Chiefs 7/2

Handicap:   Crusaders (-10.5) at 9/10, Chiefs (+10.5) at 9/10

Suggested Bet:  Winning Margin, Crusaders over 12.5 points at 11/10

New Zealand derbies tend to be tight affairs, but if you look at the Crusaders recent home record against the Chiefs they have won by margins of 29, 22 and 14 points and given how different these teams have looked in the opening matches the 11/10 they win by 13 or more appeals as a solid bet.


BLUES V HIGHLANDERS – click here to bet

The Blues opened their campaign with an impressive home win over the Hurricanes and they followed that up by beating the Chiefs on the road, for the first time since 2011.  They started the match (+2.5) point underdogs and were probably somewhat fortunate to lead at half-time after conceding loads of first-half penalties.  They tightened up on their discipline in the second-half though and ran out comfortable 24-12 victors.  The Blues now find themselves in an unfamiliar position of strong favourites heading into a New Zealand Derby.

Looking at the Outright Betting you would think this is a two horse race between the Crusaders and the Blues, but we mustn’t forget that the Highlanders have only played once and they beat the Chiefs at home. They do look to have a tough task on their hands here and the last time they played the Blues in Auckland was in 2019 with the home team winning 33-26.


Blues 1/4

Draw 33/1

Highlanders 7/2

Handicap:  Blues (-10.5) at 9/10, Highlanders (+10.5) at 9/10

Suggested Bet:  Alternative winning margin, Blues 11-20 points inclusive at 3/1

This handicap looks well set, but I am leaning towards the Blues and at the same time I can’t see them running away with this so the 11-20 point winning margin appeals at some value.


HURRICANES V CRUSADERS – click here to bet

The Hurricanes have now shortened to 1/1 from 5/1 to be the bottom placed side in this competition and they know that a victory against the Crusaders is a must if they are to contend.  The Crusaders, of course, are Tournament favourites and they have been priced up at (-6.5) here, a handicap that hasn’t moved all week.

The Hurricanes were very much in the match against the Blues in Auckland last week in the first half, but a poor performance in the 3rd quarter cost them as the Blues built an unassailable lead.

The Crusaders had a bye in Week 1 and they will be hoping to continue the sort of form they showed in the original competition where they had 5 victories and just 1 defeat which came away to the Chiefs.

The Crusaders beat the Hurricanes 32-8 in Wellington last season, but prior to that the Hurricanes had dominated this fixture at home winning the previous 3 head to heads.


Hurricanes 47/20

Draw 25/1

Crusaders 4/10

Handicap:   Hurricanes (+6.5) at 9/10, Crusaders (-6.5) at 9/10

Suggested Bet:  Half-time result, Hurricanes (+3.5) at 9/10

I think the Hurricanes will be competitive early and the Crusaders may have a little bit of rust having not played in so long.  I am backing the home team to be no more than 3 points behind at the break.


CHIEFS V BLUES – click here to bet

The Chiefs will be looking to bounce back from defeat last week and they start as favourites here against the Blues and the way the betting has moved suggests there has been some money for them during the week.  The Chiefs have a very strong home record against the Blues, winning their last 5, but 4 of those 5 victories have been by 12 points or less.

The Blues have struggled against New Zealand sides in recent seasons, but there were indications early in the year that was going to change and last week they were full value with a 10 point victory over the Hurricanes at home.  Blues fans won’t be getting excited just yet though as this side has struggled with consistency over the years, but there was certainly a lot to like about that performance in Auckland.


Chiefs 7/10

Draw 25/1

Blues 27/20

Handicap:  Chiefs (-2.5) at 9/10, Blues (+2.5) at 9/10

Suggested Bet:  Wining Margin, Chiefs under 12.5 points at 16/10

New Zealand derbies are more often than not tight affairs and I think this is going to be another close one.  I expect that the Chiefs will have that little bit more than the Blues on the day and I am backing them to win a typical New Zealand derby tussle.