The British & Irish Lions tour every three years and they’re currently in South Africa ready to face the Springboks on Sunday.
There has been significant money come for the South Africans during the week, which is likely due to the South Africa ‘A’ side beating the Lions last week.
Lions Tour games are always close, so we’re expecting a competitive three-game series.
We look at the best value betting options for South Africa vs Lions Game 1.
South Africa vs British & Irish Lions Game 1 Rugby Predictions
South Africa vs Lions Game 1 Betting Tips
South Africa is always a tough opponent for the Lions. They are behind only New Zealand in winning percentage and the British & Irish team, so that bodes well for the three-game series.
Last week’s win was a massive confidence boost for the Springboks. They had 18 top-level players in the team, but the Lions were almost at full strength and South Africa was by far the best team on the park.
They had to endure playing with 13 men for almost 10 minutes, which is when the Lions did the bulk of their scoring. However, the Springboks held on gamely and they could repeat the dose in Game 1 on Sunday.
The 2019 World Cup winners haven’t taken a step back and there’s a case that they’re the best team in world rugby. With players such as Willie Le Roux, Elton Jantjies and Cheslin Kolbe, anything is possible.
They have been criticised for playing negative rugby, but they play a similar style to the Lions and it’s not a bad strategy to have.
It’s not the strongest Lions side we have seen over the years. There is a lack of attacking flair and the majority of it comes from Duhan van der Merwe, who is South African.
Bringing players together from a range of teams can have a negative effect. It’s not easy to combine well and that was shown in the lead-up game against South Africa ‘A’.
History suggests that the Lions don’t get off to a good start and we’re expecting them to struggle in Cape Town. They typically improve in Game 2, so that’s the way we’re heading.
South Africa were the $1.95 underdogs, but that price has firmed to $1.86. However, eagle-eye punters will notice Sportsbet is offering $1.97 for South Africa –0.5. Unless the game ends in a draw, that option is much better than taking the Springboks in head-to-head markets.
We expect the physicality of the Springboks to be too much for the visitors and they also have pace on the outside. Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi are speedsters and they have enough pace to get on the outside of their defenders.
It should be a cracking contest, but with home ground advantage, South Africa is the testing material.
Bet: South Africa –0.5 @ $1.97 – Bet @ Sportsbet
South Africa vs Lions Game 1 Exotic Bets
First tryscorer betting markets always provide punters with value and we’re looking at Cheslin Kolbe to deliver.
The South African speedster has an ability to get around defenders and he has been labeled ‘the Lionel Messi of rugby’. It’s quite a title to have and we think his brilliance will be on show this Sunday.
The 27-year-old is the current equal favourite to score first at $9 and those odds are fair. He’s also paying $2.88 to score at any time, so both options are well worth taking. Kolbe is also $9 to win Player of the Match, so punters could cash in with the winger.
There is also value in halftime/fulltime betting markets. Punters can lock in $2.63 for the Springboks to lead at the break and at the end of the game. There is always risk with his betting option, but punters get better odds.
Sportsbet is running some special bets and we like the look of one. South Africa to score one or more tries in each half pays $2.30 and that should be safe. They are capable of piling on the points and tries should flow.
For even better value, South Africa to score two or more tries in each half pays $11. We can’t turn down those odds and games between South Africa and the Lions are often high-scoring affairs.
After graduating from the University of Auckland (BA – English), Daryl was thrown into the world of sports and horse racing journalism.
Having worked as a racing journalist for two years, he decided to move into the online world of horse racing and sports writing. After years of honing his craft, Daryl became a professional punter in 2009 – with a focus on horse racing, NRL, AFL, NBA, Rugby, NFL, and US college sports. Daryl’s tips have been featured on various websites around the world before joining the GoBet team. When he’s not working, Daryl tries to avoid making bogeys on the golf course.