Every team has now played at least once in the 2018 Super Rugby season as Round 3 kicks off this Friday.
The Lions have come out hard with two straight wins but predicted finalists the Hurricanes were losers in South Africa and they join the teams that are desperate for an early win.
There are seven games to bet on this week, which starts with the Blues vs. Chiefs and ends in Argentina when the Jaguares take on the Hurricanes.
5:35pm Blues Vs. Chiefs @ Eden Park
It’s tough to say which team looked better in their losing efforts in Round 1, but the Chiefs have some injury worries which could make winning this week tough.
Three players are in concussion protocol after losing to the Crusaders 45-23 last week in Christchurch, but that score line doesn’t represent the game.
The Chiefs were leading with around 15 minutes to go and one penalty try and two intercept tries in quick succession put the Chiefs to bed.
Blues’ fans should be confident about the way they played against the Highlanders, but they’ll need a win shortly.
The Blues haven’t beaten the Chiefs in 11 consecutive games but that could all change this Friday night on home soil.
Betting tip: Blues to win @ $1.95 (BET NOW)
Blues by 7
8:00pm Reds vs. Brumbies @ Suncorp Stadium
Neither the Reds nor the Brumbies looked overly impressive in the opening week, but the Reds were woeful against the Rebels.
The Reds were hammered 45-19 in a horrible loss to a team which doesn’t boast impressive wins very often.
Struggling for any momentum in Super Rugby, the Reds will need to dramatically improve this week in order to beat the Brumbies, which weren’t flash against the Sunwolves but the win was achieved.
The Brumbies battled tough to win by seven points over the Japanese franchise, but the win was supposed to be much easier than that.
Bookmakers are siding with the Brumbies and it’s hard to disagree with that.
Betting tip: Brumbies to win @ $1.50 (BET NOW)
Brumbies by 10
3:15pm Sunwolves vs. Rebels @ Prince Chichibu Stadium
The Sunwolves might not have come away with the win last week against the Brumbies but they will be confident about the performance.
Losing by seven points was a much better result than expected and they have a good chance to notch their first win of the season against the inconsistent Rebels.
The Rebels were convincing against the Reds last week and it was only positive signs moving forward, but the Rebels have struggled to string consecutive victories together over the past few seasons and that’s their big downfall.
Bookmakers have the Rebels as the firm favourites at –7.5 and given past performances, we will side with the home side.
Betting tip: Sunwolves +7.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Rebels by 1
5:35pm Crusaders vs. Stormers @ AMI Stadium
The Crusaders kicked off their title defence with a 45-23 win over the Chiefs and although they were behind with 15 minutes to go, the win will instill some confidence.
They come up against the Stormers, which won in Round 1 over the Jaguares before losing to the Waratahs in Sydney last week and the Crusaders have an amazing record over their South African rivals.
In eight games played between these two sides, the Stormers have won only one. That came in 2010 and the Crusaders have since rattled off six consecutive wins.
Number seven looks likely this Saturday as the travel will hurt the Stormers’ chances.
Betting tip: Crusaders 1-12 @ $3.40 (BET NOW)
Crusaders by 10
12:05am Sharks vs. Waratahs @ Durban
The Sharks didn’t kick off their 2018 Super Rugby campaign the way they wanted, but that was expected against the high-flying Lions.
Redemption could be on the cards this week against the Waratahs, which have struggled to win in Durban since winning in 2009.
Since that time the Sharks have won all three home games over the Waratahs and the last two wins came by a combined margin of 55 points.
The Waratahs will be confident having beaten the Stormers by seven points last week in Sydney, but this is a different test and making the long trip to South Africa typically takes its toll.
Betting tip: Sharks to win @ $1.50 (BET NOW)
Sharks by 10
2:15am Bulls vs. Lions @ Pretoria
This should be the game of the round as two tough South African sides do battle on Sunday morning.
The Bulls caused a massive upset when beating the Hurricanes 21-19 last week and the Lions were convincing in victory over the Jaguares.
Both teams are good at playing at home and some punters would give that edge to the Bulls, but they might come back to reality against the superior Lions this week.
The Lions are the form team of the competition and although it’s only the early stages of the season, they will be looking to hit top gear after posting 47 points last week.
That was a great offensive performance but expect better defence this time around. If the Lions can limit the Bulls to penalty goals, this could be an easy win for the visitors.
Betting tip: Lions –10.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Lions by 17
8:40am Jaguares vs. Hurricanes @ Buenos Aires
Excitement is something that both teams possess, but a win this season is something both teams fail to have.
The Jaguares are 0-2 after losing to the Stormers and Lions in South Africa, but they will appreciate heading back home to face the Hurricanes, which didn’t look great against the Bulls last week.
The 21-19 loss has set the Wellington franchise back a peg after high hopes were placed this season but playing the Jaguares plays right into their hands.
Counterattack is what the ‘Canes thrives on and there could be a flurry of tries scored here.
Betting tip: Hurricanes –13.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Hurricanes by 15