A thrilling penultimate Saturday of the Super XV contest saw the two underdogs make it through to this weekend’s Grand Final. The Chiefs hosted a Crusaders side who were on a roll after some thumping results in the previous month and then staged a comeback from a 9-3 half time deficit to win 20-19, largely due to a fine opportunist try from fly half Aaron Cruden. Meanwhile the Brumbies, the rank outsiders of the final four, went to South Africa and stunned the Bulls with a 26-23 victory, the hosts making tactical blunder after tactical blunder along the way. And, of course, if you’d followed our tips last week you’d have had a 49/1 double on those outcomes.
Looking towards the big game at the weekend, the Chiefs are at betting odds of 4/11 with Sportingbet, whilst the Brumbies can be had for 11/4 with Ladbrokes. The two teams did not meet during the regular season, so there is no recent form to go by other than that they both lost to the Crusaders during the past couple of months. Those odds do realistically reflect the position that both sides found themselves in during the season, with the Chiefs not only being the dominant Kiwi side but being in better form in the closing weeks of the season than their rivals.
Add to that the fact that the Brumbies will be arriving in Hamilton having gone from Australia to South Africa only a week before, and without having had a week off for over a month now (unlike the Chiefs who had a bye in the opening round of the playoffs) and you can see where those odds come from. Oh, and the Chiefs are both the reigning champions and playing at home, too.
All of which means that you need to look to other markets to find value for your sports picks. A good starting point, as ever, is the half time/full time one. You can get anything from 18/1 on the scores being tied at half time, no matter who the eventual winner is, or you can go for the 11/1 that Ladbrokes are offering simply on the game being level at the interval.
A bit of a different market - and one which will make you a small bit of money - is the team to score last. Go for the Brumbies at 6/5 with Betway to begin with, but keep an eye on this one in-play, because the evidence of the playoff weeks this year is that the last score usually comes from the side which loses.
Close readers of this series will know that the first scoring play is always a good market to look to if the game is looking a bit one-sided. Kicking might be tricky if the evening is wet - and bear in mind that it is winter down under - so instead go for the first scoring play to be a try. Betfair have a Chiefs try and 19/5 and a Brumbies one at 47/11, so if you are feeling very bold you could even go for both and still make some money.
Finally, take a look at the winning margin options. The two semi-finals were decided by three points or less, yet the favorite here is the Chiefs to win by more than 13 points. The Brumbies are definitely a better side than that, so the Chiefs to win by 1-5 points looks a better option, currently at 9/2 with Ladbrokes.