We have expert betting tips for Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 1, which kicks off on Friday night.
New Zealand rugby fans were treated to an incredible season last year. It was packed full of high-quality games and punters loved it.
Kicking off the competition is Highlanders vs. Crusaders, followed by Hurricanes vs. Blues on Saturday night.
Value is available with bookmakers and we look at the best bets for both games.
Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 1 Predictions
5:05pm Highlanders vs. Crusaders @ Forsyth Barr Stadium
The Crusaders are out to score back-to-back Super Rugby Aotearoa titles when they face the Highlanders in Round 1.
It was a comprehensive display from the Crusaders last season and they are a high-powered team at their disposal this year. All Black representatives Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Codie Taylor, Richie Mo’unga, Jack Goodhue, Scott Barrett and Sam Whitelock.
Beating a team of that nature is not easy, but that’s the task in front of the Highlanders this Friday night. They come off a Super Rugby Final loss to the Crusaders, which was a good effort considering the start to their 2020 season.
Strike players for the Highlanders include All Black halfback Aaron Smith, Jona Nareki and Solomon Alaimalo. However, there is a distinct player advantage to the Crusaders.
Playing at home will help the Highlanders, as New Zealand is allowed 100 percent crowd capacity. The crowd will be pumping and that could spur on the Highlanders to win the derby.
Bookmakers have the Crusaders as $1.37 favourites. The points spread is 6.5 and we think the Crusaders are good enough to win by a converted try.
It would take a mammoth effort for the Highlanders to keep this one close.
Betting tip: Crusaders -6.5 @ $1.84 – Bet @ Sportsbet
5:05pm Hurricanes vs. Blues @ Sky Stadium
Two of the best attacking teams do battle in Wellington on Saturday night and the expectations are high.
The Hurricanes have a quality team on paper, but after a disappointing season last year, they need to regroup and put it all together on the field.
Boasting an attacking team including Julian Savea, Jordie Barrett, Ngani Laumape and Ardie Savea, the Hurricanes are packed with All Black talent.
They have more All Blacks than the Blues, but the Auckland-based franchise has been installed as the $1.79 favourites for Saturday’s clash.
The Blues were heavily backed to win the season last year, but not much went right. With that season under the belt, they should be improved in 2021 and there is market confidence again.
Caleb Clarke and Rieko Ioane are the star players for the Blues, but the back line looks thin on experience. However, the forward pack includes a number of top-level players, so the Hurricanes scrum and lineout could come under pressure.
There will be little separating these sides on Saturday, but playing at home helps and we like the look of the Hurricanes team.
$2.07 for this team is good shopping.
Betting tip: Hurricanes to win @ $2.07 – Bet @ Sportsbet
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.